Dubai: Telecom providers in the region need to partner with IT vendors rather than deploy their own cloud computing solutions and cooperate with software and content providers to increase the attractiveness of their offerings, industry experts said.

"Telcos have to understand the dynamics of the sector to maximise opportunities and define clear objectives for their strategies. They must consider what type of platform to deploy and what cloud services to launch and it has a big impact on service providers' operations and business models," Dr Ewa Romaniuk-Calkowska, analyst at Pyramid Research, said.

She said operators need to improve their internal operations and launch services that appeal to their current customer base and needs, thus building potential for future growth.

IDC predicts that 2012 will be a good year for network upgrades and wide area network (WAN) optimisation in the Middle East and Africa region.

"As more services are delivered from centralised data centres, so will enterprises need to upgrade and optimise their WAN environments to support the delivery of these cloud services and applications," Jyoti Lalchandani, vice-president and regional managing director, IDC Middle East, Africa and Turkey, said.

Cloud-ready versions

He said the year will be characterised by a slew of new cloud providers and cloud services in the region. "We expect traditional independent software vendors to offer cloud-ready versions of their established packages in the region. Telcos across the region are expected to aggressively roll out cloud portfolios as extensions of their existing hosting services," Lalchandani said.

New providers are expected to enter the market, he said, both domestically and internationally, with international providers looking to enter the region by forming partnerships and joint ventures.

"Competition is increasing, as new players enter the marketplace, aiming to monetise opportunities related to the proliferation of services," Romaniuk-Calkowska said.

She said those already in the game are expanding their services to appeal to various customer needs and are providing management tools and building in consulting services to hide the complexity of the cloud.

Cloud computing removes the distinction between mobile and fixed communication — you can access your content and perform your operations from any device. It has the potential to become a disruptive technology, transforming multiple industries. It changes the way people store and share information, and the way enterprises organise their businesses.

Lalchandani said that many countries in the region still suffer from poor and expensive communications infrastructure, which is unlikely to change dramatically this year. This will continue to inhibit the adoption of cloud services in such afflicted countries.

In addition, he said the cost of bandwidth is hampering the cloud adoption rate in the region.