Exabytes and P1 collaborate to expand SME portfolio
By Gabey Goh January 8, 2014
- Partnership grants access and boost to each other’s existing enterprise customer base
- Bundled solutions, promotions and education outreach efforts to hit market in coming months
WEB hosting company Exabytes Network and 4G service provider Packet One Networks (P1) have announced a partnership aimed at providing the small and medium enterprise (SME) market in Malaysia with end-to-end solutions.
The collaboration will see both companies offering their customers, especially those in e-commerce, bundled solutions encompassing voice and connectivity services.
“Connectivity is an integral part of the online business, especially ... as today’s local e-commerce market is growing fiercely competitive," said Exabytes founder and chief executive officer Chan Kee Siak.
"Partnering with P1 will help our e-commerce merchants achieve higher business and services availability, for a better chance of survival,” he told a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur.
Commenting on the collaboration, P1 chief commercial officer Kelvin Lee said that it was a strategic move to deepen the company’s broadband and voice penetration into the expanding e-commerce market.
“Instantly, it will enable us to reach out to Exabytes’ customers in the online business space and e-commerce merchants on Easy.my, the company’s online retail shopping platform,” Lee added.
Exabytes currently has over 60,000 enterprise customers and another 10,000 customers via Easy.my, while P1 currently has 25,000 SME customers and a 550,000-strong consumer subscriber base, the two companies claimed.
Chan said that for all communication services and connectivity solution packages that Exabytes’ customers currently subscribe to, P1 will offer exclusive additional voice call savings, free installation and waived fees for related line and equipment rental.
“It is a converged connectivity solution that allows our customers to go online and start their e-commerce operations, yet cost-effectively manage their broadband usage and voice calls,” he claimed.
P1’s Lee pointed out that according to research by Euromonitor International, the Malaysian e-commerce market is expected to grow at an accelerated pace from RM842 million (US$256 million) in 2011 to an estimated RM1.9 billion (US$579 million) by 2016.
Furthermore, SMEs are expected to get online and enable their business with ICT at "an exponential rate," he said.
“Through this partnership, we hope to see more SOHO (small office, home office) and SME customers going online to leverage on ... converged connectivity technologies to get their business to perform more efficiently, and to compete with other players in the global e-commerce market,” he added.
There are plans to offer several special promotions targeting P1 subscribers to shop on Easy.my in the coming months, in addition to the promotional packages.
“These offers will definitely improve our existing customer base exponentially within a short time,” said Chan.
More education needed
Chan also said that 70% of SMEs in the country do not have any digital presence and are missing out on the opportunity to scale their business locally and internationally, by tapping into the emerging e-commerce and mobile commerce market. Many were still hesistant to embrace digital technologies.
“Education plays a critical role here and moving forward, we intend to co-organise events and workshops with P1 targeted at SME customers.
“There’s still a lot of hand-holding required for SMEs, you can’t just sell them a solution and leave them alone, especially since for most, Internet and e-commerce -- let alone mobile commerce -- is a new area they need to get accustomed to,” he said.
Chan said the two companies' plans also included training their resellers to help push bundled packages once they are available. However, the partnership’s initial focus would be on upselling these new bundled offerings to their shared, existing corporate customer base.
On the topic of support services, both parties said that catering to the SME segment’s needs would not be an issue with their existing operations.
Asked whether there were plans to offer industry-specific solutions, be it for retail or manufacturing similar to what Maxis is offering, Chan did not rule this out, but claimed that Exabytes’ current portfolio already covers most industries.
He also pointed to Cloud Market, a Software-as-a-Service marketplace that has about 40 independent software vendors (ISVs) offering solutions, which Exabytes recently soft-launched.
Meanwhile, P1’s Lee declined to answer the majority of questions posed outside the scope of the partnership with Exabytes. When pressed on the issue of LTE deployment, which the company has previously stated it intends to do, he did not share much detail but said that P1 is looking into deploying in selected areas within the year.
On the topic of how P1 has been faring since the exit of its long-time CEO Michael Lai, Lee said that the company is in the midst of its “transition management” phase.