SME Featured East Asia

Tencent’s cloud business launches new service for SMEs

Hong Kong – Tencent Cloud, the cloud business of china-based tech giant Tencent, is introducing Lighthouse, a one-stop cloud server service that is suitable for lightweight business scenarios. This is in response to covering the needs of more SMEs and developers amid small businesses further seeing the importance of cloud usage. 

Tencent Cloud Lighthouse comes with ‘out-of-the-box’ features such as one-stop integration of basic cloud services, including computing, storage, and network. It also provides a one-click app deployment, providing a rich set of out-of-the-box app images and preconfigured software stacks for websites, blogs, forums, and other application systems. 

The company also boasts Lighthouse’s packages for computing, storage, and network resources as well as high bandwidth/traffic packages which aim to make the deployments highly cost-effective. Tencent also said the service helps in unifying operations and maintenance, where servers, applications, operations and maintenance are able to be carried out from a single unified management console of Lighthouse.

Furthermore, Tencent Cloud emphasises Lighthouse’s fit in different scenarios, such as building websites, and web applications, as well as building mini programs, mini games, online stores, cloud storage, and image hosting, among others. 

Poshu Yeung, SVP of Tencent Cloud International, said, “As we usher in the new digital era, there’s a surge in demand for cloud technologies, particularly with SMEs and the developer community around the world. As one of the world’s leading cloud service providers, we are committed to empowering businesses of all sizes and fields to embrace digital transformation. We are pleased to introduce Tencent Cloud Lighthouse, a simplified and easy-to-use cloud server product that can assist them as they embark on their cloudification journey efficiently.”

Tencent Cloud also recently launched the SME Booster Program, offering SMEs up to USD500 exclusive rebate packages, various product free trials and promotional offers, including Lighthouse. 

Marketing Featured South Asia

SLT-MOBITEL rebrands cloud storage solution as ‘Eazy Storage’

Sri Lanka – SLT Mobitel, leading mobile service provider in Sri Lanka, has rebranded and upgraded its current cloud storage service, SLT Storage, to now be called ‘Eazy Storage’. The telco said the enhanced service is in response to the immense potential in the cloud space, and will be offering customers the ultimate cloud solution with a robust and cutting-edge user interface for cloud applications.

SLT Mobitel offers mobile telephony, broadband services, and roaming and idd services, among others. Its cloud storage, file sync, and sharing solution, Eazy Storage, will have no additional broadband costs. Customers have instant access to all data including all files, photos, messages, contacts, and documents in any format to work and share with others, with real-time collaboration from any device, anywhere.

The telco assures all files are secure with powerful on-server and end-to-end encryption. In addition, the solution is hosted inside SLT-MOBITEL’s state-of-the-art data centers.

Eazy Storage packages range from 5GB to 1000 GB and based on customer requests, 1TB can be offered. With prepaid and postpaid options, rates are priced from Rs 50 to Rs. 4675.

SLT Mobitel shared that it will be unveiling new features in the future, including a family sharing option to be launched soon.

Technology Featured APAC

Three ways cloud agreements can turbocharge a customer-centric experience

As digital technologies dramatically reshape industries, customer expectations are also rapidly evolving in a hyper-connected environment. In fact, we see the same technologies which are changing customer behavior also enabling businesses to redefine customer journeys. This has led to customers increasingly seeking differentiated experiences built on convenience, speed, and accessibility.

While putting the customer first is not a new idea, many organizations are still trying to crack the code on how to integrate this effectively into the business model. An easy first place to start is cloud agreements. Businesses often focus on digitizing the upfront customer experience however often overlook the process of agreement and rely on paper-based processes that aren’t aligned to customer expectations. Digitizing the agreement process removes the potential friction introduced by needing to print, send, and sign paper documents.

With modern electronic signature tools available, it’s now up to leaders to leverage technology and reorient the business towards customer needs. Here are three ways cloud agreements help to strengthen business touchpoints.

