By Sharon Chang
As the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining.
We have been caught off-guard by the unprecedented pandemic. However, Covid-19 can be looked at as a game changer to accelerate digital transformation of our nation. Until two months ago, the actual transformation has been rather slow for many. Now, companies are speeding up the adoption — which was either in discussions for years or put on hold — as they see digital readiness is no longer a choice, but a must.
Both organisations, in the private or public sectors, must rethink their strategies to invest in more integrated digital infrastructure to manage current disruptions and stay relevant in the future.
Viewing it in a wider context, the use of technology has seen a rapid uptick during the Movement Control Order (MCO). Many digital solutions have been innovated and are energising an ecosystem which were in a transitional stage of transformation. We have seen business behaviours reshaped, consumer activities shifted to online platforms, social and conducting business done across online conferencing tools.
By using robust connectivity, complemented by the most effective digital infrastructure, TM ONE is playing the role in providing the most effective platform to help drive Malaysia’s digital strategy forward.
Equipped with newly launched comprehensive digital solutions, TM ONE, the enterprise and public sector business solutions arm of Telekom Malaysia Berhad, is determined to help businesses rapidly adapt and continue operations in these challenging times. As an enabler of the Digital Malaysia, TM ONE is wellpositioned to enable the ecosystem for digital society, digital business, and digital government.
In an exclusive interview with Ahmad Taufek Omar, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of TM ONE, the leader explains why with every crisis there comes an opportunity.
Without a doubt, technology played a key role during the MCO in keeping us connected and safe, Ahmad Taufek points out. We have witnessed an increase in cloud adoption as businesses leverage on the power of cloud to stay in operation and connected.
At TM ONE, we aspire to spearhead the digital transformation for the nation but as it turns out, the pandemic has accelerated many of our initiatives,” Ahmad Taufek says. When the government enforced the first MCO in March, I threw a challenge to the team to come up with a digital solution to help businesses during the pandemic.
Hence, towards the end of March, they launched TM ONE Cloud α (Cloud Alpha), the key enabler of the digital transformation for Malaysian businesses and public sectors. Its objective is to help organisations to reduce information technology infrastructure complexities towards cloud adoption and particularly to boost their resilience amidst the challenging times.
“Forging resilience through optimisation and technology-driven strategies is crucial across industries”
Cloud Alpha’s robust and r e s i l i e n t infrastructure is hosted in our highly secured, Tier III certified, and global standards compliant data centres within Malaysia.
“We want to ensure our customers are able to fulfil their data residency requirements, and ultimately, data sovereignty,” Ahmad Taufek explains, adding that customers then will have peace of mind, allowing them to focus on their business.
In a response to a question, the CEO also points out the key factor that differentiates Cloud α from other cloud services is the comprehensive offerings, and multi-cloud offerings that provide flexibility to complement multiple deployment models customer’s cloud adoption strategy and business objectives.
Case in point was when our valued customer needed a scalable solution as a stop-gap measure for the temporary surge on their website. Cloud α was deployed as the solution and within one week, from capacity planning to deployment to testing, the government’s backend system was put in place to support the wave.
As with the recent collaboration with Huawei, it will enable TM ONE to offer an additonal array of cloud computing services under the umbrella of Cloud α. With the additional of Huawei and existing collaborations with other other hyperscale cloud providers such as Microsoft, AWS and VMware, will further strengthen TM ONE’s positon as Cloud Aggregator and to become the leading Cloud Services Provider in the country.
“It is another testament of TM’s promise and prominent role as the enabler of Digital Malaysia aspirations.”
According to Ahmad Taufek this partnership will enable them to accelerate the digital services and solutions to the nation, forging ahead as the only Malaysian-owned end-to end cloud infrastructure service provider.
This adds another milestone for TM ONE as they now have full cloud capability as a core offering to capture growth in Malaysia, which is expected to grow at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 27 percent in the next five years.
In May, when the government announced the extension of the conditional movement control order (CMCO), it meant that more Malaysians are beginning to return to work. This has raised its own set of questions, primarily on how businesses can ensure a safe work environment for its employees.
One such solution has presented itself. TM ONE, unveiled their smart digital health screening solution – TM ONE Predictive Analytics Screening Solution, or ONE PASS. It works by screening the body temperature of individuals as they enter business premises.
It is a purely local product developed by their own software designers, software architects and coders.
“ONE PASS is aimed at providing business continuity for organisations to declare their building as a ‘safe zone’ to work by implementing state-of-the-art health screening solutions,” Ahmad Taufek elaborates.
ONE PASS is a non-contact connected solution with three main digital service features such as visitor management, thermal sensors, and monitoring and contact tracing. The real-time digital solution includes an employee and visitor management app for selfdeclaration assessment and deployment of thermal cameras and sensors to check body temperatures prior to entering a building.
“We leveraged on the opportunity to launch two key products which are beneficial to the nation while working at home, Ahmad Taufek remarks proudly.
“In essence this is congruent to TM ONE’s actual plans, where our role is towards the nation’s digitalisation process.”
DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IS KEY TO SURVIVAL
In this Covid-19 period, digital transformation is no longer an option for businesses. It has become a necessity for operational efficiency and business survival.
