CLOUDED JUDGMENT

Turkey 2014 | ICT | FOCUS: CLOUD COMPUTING

As the clouds part in terms of awareness of its commercial advantages, Turkey seems ready to adopt the cloud platform at both ends of the commercial scale.

The phenomena of Facebook and Instagram are prime examples of cloud data services that prompt questions of confidentiality and intellectual property. Take this concern to the corporate end of the equation, and cloud providers have had to work hard to convince businesses that the virtual landscape of the internet is the way to go. Yet management consulting outfit McKinsey & Company estimates that 80% of large North American companies surveyed are considering the shift to cloud based services, where “cloud" essentially means “internet." Meanwhile, Global Industry Analysts, Inc. estimates the global cloud market to be generating $127 billion by 2017.

ENSURING CONTINUITY

The pay-as-you-go characteristic of cloud computing is highly appealing to cost-conscious finance departments, less willing or able to splash out on IT departments that inevitably grow at least partially obsolete within years. Local storage, too, on a physical platform, is less and less the first choice given the gigantic data volumes readily being generated by the minute. Then there are other considerations in emerging markets where less investment has been made in ICT infrastructure. No business can afford a technology-sparked information blackout, and cloud systems ensure continuity.

CLOUD IN TURKEY

As with any other paradigm shift, some will inevitably be less prepared to commit than others. In Turkey, major industries with a long history of technology uptake, if not technological innovation, can already smell the coffee. More parochial enterprises will be reluctant to rethink their technological setup, if aware at all of the sheer possibilities it offers. Turkey is actually a keen adopter of high-end technology, with almost 30% smartphone penetration in 2013, with over 50% in the 18-24-year age bracket. It is also moving toward B2C services—a perfect cloud example—and, according to the yStats.com Turkey B2C E-Commerce Report 2014, in 2013 over 50,000 e-commerce portals are up and running in the country. Moreover, roughly 25% of online shoppers are spending via mobile internet. This ranks Turkey among the best B2C performers globally, on a 40% year-on-year rise from 2012. Turkey's GDP growth naturally raises its capacity to go cloud. Seasonal and calendar adjusted GDP rose 0.5% in 4Q2013, with FY2013 GDP growth of 4%, up from 2.1% in 2012.

(UN)EMPLOYMENT?

An LSE Tech study published in 2013 on the cloud in Turkey mapped out the potential post-cloud landscape. It identified the potential to enhance business processes, create more valuable employment, and access international trade data sources by leveraging IT applications. The study concluded that fears of job losses due to the adoption of cloud computing are largely unfounded. Indeed, the exponential growth of smartphone services, notably among Turkey's SMEs, implies that more cloud-related employment can arise than in an already mature sector. Moreover, as cloud take-up rises, the new wave of IT professionals skilled in the cloud environment, rather than traditional proprietary application servers, will be in demand by cash-waving bosses. The LSE Tech study estimates that “IT facilities and IT core administration are in the higher salary bracket of $70,000-$120,000 in the US and TL110,000-TL140,000 in Turkey."

Turkey's companies, corporate and SME alike, could cut costs when procuring IT services from the international best price environment that the cloud environment enables. Local cloud business is also set for growth in light of Turkey's regulatory environment, which restricts data leaving the country, notably that of the financial services sector. In turn, domestic suppliers of cloud services, such as data centers, are set to receive more business over time.

Thus, both corporates and SMEs stand to benefit from a cloud-skilled workforce that can be redeployed to more commercially productive technological roles. Cloud-specific IT employment in Turkey's automotive sector industry, for example, is estimated to climb to 12,000 in 2014 from 10,000 in 2011; and in the smartphone service sector to 3,240 employees in 2013 from 1,000 in 2011.