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Community Blog Building A Sustainable Cloud Computing Ecosystem

Building A Sustainable Cloud Computing Ecosystem

In this article, Leon Chen shared his experience in building cloud computing ecosystem and introduced the methodology to build a strong partner ecosystem.

By Leon Chen, General Manager of Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence

In the past few years, Indonesia, the largest economy in Southeast Asia, has witnessed a rapid expansion in every industry for digitalization. Reports showthat in early 2022, Indonesia had 204.7 million Internet users, which is 73.7% of its total population. The size of the digital economy in Indonesia is expected to grow at an annual rate of 20%, reaching USD 146 billion by 2025.

To support the growing demand for the Internet, Indonesia government is dedicated to accelerate national digital transformation. Under this strategy, the government's long-term goal is to digitalize public services, implementing Industry 4.0, cultivate digital talents, encourage innovations, and digitalize rural areas.

In 2016, I came to Indonesia with the team to set up the regional business team. I could see the huge potential of digitalization for the local companies and the promising future of the emerging industries. However, there were some limitations such as lacking of local talents and enviroment fo providing proper nurturing.

When developing digital business and pursuing digital transformation, companies of different sizes are facing with different challenges and thus have different concerns. For large enterprises, the major concerns include IT talents, the complexity for integrating cloud infrastructures with existing systems, compliance requirements, security, privacy, and controllability. While for small- and medium-sized businesses, functions, connections, availability, supported networks, and costs are what they care about the most.

In a market that exists equally for both challenges and opportunities, we must build a sustainable ecosystem for local digital partners. The success of our business depends on how we cultivate our local partners and develop a partnership with mutual benefits that can build brand awareness and achieve growth together.

We have categorized our partners into three types distributors, solution partners, and ecosystem partners. We also created our methodology as a three-step roadmap to build a strong partner ecosystem.

Establish an ecosystem

When a company enters a new market, the common practice is to secure large projects to showcase the company's capabilities. However, due to our limited resources and exposure when we first set foot in the Indonesian market, having channel partners was vital to us.

Therefore, we prioritized to work with tier 2 local distributors that already had customer bases. They were eager to transform, but lacked of the tech know-how. We created synergy by combining their resources and our technical capabilities to achieve shared growth.

Channel partners are the foundation of cloud computing ecosystem. With their support, Alibaba Cloud soon established a presence in Indonesian market. As the ecosystem took shape, we returned their favor by helping them with their transformation and expansion. Blue Power Technology (BPT) was one of our most important partners in the early days till now. It is a leading IT infrastructure provider under CTI Group but did not have the experience to branch out into the cloud computing or security business. With the support of Alibaba Cloud, BPT became a major distributor for Alibaba Cloud services and achieved exponential growth. The department of BPT that is responsible for Alibaba Cloud business has been highly acclaimed within BPT for years.

Enrich the ecosystem

After a solid foundation was in place, we needed to diversify the ecosystem. While honing our products and solutions, we started to develop more resellers, ISVs, SIs, and MSPs, so that we could offer more varied services to customers in different industries and of different sizes. For example, HashMicro, a renowned ERP service provider, is both a customer of our cloud computing service, and one of our key channel partners that offer various IT services and solutions.

As the ecosystem was enriched, Alibaba Cloud has made significant progress in brand awareness and customer base, attracting top tier partners, such as Telkomsigma under Telkom Group. These well-connected and influential partners are integral to our ecosystem in Indonesia.

Ensure sustainability of the ecosystem

The cloud computing industry is still in the stage of rapid growth, especially in Indonesia. Many newcomers are entering this business every year. To create a sustainable ecosystem that is able to deliver services and create value in the long run, we need to cultivate more local talents by working closely with the government, educational institutions, local communities, and our partners.

We are collaborating with universities and other education institutions in Indonesia to develop training programs that provide students and youngsters valuable knowledge and skills related to cloud computing, big data, and security. During these years, We worked with the local developer communities to hold multiple events where developers build applications by using the AI and low-code programming provided by Alibaba Cloud. We also rolled out the Digital Talent Scholarship with the Ministry of Communications and Informatics of Indonesia to encourage local talent to learn and practice AI and big data technologies.

With concerted efforts, our training programs have more than 100,000 trainees in the past few years, which is conducive to an ecosystem is more and more blooming.

In summary, four curcial elements for building a strong ecosystem:

  • Innovation: Methods that succeed in one place may not work out in another. You must find ways that best fit the market and your own situation.
  • Mutual benefits: You must consider not only your interest but also the interest of your partners.
  • Empowerment & enablement: You should pay attention to the development of your partners's business and your partner's employees. In Alibaba Cloud's practice, we provide frequent and varied training for people that work for our partners, so that they can benefit from the Alibaba Cloud ecosystem by gaining expertise and discovering new career possibilities.
  • Futurism: Building an ecosystem is a long-term process. Efforts like collaborating with universities, cultivating talent, and honoring social responsibilities may not bring returns right away, but will deliver tremendous value in the long run.

As Henry Ford once said, "Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success." Building an ecosystem takes time and consist efforts. What Alibaba Cloud does is leveraging the power of technology, maintaining a close partnership with all parties in the ecosystem, and pursuing shared development. This can deliver benefits to all parties while keeping the ecosystem on a path of sustainability.

About the Author

leon

With more than 20 years' experience in IT globalization, Mr. Leon Chen joined Alibaba Cloud in 2015. He built the regional teams and business of Alibaba Cloud in Southeast Asia from the ground up. Currently he is the regional general manager of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence for Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam, leading the team and provide cloud solutions that include IaaS, PaaS, AI, security, and IoT in the region. Before joining Alibaba Cloud, he worked for other world-renowned IT companies, such as Accenture and IBM.

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