Two years after its first i.Luminate business innovation event, SingTel brought a huge number of business customers together to reinforce its position as ICT service provider for Singaporean SMEs and Asia-Pacific based corporates. It also hosted Accelerate, its first developer forum to kick off its major innovation exchange program. There was a big focus on cloud services and SingTel has clearly made good progress in delivering on its strategy. While we think it will face strong competition in exporting its ICT proposition out of Singapore, we found its overall message and commitment very impressive.
Innovate: how to stay relevant to customers
SingTel has the most ambitious plan among telcos in the region to move beyond connectivity. Its strategic objective is to be the leading ICT experience provider, a one-stop shop for ICT services for enterprises in Asia-Pacific, and a leader and shaper in cloud services. It aims to do this by developing a world-class ecosystem of partners.
Innovation is a critical component of SingTels ICT strategy. With this in mind, it has set up a corporate venture capital company to invest in innovative technologies and solutions. Through a program called Innov8 it will invest $150 million (S$200 million) to promote innovation within the ICT industry by leading developers, government agencies, and R&D organizations. The initiative will help to promote a stronger national ecosystem of players that will form a good basis to position Singapore as a leader in regional cloud services. Importantly, it will build momentum and support the rapid development of new services. And SingTel has made it clear that it is keen to embrace co-funding opportunities with partners too.
Developers may become a new sales force
SingTel was one of the first telcos to announce a partnership with Google, and its OneOffice service was successfully built on this collaboration. In addition, SingTel has built up a partner ecosystem that includes major vendors such as Cisco, EMC, and VMware, its own system integration company NCS, a large number of ISV players in the main verticals, and many small specialist players.
SingTel expects a step change in activity. A large base of application developers will help SingTel to address a broader range of verticals and potentially grow its sales channel. Successful developers will use their relationships in the market to chase customers and ultimately drive sales of SingTel's network infrastructure and services that are part of their offering.
Singapore is a unique test bed for Asian growth
With an early entry in the market on multiple fronts, SingTel's cloud strategy is starting to pay off; it already has a significant number of customers, most of which are local Singaporean enterprises and SMEs. It claims around 100,000 business users of software-as-a-service. In platform-as-a-service it currently works with 300 ISVs developing applications, many sold through its own myBusiness portal. Its infrastructure-as-a-service offerings include Alatum, a virtual data center for on-demand cloud computing infrastructure, and EXPAN Grid, an on-demand computing power and storage offering, for which SingTel claims to currently have 20,000 users.
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