Japan has maintained its status as the more cloud ready country in Asia but it is being increasingly challenged by big improvers from New Zealand, Australia and Thailand according to The Asia Cloud Computing Association’s (ACCA) latest Cloud Readiness Index 2014

Also on the march is The Philippines, which has now moved from bottom of the table in the first index in 2011 to its current position of tenth. The Index assesses 14 countries against 10 indicators which contribute to the infrastructural and regulatory preparedness for cloud computing adoption in the region.

What seems to be key the improvers’ performance is an “overarching ICT and cloud policy plan”. In particular ACCA draws attention to New Zealand for its all-of-government “cloud first” policy. This is a position the ACCA has strongly championed and wants other regional governments to learn from and adapt it to their own situation.

“Government has generally been tentative in its adoption of cloud computing, sending conflicting signals to the market,” said Lim May-Ann, executive director of the Asia Cloud Computing Association. “A proactive government-led cloud first policy will have profound and productive implications right across the economy – as we are now seeing from the policies adopted by the successful economies.”

The 10 indicators the Index assesses are: privacy, data sovereignty, international connectivity, broadband quality, government regulatory environment and usage, power grid and green policy, intellectual property protection, business sophistication, data centre risk, and freedom of information access.

The ACCA says that it sees the Asia Pacific economies separating out into three distinct groups: the Ready Leaders, Dedicated Improvers and Steady Developing.

The leading group of Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea, have kept their position by “fostering innovation and fresh approaches towards next generation and cloud computing services”.

The middle band includes Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. “The Philippines leads in terms of freedom of information access; Taiwan in international connectivity and business sophistication; Thailand in green policy and power grids; and Malaysia with a low data centre risk index,” says ACCA..

ACCA’s Steady Developing group features China, Indonesia, India and Vietnam. “This group of countries are not standing still in terms of cloud readiness, all have been developing, steadily, particularly in terms of tech policies and physical infrastructure,” it observes.

South Korea and India recorded the largest falls in the latest Index, tumbling four spots, followed by Hong Kong and Taiwan, dropping two places, and China, Indonesia and Vietnam, who fell by one place. This is not, it says, indicative of declining ‘cloud readiness’ but is rather, a demonstration of the speed at which Asia is developing.

“In a region where you have to run just to keep pace, these countries will need to keep their eyes on the goalposts to stay the course,” said Bernie Trudel, chairman of the ACCA.