Make customers part of your solution

Delays and miscommunication are the most common risks every business that is not digital-first is exposed to. This incurs unnecessary time and revenue costs to the company, resulting in decreased productivity. Today, where the expectation for convenience becomes the norm, make yourself as easy to do business with as possible which starts with digitizing contracts. 

It’s important to provide full transparency throughout your engagement with each customer from pre- to post-sales. By leveraging cloud agreements, businesses can better accommodate customer needs by tapping into the flexibility and convenience of the system.

This is evident in the financial and banking industry where online contracts and e-signatures have helped global banks bridge the broken customer experience with an end-to-end digitalization of offerings like home loans. As a result, customers now enjoy improved and faster services that are aligned to their expectations.

A frictionless agreement process

A great customer experience starts with a frictionless agreement. We’ve all experienced the pain and frustration of having to print, sign, and mail documents. And it’s not enjoyable, to say the least. So why impose this on your customers? With cloud agreements, you can assimilate your business to the anywhere economy by eliminating manual steps in your processes and focus on service quality.

A robust cloud system that is compliant and reliable is a key part of any business success. The strong technology infrastructure from AI to machine learning that supports cloud services helps to build trust and confidence among customers. Additionally, the greater visibility of agreement processes allows senders to see real-time signing status which removes any customer fears and worries. This makes the customer experience holistic and safe.

A renewed focus on corporate and social responsibility

Providing a superior customer experience doesn’t hinge only on the customer’s benefit—it’s a strategic business decision. Thus, having a modern digital agreement process is also a reflection of your brand and corporate social responsibility. Through automated processes, paper wastage is greatly reduced which minimizes the negative impact on the environment.

As the world is gearing up towards building a green environment, your digital-first mindset of cloud-based agreements will help reduce your carbon footprint. This is critical especially for socially responsible customers, shifting mindsets that the cloud system is purpose- and value-driven instead of focusing on profits.

To be truly customer-centric, technology alone isn’t enough. Organizations must provide customers with a connected and meaningful experience that is supported by cloud agreements. This would make the customer journey easy and memorable for all the right reasons.

This article was written by Andrea Dixon, senior marketing director of DocuSign for APJ.

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Thai telecom TOT partners cloud tech provider Genesys, powers its call center with AI

Singapore – State-owned Thai telecommunications company TOT has collaborated with Genesys, a California-headquartered cloud customer experience and contact center solutions to accelerate its contact centers.

According to a press release by Genesys, TOT, as a company responsible for operating government contact centers in Thailand, experienced a surge in call volumes when the Coronavirus broke out.

To effectively manage the increase in calls, Genesys embedded machine learning and conversational AI capabilities with the use of Genesys Cloud and Google Cloud Contact Center AI (CCAI) into its system, allowing callers to now interact with AI-powered virtual agents who are able to accurately capture a customer’s intent easily, routing them to the agents most well placed to handle their needs.

Genesys Cloud is the company’s proprietary web-based unified communications solution, connecting contact center users, business users, vendors, partners, and customers; while Google Cloud CCAI is Google’s solution that helps integrate AI into contact center processes.

According to Genesys, one of the pain points it has also targeted for TOT in integrating the new solution is the company’s added complication of having less manpower to receive calls amid social distancing measures.

“The telecom provider needed a solution capable of scaling rapidly to meet the unexpected surges in call volume, address a constantly evolving set of requirements, optimize agent resources, and still deliver superior customer satisfaction with empathy,” said Genesys.

Senior Director for Cloud and Digital at TOT K. Santhiphap Phoemmongkhonsap said that customer experience remains one of the most significant measures of success for TOT as a government organization.

Phoemmongkhonsap also shared that with audiences increasingly utilizing digital channels, TOT has made it a priority to modernize contact center infrastructure and maintain high customer experience standards despite significant changes to customer requirements due to COVID-19.

“TOT and Genesys shares a common vision of improving lives with technology, and we look forward to continue serving businesses and consumers in line with Thailand’s digital transition vision with a like-minded partner,” said Phoemmongkhonsap.

