EMC sees major potential for Malaysian companies to dominate the global CaaS market
Data scientists and cloud architects in high demand, with global competition for the same talent pool
THE time is right for Malaysian companies to take the lead in the emerging market of Cloud as a Service (CaaS), according to storage hardware solutions provider EMC Corporation.
“I believe Malaysia is uniquely positioned to be a leading provider of cloud-hosted services to an international clientele,” said Cheam Inn Tat (pic), EMC’s country manager for Malaysia.
Cheam said that the beauty of the cloud is that it allows anyone to be a service provider. The transformation of IT with cloud computing and its function within organizations has enabled it to create value and be a viable business.
For companies that don’t want to own or maintain their own IT infrastructure, they can outsource it to Malaysian companies.
“We are already seeing this beginning to happen and this is a high growth sector with plenty of room for more players,” he said.
He added that traditionally it would be companies in the telecommunications space who would provide such services but they are hampered by their own issues with legacy infrastructure and sorting out their own journey to the cloud. Servicing this market is all about agility and speed, which can be better accomplished by start-ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
“With lower barriers to entry, all you need is a small team of highly technical and capable people. We’re observing a number of small service providers popping up in the landscape, leasing infrastructure from vendors, and then in turn selling their services to clients,” said Cheam.
He added that the number of new entrants into the CaaS space is outstripping the traditional providers and players.
Calling it the “new foreign direct investment (FDI)”, Cheam said that this was one way of helping the nation achieve its goals of becoming a high-income nation by 2020.
“The old way of getting FDI from the technology sector was manufacturing-centric, where companies would come in, buy land, build a factory and hire staff. It’s an industrial mind-set,” he said.
“With CaaS, I foresee a transformational impact with income flowing into the country for these services and there is definitely room for more players, as current solutions are generic. The solutions being offered have not yet gone deeper into servicing industry-specific needs,” he added.
To those keen on jumping into the CaaS space, Cheam had three tips to give:
Don’t make the solution too complex, address a simple need
Look right away at servicing global customers
Don’t have a general approach and try to align solutions to industry specific needs to make your product more “sticky”.
IT’s transforming role
Cheam was speaking at a media briefing held after an EMC Forum attended by over 400 people, centered on the transformation of IT.
Historically IT has driven business efficiency via taking tasks done by many and doing it better with fewer resources, usually accomplished via packaged applications on a dedicated infrastructure.
Today, cloud computing has enabled IT to be run as a service (ITaaS), allowing organizations to deploy a pool of elastic resources, reducing hardware costs and making it simple to provision and move applications – driving efficiency and flexibility.
“Back in 2011, many organizations were still trying to grasp the potential of cloud computing coupled with big data, now in 2012 the train is truly moving. It’s no longer a question of whether an organization should be looking at moving to a cloud-enable environment, it’s a question of how, with execution now the key focus,” said Cheam.
In organizations around the world, IT departments now compete for internal customers with the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend becoming a fixture in the landscape.
“Before, new employees would fill out a form and wait for the company to issue them devices and email addresses. Today, new employees come with their own devices and will not wait for IT to issue them an official email and will start communicating with personal accounts,” said Cheam.
In order to cope with the changing workforce, IT departments have to transform to respond faster and provide employees with the tools that enable speed with flexibility, he added. Part of the transformation challenge is the need to re-skill existing staff from traditional IT to ‘new’ IT.
“Making the change is not easy as many were schooled in the traditional way of approaching IT which is more structured and hierarchical in its execution,” he said.
Another issue is the need to fill newly created positions within a transformed IT environment, with relevant talent in short supply.
Two skillsets in high demand, Cheam said, were for cloud architects to help design and build secure and viable cloud environments; and data scientists, with expertise in mathematics, statistics and psychology to help analyze and make sense of the raw material that big data solutions generate.
According to Cheam, a generalized approach to seeking such talent will not help the country in boosting its competitive advantage.
“The concept of just asking people to come back doesn’t hold water. We need to be more specific when we issue a call out for people to move back to Malaysia or consider moving here for job opportunities. You say you want people with IT skills, but what skills exactly? ” said Cheam.
“With the shortage of relevant talent, there is global competition for the same talent pool and we need to be able to make Malaysia an attractive destination over other markets,” he said.
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