By Avanti Kumar
In tandem with the world’s prioritisation of digital solutions to traverse today’s fragile, highly challenging environment, Malaysia also accelerated digitalisation to drive a path to solid recovery and growth.
When viewing global and local rates of digital adoption, analysts opine that current changes in the way we live and work are tantamount to a revolution. Research by Vanson Bourne highlights that the UK’s post-COVID tech industry expects that 89% of IT operations will be hosted off-premise.
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s public cloud market alone, which amounts to 3.63% of the total IT spending in the country, has already reached USD643.4 million, according to research site Twimbit. This makes Malaysia the second-biggest cloud market in ASEAN after Singapore.
COVID-19 has also impelled other sectors in Malaysia, such as medium enterprises and (SMEs) and micro-businesses, to dial up digital usage to maintain operations in a highly changeable market and lockdown lifestyle.
IDC’s recently released Top ICT Predictions 2022 paints a picture of a regional shift to digital-first strategies resulting in at least 65% of Asia/Pacific’s GDP being digitalised by 2022. The research further envisions that one in three companies will generate more than 30% of their revenues from digital products and services by 2023.
Appreciating the surge towards a digital-first world, Malaysia has commendably refreshed its digital initiatives in the previous year, such as the 10-year digital economy blueprint, MyDIGITAL, to recharge the country's aspiration to becoming a technologically-advanced economy by 2030.
A major move within, MyDIGITAL has been the appointment of major cloud service providers (CSPs) to help Malaysia build itself as a key data centre region. The CSPs will play a key role as infrastructure builders and enablers.
Another key stride forward was the recent appointment of Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group, as another major cloud service provider (CSP) for the Malaysian government. Alibaba Cloud aims to help accelerate Malaysia’s cloud adoption and transformation towards a cloud-first strategy, especially among the country’s government and public sectors in Malaysia.
According to Gartner’s Market Share: IT Services, Worldwide, 2020 (8 April 2021) report, Alibaba Cloud has the biggest market share in the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) market in the Asia Pacific region for the third year in a row since 2019.
Building Malaysia as a data centre hub amplifies cloud services and can transform the business landscape. Let’s take a look at Ireland and its scale up of its local data centre sector. A recent study by Grant Thornton noted that this move has resulted in more than seven billion euros of economic activity between 2010 and 2018 and the creation of thousands of jobs, with 20,000 of these in electronics, optical equipment, and computer sectors.
MyDIGITAL has been reinforced by MSC 2.0 recently. The regulation of cloud service providers from January 2022 further signals the country’s prioritisation of the cloud as the key digital economy growth catalyst in the coming years.
We need to ask why businesses are pivoting to the cloud to understand the chatter about all things digital.
Quite simply, there are proven real-world benefits, many of which are substantial, from organisations that have stepped onto the cloud journey.
These include wins around welcome cost efficiencies, heightened data security, scalability and speed, elasticity, unlimited storage, and secure backup and recovery. The bottom line, business leaders say, is that cloud computing has opened up the global markets for them in a matter of minutes in some cases.
Some of the massive advantages that the cloud delivers to businesses hinges on its highly flexible nature. Empowering businesses of all sizes, technologies present different solutions to suit different scenarios. Some of the reported advantages are listed below:
There are some caveats to achieving these wins. Given the high failure rates for projects involving technology, what are the keys to unlocking the full potential of the digital transformation journey?
Gartner's 2022 top strategic technology trends, which embraces a whirlpool of 12 technological trends in the next 3 to 5 years, is another prompt for Malaysian businesses to move forward through what seems like a bewildering scenario of technologies.
Cloud adoption is the most easily accessible and fundamental step on the transformation journey. This will help fast-track the path to effective and profitable digitalisation and the achievement of your goals.
We need to balance this by acknowledging that finding the best practices for your business in an era of increasingly rapid technological trends needs a focus on the data. Information is today's hard currency.
You will leverage the infrastructures of the digital age, data centres, as part of an ecosystem that includes connectivity, to capitalise on your data and create sustainable economic growth.
Aligned to serve this process, Alibaba committed to taking the lead from the grassroots right from its start in 2009 and is continuing to evolve to embrace and innovate in other sectors and levels. Today, Alibaba actively supports and champions national digital transformation drives by focusing on serving individual businesses.
Start-ups and small businesses are empowered through cloud technologies to move into the same global opportunities as major enterprises.
When getting down to the nitty-gritty of making the moves that matter in the post-pandemic era, we must take advantage of any active encouragement and benefits given by the government and the ecosystem.