International Data Corporation (IDC) reported that by 2020, cloud-based IT spending will reach up to 60 percent on IT infrastructure and 60 to 70 percent on all software, services and technology, whereas Global Data estimated Malaysia’s spending on cloud computing is RM10 billion.
The CEO is optimistic and remains committed. “TM ONE’s role as part of TM Group is to deliver a Digital Malaysia, hence the pandemic has allowed us to really show our support for the country and its entire ecosystem.”
“Malaysia is on the right track towards digital transformation, and Digital Malaysia sums up what we are as a developed nation,” Ahmad Taufek says positively.
On another note, the CEO tells Business Today that some businesses are not able to embrace the transformation coherently. Previously, digitalisation was largely seen as IT driven and required high investment. Technology moves so fast but not all companies are able to keep up in terms of the financial capability. Hence, because of this, they become irrelevant very quickly.
And, digital transformation requires agility and speed. There is a saying “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” If the culture of the organisation does not embrace agility, business leaders will find that their digital transformation strategy will falter.
Ahmad Taufek explains that for businesses to embrace a coherent transformation, firstly they must be customer-centric. It is always customers first – creating the best experience for them. It applies to all business strategies as well as digitalisation.
Secondly, business leaders must ensure that people strategy evolves to support their business transformation. When the whole team has a common objective, the journey will be smoother, and things will fall into the right places.
And finally, you must have strong collaborative partners, Ahmad Taufek emphasises. Trusted partnerships with other players in the technology ecosystem will help your customers achieve their digital journey.
Nevertheless, TM ONE is part of TM Group, and each line of business within the Group, has its very own part to play in driving transformation and helping Malaysian companies transform digitally.
“We remain committed to play our part in improving the ecosystem. TM ONE is the only local player with its own state-of-the-art core Data Centres and Cloud infrastructure with full data residency, locality and sovereignty in Malaysia. Our twin core data centres are located in Cyberjaya and Iskandar Puteri respectively,” Ahmad Taufek says with conviction.
With these digital infrastructures and services, TM ONE offers a comprehensive data residency and locality in Malaysia. Holistically, they are an ideal cloud services provider for the nation.
Regarding why businesses should no longer be hesitant on their transformation journey, the CEO says it is the only means of staying relevant in these trying times.
“We have the capabilities to support them,” Ahmad Taufek affirms. If they turn to us from an infrastructure standpoint, TM ONE has the network, software, and platform and most importantly, full data sovereignty, but if it is from an advisory perspective, we have the expertise from top solution consultants.
“Our role as a responsible organisation is to support businesses to elevate to an era of digitalisation”
Furthermore, TM ONE, also working is with the Government to support local small and medium businesses (SMEs) so that they #stayinbusiness in these challenging times.
“We are offering some free services for businesses to leverage, according to their specific needs. Hopefully, they will get a perspective of where they want to head towards by adopting the necessary applications for digitalisation in their business,” Ahmad Taufek says.
WEATHERING THE COVID-19 STORM
To some extent, during the MCO, the use of technology has already been proven to enable many business operations and social connectivity to remain in place. However, the increased deployment of technologies will also speed our path in the post-Covid world.
Undoubtedly, Ahmad Taufek stresses that during any crisis, telecommunication is one of the critical sectors, and at TM ONE their role is to ensure business continuity for their customers to stay in operation.
“It is business as usual. We are committed and ever ready to serve our customers in these trying times,” he states. The team’s responsiveness to address the demands of our customers and our scalable offerings have helped many businesses and public sectors to stay connected, stay in business and stay served.
Understandably during this time, businesses are pulling the handbrakes and accessing the overall expenditure of their business for survival. Hence, to convince the market to spend, Ahmad Taufek says they must ensure the services they offer are well managed and serviced.
“We are here for long-term.”
THE ADVENT OF IR4.0
This is the biggest objective for the TM Group, according to Ahmad Taufek. “We fully support TM in the Group’s role as a national telecommunications infrastructure provider of Malaysia’s Digital Nation aspirations.”
TM Group will continue to lay the foundation for Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0) and roll out 5G nationwide if it is awarded to us – serving a more digital society and lifestyle, digital businesses and industry verticals, as well as digital Government – to enable a Digital Malaysia.
“We fully engage ourselves around key industry verticals, and with the team and industry experts to enable us to gain a deep understanding of industry needs to exploit the market quicker,” Ahmad Taufek points out.
“We believe in long term partnerships and customer-centricity.”
Ahmad Taufek also shares that TM ONE will continuously develop and deliver digital solutions enabled by Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
“Through our end-to-end digital solutions, we will fulfil the dynamic needs of the various industries in today’s hyper-connected ecosystem,” he says.
Now, acceleration is key. “We are focused on taking transformation forward for every one of our customers, buoyed by our digital solutions, Ahmad Taufek says with commitment.
“Our role is to enable a reliable hyperconnected ecosystem, one which will empower Malaysia’s enterprise and public sectors to realise the full potential of their digital opportunities through our end-to-end digital solutions and industry experts, he adds.
“We are fully committed to combat this pandemic, to help industries, and the nation move forward – stronger than ever before!”
The digital enabler’s approach opens the avenue for growth in a post-MCO landscape and helps to build resilience for future upheavals.
“At TM ONE, we want to provide technologies which will further assist businesses and organisations to bounce back safely and responsibly to revive our economy,” Ahmad Taufek concludes.