Turkey in the cloud: challenges and opportunities ahead!

Last month I revealed the recent outcomes of the white paper “Cloud Computing in Turkey: Players, Policies, Challenges and Opportunities” at a Cloud Computing conference hosted in Turkey.

Steering the wider debate at the conference, Microsoft, the Information Society Department, the Ministry of Development and Bogazici University Center of Innovation and Competition based Development Studies illustrated that the journey towards the cloud is certainly picking up pace!
Building new cloud policy in Turkey.

The conference identified perceptions, expectations and practices of Cloud Computing in Turkey and presented efficient and realistic policy recommendations on future cloud policies and strategies that will foster competitiveness in Turkey. For example, the White Paper on Policy Formulations for Cloud Computing in Turkey actively stimulated strategic thinking about the scope of policy-making for cloud computing by proposing a conceptual framework.

Turkey’s use of ICT is growing rapidly

The fact is Turkey’s utilization of new information and communication technologies is rapidly growing, like its economy generally, albeit from a low base compared with other OECD countries.  This growth creates opportunities to make use of new approaches, such as cloud computing and advanced mobile applications.  The right conditions, however, will need to be met and there is much to do in Turkey, as in many other countries, to prepare the ground for effective, rapid up-take. The first of these will be a well-functioning market for ICT goods and services, with congenial conditions on both the supply and the demand sides.

The economics of the supply side will be affected by the extent of the market and the easy availability, at attractive prices, of a large variety of specialized as well as commodity services.  Some of these are already available or will become so shortly, such as cloud services supplied by some of Turkey’s telecommunications operators and banks, and by local “software as a service” firms offering customized applications and guidance in Turkish to local SMEs.

The firms that are considering migrating from existing investments will be especially sensitive about new costs and it may take more time for the market to adjust to attractive price points.  Private cloud services will grow very rapidly over the coming year because of the attractiveness of Turkey as a location for some cloud services such as Tesco’s new data center in Izmir and the Turkish government’s likely preference for handling their own data.

Structural changes to be made

However, Turkish firms need to change in a few important respects before they can feel comfortable about implementing cloud services. The greatest barrier to the growth of cloud computing remains in the skills base. This is especially the case with regard to managerial capabilities, and it is necessary to build awareness and confidence among managers that their businesses can reap direct benefits from the cloud.  More Turkish firms now need to structure their businesses in ways that allow them to reap benefits from better and cheaper data handling. For firms that have made little investment so far in functions such as corporate e-mail, systematic file sharing, or customer data management there are now ample opportunities to use cloud computing.  They can begin using such services cheaply and even to experiment with how best to get the most out of different offerings. To grow their business, Turkish managers will need to adjust to new practices of using cloud services and getting the most out of their skilled personnel.

Building the right skills to impact employment

Research at the London School of Economics (forthcoming) shows that across five countries, the productivity gains and business growth associated with cloud computing will have a positive effect upon the economy and especially on employment.  However, particular aspects of public policy are important, including the price of energy and taxation practices. Data transfer policies, having to do with either trade or concerns such as data security and privacy rights protection, can also have significant effect upon the economic dimensions of cloud computing.  These can be directly translated into job effects.  Furthermore, skills that are needed for the cloud are going to be in great demand, especially given low entry barriers that encourage the formation of new firms that will utilize cloud skills.

Stay tuned for further analysis from other geographies as to new opportunities and challenges associated with new professionals and managers in the emerging cloud world!


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