Cloud computing has the potential to improve many aspects of business process. The availability of affordable IT infrastructure will have a positive impact on both small and large enterprises, while cloud-based systems in healthcare and E-government will change the way that people interact with public organisations. Despite some restraints that hinder strong cloud penetration, there is significant growth potential in both the public and private segments of the Russian market. The use of cloud computing technologies in the public sector in Russia is already well established.
Cloud portals are used by many organisations, including universities, R&D institutions and local government administrations. The Russian government also promotes the use of tax accounting software and electronic services. "Successful implementation of Rostelecom's recently developed National Cloud Platform O7 – which offers applications for healthcare, education, housing and utilities, businesses, and smart city – will also have a substantial impact on E-government services in Russia," notes Frost & Sullivan Consultant Andrey Vyatskikh .
"Electronic medical records and remote access to secure educational content for schools are among the key developments." Cloud computing systems are flexible, scalable, and often cost-effective. Without the need for enterprises to invest in their own, expensive data-centers, small businesses are able to access high-class IT infrastructure. Business models can also be affected when cloud services are deployed, since the costs of IT infrastructure migrates from CAPEX to OPEX. "Nevertheless, there are several restraints for cloud computing penetration in Russia that need to be addressed before such solutions can meet their full potential," explains Mr Vyatskikh. "Information security and privacy are the major concerns for businesses considering investment in cloud-based solutions. Major Russian companies are not yet ready to store critical information in the cloud, because the responsibility for loss or leakage of commercial information has still not been regulated by law."
Also, cloud computing requires robust, ubiquitous, and affordable broadband access that is not yet widely available outside the main metropolitan areas of Russia. Other concerns include the fault tolerance of cloud systems and their integration with existing IT infrastructure. The use of the unified cloud IT infrastructure has already become a standard for Russian financial companies with distributed networks of offices, because it allows for the implementation of new products and services at all locations simultaneously. Cloud electronic document interchange (EDI) systems - which help to decrease document handling time, and to reduce the number of errors and expendables costs,- continue to be adopted by Russian retail companies.
A number of Russian vendors have already started to provide infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) solutions in the form of public, private, and hybrid clouds. In addition, some of the domestic vendors' applications, including software for document creation and interchange with regulatory agencies, client relationship management (CRM) and content, communication, and collaboration (CCC) systems, are actively used by Russian enterprises on a software as a service (SaaS) basis. "The continuing adoption of cloud services will have a significant impact on both the public and private sectors in Russia.
Implementation of the National Cloud Platform will increase the quality of healthcare and government services due to the unification of services and their higher availability via Internet and public universal access points (terminals)," notes Mr Vyatskikh. "As for the private sector, Russian business is cautiously waiting for more empirical evidence of successful cloud system implementation. As soon as such proof points emerge, demand for cloud services in Russia is likely to increase significantly".
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