During the tabling of budget 2022 in late 2021, the government reiterated the message that critical opportunities would be uncovered by opening digital doors. Overall, the budget’s total allocation of RM332.1 billion, the largest-ever for the country, was almost RM10 billion higher than the previous year’s allocation. Included in the slew of incentives is the increase to RM 200 million in 2022 for the SME Digitalisation Grant Scheme with RM50 million for Bumiputera micro-entrepreneurs in rural areas.
Cloud and digital technologies open up avenues for new products and markets for organisations of all sizes and sectors.
Use cloud’s greater flexibility and scalability to refresh your business goals, Alibaba Cloud is 100% compliant with local standards. With dual data centres in Malaysia, Alibaba Cloud is poised to help businesses reimagine and drive new growth. Meanwhile, cloud networking services provide a stable, low latency, and high speed network with flexible hybrid cloud connections. In addition, Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a scalable and high-performance content delivery service for the accelerated distribution of content to users worldwide.
AirAsia achieved a renowned success story by implementing Alibaba Cloud CDN and WAF and working with security professionals. AirAsia identified 90% of the traffic as bots. Now, Alibaba Cloud provides AirAsia with weekly security reports and regular updates to mitigate this issue.
Delivery latency problems, which usually arise by distribution, bandwidth, and server performance issues, are addressed. Cost-effectiveness is assured through Pay-As-You-Go and other billing methods.
Security is assured by end-to-end security services utilising leasing AI technology for security identification and risks analysts.
Moving forward, we must appreciate that fresh growth opportunities are just a few clicks away. Today, cloud solutions provide essential, rapid, and seamless pathways for businesses to become resilient and ready for the future.
Essentially, digital transformation is about optimising processes to make your workflows faster, easier, and more efficient. The new hybrid normal is reducing the need for on-premise infrastructure and opening up the space for more flexible productivity. This opens up the world for smaller setups to compete on the global stage.
When one enterprising Malaysian named Evelyn Toh wanted to demonstrate Malaysia's unique wonders, attractions, and destinations, Alibaba Cloud empowered her to create inMalaysia, which was awarded third place (shared) in the Alibaba Cloud Developer Initiative 2021.
Another success story and prime proof point of reliable security was presented by TnG Digital Sdn Bhd, a leading e-wallet provider in Malaysia, the product of the joint venture between Touch ‘n Go Sdn Bhd. and Ant Financial Group. Together, they have set out to enable a reliable mobile wallet for Malaysians. TnG Digital harnessed cloud computing and the latest cloud technologies to help Malaysians with the power of mobile payments.
In the scenario above, TnG cites Alibaba Cloud's responsive and dedicated support team. They offered premium support via DingTalk, which allowed TnG Digital to find fast solutions to any problem 24/7. Furthermore, the cutting-edge cloud technology and the comprehensive security solution helped TnG Digital comply with the regulatory requirements for faster go-to-market product deliverables.
These are just a few cloud-powered Malaysian success stories, which highlights the truth that regardless of the size of your business, robust access to secure and trusted cloud services has become the critical catalyst to survive and thrive in today's rapidly changing world.
Remember that IDC forecasts that by 2023, 1 in 3 companies will be generating more than 30% of their revenues from digital products and services, as compared to 1 in 5 in 2020.
During IDC's recent FutureScape event, IDC Asia/Pacific's Group Vice President for ICT Practice Sandra Ng pointed to the importance of navigating the tidal wave of opportunities. “As of July 2021, we have 28% of organisations in Asia/Pacific already in the most progressive stages of digital transformation maturity, up from 18% pre-COVID in 2019. The world is now firmly anchored in a digital-first economy. However, the economic and business outlook for the next three years remains highly fluid because of a growing range of global challenges, including the pandemic. An enterprise’s success in the next 12-36 months will be defined by how well it navigates these crosswinds.”
Interestingly, according to research conducted between September-October 2021 by Vanson Bourne, the majority of businesses (93%) in the UK have already adjusted their plans to enable hybrid and remote working. On a sobering note, KPMG found that although 96% of organisations were committed to some form of digital transformation, Forbes points out that 84% had failed.
To add strength to Malaysia’s new era of heightened digital adoption and to ease the path to successful implementations, Alibaba Cloud has already set up a collaborative platform with several local organisations and associations in Malaysia, including CIMB, Touch ‘n Go, Genting, and Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation Berhad (SDEC), to boost a robust digital ecosystem in Malaysia.
Moving forward, Alibaba Cloud is proudly committed to playing a key role in Malaysia’s digital vision to help all Malaysians benefit from global and local opportunities. Alibaba Cloud is well-equipped with an advanced and comprehensive suite of cloud products and services ranging from elastic computing, database service, networking, security, middleware, analytics, and digital intelligence services powered by the two local data centres.
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