PHOTO - Cheam Tat Inn, MD, EMC Malaysia.
Malaysian companies are already at the vanguard of realising business value from offering cloud-driven services, or ITaaS (IT as a service), and bringing 'cloud FDI' to the nation, according to storage solutions firm EMC, which said that one of its positive contributions was to sell disruptive technologies to Malaysia.
Speaking in mid-September during an EMC cloud technology conference in Kuala Lumpur, EMC Malaysia managing director Cheam Tat Inn said the company has been selling disruptive technologies to companies of all sizes in Malaysia. "There has been a change from last year, when the discussion was mainly about consolidation and cost benefits of virtualised infrastructure. Now, the situation has advanced to a more practical stage of bringing 'cloud FDI' [foreign direct investment] to Malaysia. The train has started to leave the station and companies need to be on this journey otherwise they will be playing catch up."
"Adoption of cloud models is now more clear among local CIOs," said Cheam. "A few Malaysian customers are beginning to get business value out of cloud computing. These local companies are building cloud services for customers outside Malaysia, which is good for the local economy. The beauty of the cloud is that even a small company can compete on the global playing field.""
"In some respects, the disruption that cloud, big data and mobility is bringing to the current environment is parallel to the impact of industrial revolution in the 19th century," he said. "In the earlier revolution, raw materials were turned into products. In the current disruption, the raw material is unstructured and structured data, which is being used to create insights, or deep knowledge about current business and customers."
"As our customers move into the cloud, they are realising that new opportunities have started to open for them from such insights," said Cheam. "For example, local banks are now doing more than reporting with new business analytics solutions; they are venturing into predictive analysis."
"The Malaysian government is encouraging the FDI generated by the building of hosted cloud services in the country," he added. "Malaysia is ranked 7 in Cloud Readiness Index by Asia Cloud Computing Association and Frost & Sullivan reported that 34 percent of organisations in Malaysia said cloud computing would be their top priority in the current fiscal year."
Vying for internal customers
"IT departments now have to compete for their internal customers," said Cheam. "The ease of signing up for various cloud services by employees has but increasing pressure on IT departments, which must transform to meet the demand for speed and flexibility from their customers. The newer generation of staff especially has grown up in a connected world."
"Hybrid cloud models have helped to overcome the challenge of trust to a certain extent," he said. "However, trust will remain a key factor to be managed moving forwards."
Companies in different verticals have used EMC solutions successfully, Cheam said. "For instance, a local regional bank with an ageing data warehouse was taking 30 hours to produce certain reports. After the bank installed EMC Greenplum, a business analytics solution, it was able to create reports on time, which helped to make speedier and better decisions."
"A local public sector agency deployed EMC VNX5700, a mid-range archiving solution, as part of their network of advanced cameras to do online capture of traffic violations and to also identify the vehicles and send out summons from the faster archival system," he said. "In addition, a local upstream energy company used 7x S200 clustered Isilon, which is a big data platform, with nodes in production (phase one), to replace a more complex older system. This resulted in a single pool of accessible seismic information."
"Another company is a local retail industry player, which needed an infrastructure resilient enough to meet regional demand, and chose our VNX5700 as a cost effective solution," said Cheam. "These four examples all demonstrate a transformation of business or processes, as well as ROI [returns on investment], by using cloud driven IT solutions."
New talents required
Government ICT agency Multimedia Development Corporation [MDeC] recently detailed the new Digital Malaysia programme," *** said Cheam. "A transformation of IT skills is also taking place. While departments may shrink in the transitioning to cloud services, there is now an urgent and ongoing global demand for two new sets of skills: cloud architecture and data scientists."
"However, both sets of professionals must also have an appropriate set of soft skills based around psychology, creative problem solving and social interaction skills, which are admittedly difficult to teach," he said. "It is difficult to be clear about detailing all the skills required under these two disciplines but there are big opportunities for Malaysia in trying to develop professionals with these sets of technical and soft skills."
"Cloud and big data is advancing all the time," said Cheam. "For example, in 2000 we were producing about two exabytes of data per year; in 2011, the world was generating two exabytes per day."
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