More Cloud on the horizon

Cloud-based solutions are not being lost on Asia-Pacific insurers or other businesses reviewing their managed and hosted IP voice service.

Asia-Pacific insurers are planning to increase their IT budgets in 2011–2012 and — interesting for an industry that is traditionally slow to adopt new technologies — 43 per cent of respondents in a new study have already deployed or are experimenting with private Cloud.

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29 per cent of insurers said they expect budgets for both internal and internal IT to increase by more than 6 per cent, with the majority (53 per cent) expecting them to increase somewhat.

According to Ovum’s Business Trends: Asia-Pacific Insurance Technology Investment Strategies, insurers are also increasingly leveraging business intelligence (BI) tools to target customer retention. Indeed, 86 per cent rated this as the most important driver for BI usage.

Notably, 51 per cent said they are now comfortable using outsourcing such as business process outsourcing (BPO), while 56 per cent are using IT function outsourcing (ITO) for five of the 10 IT functions covered in the survey: Network services, desktop management, IT security, applications development, and application management.

Compared to their counterparts in the US as well as Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Asia-Pacific insurers are more proactively opting for service-oriented architecture (SOA), software-as-a-service (SaaS), and rich internet applications (RIAs).

In a separate study, Ovum has also found that the revenue of managed and hosted IP voice services in the Asia-Pacific will grow almost three times over the next five years to hit $US3 billion ($A2.95 billion) in 2016, as enterprise increasingly migrates to opex-based service models.

“The preference will continue to be for on-premise IP PBXs but many companies will consider relying on a service provider for hosting and system management,” said Ovum senior analyst Claudio Castelli.

“There is hope for service providers building their Cloud-based communication offerings and we expect the preference for the hosted approach to rise as more offerings are released into the marketplace and customers realise the benefits of the new Cloud models, such as faster deployment times, high flexibility to upscale (or downscale), outsourced management and utility pricing.”

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