Commenting on the partnership, Gwilym Funnell, senior vice president, and general manager at Genesys Asia-Pacific said, “Genesys is honored to assist TOT in serving the needs of local businesses and consumers, and more importantly, harness technology to make lives better amid the ongoing pandemic. We operate with a strong belief in the transformational potential of AI and Cloud technologies for modern economies. We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to collaborate with one of Thailand’s telecommunications pioneers to accelerate digital transformation within one of Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing internet economies.”

Meanwhile, Head of Product for Conversational AI at Google Cloud Antony Passemard said “The successful application of Google Cloud’s CCAI solution by Genesys for TOT is a tremendous example of how applied AI can help organizations digitally transform quickly, and ultimately drive stronger, more efficient experiences for their customers while maintaining control of their costs.”

Technology Featured East Asia

About half of total APAC data center investment in 2020 is from Hongkong

Hong Kong – Hong Kong’s data centers have been highly sought by investors and owner-operators in 2020 with majority, 54%, of the total investment volume into data centers in the Asia Pacific coming from the city, according to data by Cushman & Wakefield.

Data center investment in the region has been on the rise with total transaction volume between 2018 and 2020 totaling USD 5.7 billion, over seven times that between 2015 and 2017.

Despite the pandemic outbreak, investment activity in the sector remains relatively robust with the total transaction volume in the region over the first eight months of 2020 reaching USD 1.43 billion, about 56% of the 2019 level.

Among the most notable transactions in Hong Kong is China Mobile’s securement of an industrial government site for HKD 5.60 billion in July. The record-high asset value of HKD 5,967 per sq. ft was 56% higher than the closest bid; demonstrating the eagerness of the buyer to secure a data center site amidst limited supply.

Hong Kong has long been eyed as an ideal data center location. The latest research by Cushman & Wakefield identifies the city as the fourth most attractive data center location in APAC, trailing Singapore, Sydney, and Tokyo. The city ranked highest in terms of low tax rate and low climate risks and ranked in the middle in categories of fiber connectivity, market maturity, and electricity costs. Meanwhile, it scored poorly on its high real estate costs.

At the end of the second quarter of the year, total data center stock in Hong Kong amounted to 7.9 million sq. ft, of which 80% was dominated by 10 operators including the two largest local operators – SUNeVision and PCCW Solutions, with the latter making up 31% of the market area.

Cushman & Wakefield forecasts that over the next four years, a combined 4.2 million sq. ft of supply will enter the data center market.

Cushman & Wakefield’s Associate Director for Research in Hong Kong, Eric Chong said that existing data center demand is supported by banking & finance, insurance, and telecom operators, and that in the future, such demand is expected to be largely driven by leading global cloud service providers such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud as well as Tencent Cloud, and Alibaba Cloud. 

Chong said, “The growing importance of Internet of Things (IoT) applications, the impending 5G network, and fast adoption rates of cloud computing as well as the post-COVID-19 ‘new’ normal are the four major factors driving the surge in demand for cloud storage”.

Technology ANZ

Customer experience insights provider Medallia appoints new ANZ country manager

Sydney, Australia –  Experience management tech Medallia has announced that it has appointed its newest country manager for ANZ, Heather Paterson, former director of the Asia Pacific and Japan in the New York-headquartered Intralinks. 

Medallia provides a SaaS platform, the Medallia Experience Cloud, which services the market in the understanding and management of experience of customers, employees, and citizens via the capturing of experience signals from in-person daily journeys, digital channels, and IoT interactions. 

As the company continues to invest across the APAC region, Paterson will be tasked to lead the Australia team, where she is also said to spearhead the launch of ground operations in New Zealand, expected over the coming quarters.  

Gavin Selkirk, Medallia’s APAC vice president and general manager believes Paterson’s strong leadership background makes her the best person to lead the country’s growth.

“Heather’s results-driven approach, ability to build and manage teams and [her] strong background in financial services technology – an important and growing sector for us – means she’s ideally suited to run our business across Australia and New Zealand,” said Selkirk.

