For the first time in over a century, Asia’s economy is expected to overtake the rest of the world combined this year, according UN data calculated by The Financial Times.
In what’s being called the ‘Asian Age’, this year also marks the region becoming home to more than half of the world’s middle class for the first time.
That middle class is driving consumption of products, services, and data that is the prompt for ambitious organisations around the world expanding into growing Asian markets with new branch sites.
According to GSMA Intelligence, there will be 3.1 billion mobile users in Asia Pacific by 2025, accounting for more than half of all mobile users worldwide. This uptake is spurring the growth of network services that provide improved business capabilities beyond traditional WAN. With features such as greater agility, application performance and enhanced security, Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) offers a flexible networking platform designed to meet the growing needs of businesses entering bustling regions such as Asia.
According to Ovum, Singapore and Hong Kong are leading the way when it comes to the adoption of SD-WAN in Asia. Eighty per cent of businesses in these countries anticipate as much as 30 per cent of their networks will be SDN-managed in the future.
However, enterprises looking to grow their business in Asia should avoid jumping straight in. Instead they should carefully consider how they plan to expand their network.
Consider the realities
Network managers must be aware of the complexities operating in Asia it can bring due to the region’s geo-diversity, regulatory differences and variability in infrastructure standards.
According to the recent Telstra and Ovum whitepaper "The Connectivity guide to successful SD-WAN", enterprises with sites in multiple regions or remote locations must also review the quality of connectivity options, service levels, and local compliance considerations.
There is an expectation on network teams to enable business expansion, which requires the consideration of multiple factors including knowledge of local service providers and network alternatives, site location and the connection quality.
If your network is global, especially covering very diverse regions like Asia, your application landscape may be complex and will likely include some sensitive, privately hosted applications such as video, voice, or enterprise resource planning (ERP) that must be considered.
Partner with the experts
As enterprises prepare to enter a complex market, it’s important that they find a network partner that understands the technical requirements of operating across Asia’s diverse locations. It’s also essential to engage with a provider who has a good understanding of the local competitive and regulatory environment.
Network managers should then review the provider’s performance and reliability, including Service Level Agreements (SLAs), to gauge average performance levels, downtime, and the impact this might have on business outcomes.
A network is only as strong as its weakest link, and security is another major consideration your network partner must be able to manage from any location.
Finally, look for a team that offers local customer support. Should something go wrong, how quickly can it be addressed, and what visibility does the network manager have? Is there access to a customer portal or 24/7 support?
Manage the complexity of Asia Pacific
Managing multiple connectivity types and local providers is challenging in a rapidly changing landscape. When it comes to managing your network across multiple geographies in Asia, consider partnering with a managed service provider that has strong local partner relationships.
Providers, like Telstra, can help you to manage your SD-WAN network while improving your agility and boosting your business performance. We own and operate the largest intra-Asia subsea network which represents around 30 per cent of active capacity in the region - threading more than 400,000 kilometres under the ocean floor, it would circle the world almost 10 times!
As Asia Pacific’s economy grows, so do we. Capacity demand on our international network has almost doubled over the past two years alone. This makes us well placed to meet the growing data requirements of our customers now and into the future, right across the Asia Pacific region.