Artificial intelligence (AI), security, and sustainability are major drivers for information technology (IT) modernization in Singapore, Nutanix said Wednesday.

The global hybrid multicloud computing firm said in a study that the use of hybrid multicloud models in Singapore is forecasted to triple over the next one to three years as IT decision makers are facing new pressures to modernize IT infrastructures because of drivers like AI, security, and sustainability.

The findings of its sixth annual global Enterprise Cloud Index (ECI) survey and research report, measures enterprise progress with cloud adoption.

As organizations continue to grapple with the complexities of moving applications and data across environments, the ECI report highlighted the growing importance of hybrid multicloud infrastructure.

The report found that security and innovation were the top drivers for moving applications from one environment to another over the past year.

As AI takes centre stage for businesses, Singapore respondents identified increasing investments to support AI strategy as their #1 priority.

This is aligned with the top priority of global ECI respondents, as well as the Singapore government’s efforts to turn the nation into a global AI hub.

“Organizations around the world are facing ever-increasing pressure to modernize their IT infrastructure quickly, and Singapore is no exception,

“Data management remains a challenge across the nation, particularly as enterprises seek to leverage AI, improve cybersecurity, and achieve sustainability goals,” said Ho Chye Soon, Singapore country manager, Nutanix.

“This year’s ECI underscores the pivotal role of hybrid multicloud in addressing the diverse needs of modern Singapore organisations, and we expect more enterprises to transition towards this infrastructure model for greater flexibility and improved performance,” he added.

According to the report, hybrid multicloud infrastructure deployments will become an infrastructure standard.

It noted 99 percent of Singapore organizations are taking a “cloud smart” approach to their infrastructure strategy — leveraging the best environment (e.g., data center, public cloud, edge) for each of their applications.

This is higher than an already significant global average of 90 percent.

Given the pervasiveness of this approach, it is no wonder that hybrid and multicloud environments have become the de facto infrastructure standard, said Nutanix.

Furthermore, 83 percent of Singapore respondents believe their organization benefits most from a hybrid environment encompassing both public and private clouds.

As a result, this is now becoming an executive priority, with nearly half of respondents noting that implementing hybrid IT is a top priority for their Chief Information Officer (CIO).

The report also showed AI as a key driver of infrastructure modernization, as Singapore organizations look to manage modern applications and data growth.

According to the report, a significantly higher number of Singapore organizations (60 percent) cited implementing AI strategies as a top priority for their CIO, compared to Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) (48 percent) or global respondents (45 percent).

It noted 89 percent of Singapore organizations plan to increase investment in this area.

However, important challenges remain to be addressed — more than two-fifths of Singapore respondents believe that running AI applications (40 percent) as well as managing applications and data (43 percent) on their current IT infrastructure will be a significant challenge.

To mitigate and overcome this challenge, organizations are prioritizing IT modernization and edge infrastructure deployments, which can facilitate faster processing and access to data.

This, in turn, can help improve their ability to link data from multiple environments to give better visibility into where data resides across their sprawling ecosystems.

Meanwhile, Ransomware protection is top of mind for both Chief Experience Officers (CXOs) and practitioners but most Singapore organizations continue to struggle in the wake of attacks, said the report.

According to the report, ransomware and malware attacks will remain existential threats to modern enterprises globally, with the cat-and-mouse game between malicious actors and enterprise security professionals set to continue throughout 2024.

Yet, data protection and recovery remain a challenge, with 63 percent of Singapore organizations who experienced a ransomware attack reporting taking days or even weeks to restore full operations.

Nearly all Singapore organizations (97 percent) recognize that they could improve their ransomware protection stance, with 33 percent planning to significantly increase investment in this area throughout this year.

As Singapore organizations seek equilibrium driven by security and innovation, application and data movement remains a complex challenge.

Meanwhile, enterprise workloads including their applications and data — often find their way into the IT environment which best suits their needs, whether that environment is an on-premises data center, the public cloud, a smaller edge location, or a mix of all three, the report said.

This diversity of application placement is part of the reason why 99 percent of Singapore respondents say they moved applications from one environment to another over the past year.

Security and innovation are the top drivers for this movement in Singapore, similar to APJ and globally.

The report noted enterprises should expect application and data movement to remain constant, and plan infrastructure choices accordingly — emphasizing flexibility and visibility.

Besides, organizations face significant roadblocks when it comes to executing complex application migrations, with 41 percent of Singapore organizations saying workload and application migration is a significant challenge given their current IT infrastructure — higher than the global average of 35 percent.

The report also showed local IT teams aren’t just planning their sustainability programs, they are actively implementing them.

92 percent of Singapore organizations agree that sustainability is a priority for their organization, much higher than the global average of 88 percent.

However, unlike in the previous report where action was limited, many organizations indicate they are already taking active steps to implement sustainability initiatives.

Notably, modernizing IT infrastructure is also among the top three sustainability initiatives Singapore organizations focused on over the past year, with 45 percent engaging in this practice.

Moving forward, 76 percent of Singapore respondents plan to increase investments in sustainability efforts and technologies this year.

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