“Australia was Medallia’s first office in the region, and as it continues to grow, we look forward to building our New Zealand presence which Heather will play an integral role in building,” Selkirk added.

SME Southeast Asia

Malaysia-based cloud platform Enginemailer partners with MDEC to help digitize local SMEs

Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia-based integrated cloud platform Enginemailer, which focuses on email marketing services has been appointed by government-owned Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) to support its efforts in digitizing SMEs.

The support will mainly be given via the company’s flagship service, email marketing.

MDEC was established by the Malaysian government to propel Malaysia’s digital economy, which it refers to as the ecosystem of public and private sectors who produce, adopt and innovate digital technologies in the name of socio-economic productivity.

Enginemailer offers database management, email marketing, and transactional email services. It has unified features which deliver customer engagement across the entire email marketing and automation spectrum; combining drag-and-drop interfaces, advanced data analytics, and a complete set of integrations APIs.  

Companies who will engage in Enginemailer’s services will be provided with tools to bring their brand messaging into customers’ inboxes through efficient email campaigns.

“Enginemailer is proud to be appointed as an approved  TSP specializing in end-to-end email marketing service for SMEs looking to reach their target audience more effectively,” said CEO and founder Jeffri Shahul Hamid. 

Malaysia announced during its Budget 2020 that its Digitalization Grant will allow SMEs to apply for a 50% matching grant, or a cap of RM 5,000 to adopt any three of the five key digitalization areas delivered by approved Technology Service Providers (TSP). 

Jeffri cites Statista study that global email users in 2019 are estimated to reach 4.3 billion by 2023, a 400 million increase from 2019.

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Alphaus makes Malaysia its Global Development Centre

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — The importance of adopting Cloud infrastructure, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, is more critical than before. In 2019, worldwide Cloud infrastructure spending reached 107B USD and is growing at a rapid rate of around 40% annually.

However, as Cloud spending continues to grow, so is Cloud waste. There is no doubt that a shift towards the Cloud brings about many benefits, but when left without proper management, organizations may end up spending for idle and over-provisioned resources unnecessarily. Businesses globally should be looking to leverage IT to help reduce business expenses instead of merely slashing IT budget as was done in previous recessions.

Alphaus is an AWS Advanced Technology Partner and the first company outside the North America region providing solutions to address Cloud wastage. It’s solutions help AWS, Azure and Google Cloud partners and user enterprises to understand complicated Cloud spend. Alphaus’ products, Ripple and Wave, automates and simplifies complicated Cloud billing processes, allowing us to offer insights in regards to Cloud usage with historical information and recommending cost-saving measures. With cloud adoption happening at such a rapid rate, the introduction of Alphaus and our service couldn’t be more timely and will immensely benefit businesses in the local and regional tech scene.

Backed by highly reputable investors such as DNX Ventures, NTT Docomo Ventures Inc, MUFG, Archetype, Accord Ventures, and 500 US, Alphaus recently decided to establish its Global Development Center & SEA Regional Office in Kuala Lumpur. Alphaus is led by experienced professionals, Hajime Hirose, Shungo Arai, and Mohd Atasha, collectively bagging over 30 years of tech entrepreneurial and mentorship experience. While the pandemic has resulted in many people losing their jobs, Alphaus will continue to hire local and foreign talents as it continues to establish a presence in Kuala Lumpur and as businesses continue to adopt Cloud infrastructure rapidly.

The launch of MSC Malaysia powered by Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) in 1996 has attracted many highly reputable foreign businesses into the country, including NTT, a Japanese telecommunications company. NTT MSC was the first foreign-company awarded MSC Status. NTT Docomo and NTT Data, are investors and clients of Alphaus respectively. The decision to make Malaysia as its Global Development Centre appealed to Alphaus due to its world-class infrastructure at designated MSC locations, warm people, reasonable cost of living as well as access to the skilled and multilingual talents. Malaysia has been ranked the 3rd Best Global Services Location for several years in a study done by A.T. Kearney. The government’s initiative to boost the local tech industry makes it an ideal place for startups and SMEs alike.