Last week marked your first trip to Vietnam in your current role. What are your goals and will this trip help make any changes in business strategy in Vietnam?
|Phil Davis, the US tech firm’s managing director for Asia-Pacific and Japan |
There are some goals. First and foremost is to meet with our customers and partners and just hear firsthand what they need where they’re trying to go with their business, and how we can help them.
I think one of the fairly unique things about Amazon is that about 90 per cent of our services and products come directly from customer feedback, and about 10 per cent is what we are looking out for in the future and thinking about where customers will want to go. Customer feedback is very important to us.
The other difference is now a skills shortage. This is a problem everywhere, including Vietnam. Vietnam is one of our fastest growing markets and we are always changing to better understand customers and be customer obsessed and better meet their needs. Firstly, we will continue to bring more infrastructure such as the AWS local zones, edge locations, and outposts that we’ve announced.We will give more local processing capabilities as well as local data.
The second is that we will continue to bring best practices that we see from around the globe, and share that learning with Vietnamese customers.
And the third one is increased investment in digital skills. We usually look for AWS to increase investment around training and skills and those types of capabilities. And of course, we’ll have to continue to grow our team to enable all of that.
As Vietnam is accelerating digital transformation, human resource training is now more important. How has AWS facilitated cloud-driven transformation?
At a high level, it has three phases. One is making sure that students and developers have access. So we’ve opened up a lot of our training for free to help students and developers get access to it. The second is how you have legacy employees, traditional skilled employees, and rescale for digital. And then the third element is what we can do for specific customers. Developers and students are early in their journey and traditional workers need to develop skills, and that’s a big opportunity.
In Vietnam and across the region I cover, digital skills and especially cloud-related skills are increasingly in-demand in workplaces. This demand has only been exacerbated by the changes in operations, products, and services that the pandemic has induced across industries.
According to our 2022 report on building skills for the changing workforce in Asia-Pacific and Japan, 88 per cent of workers in the seven countries studied said they need more digital skills to adapt to job changes due to the pandemic. The report found an estimated 86 million more people in that region (14 per cent of the total workforce) will need to undertake digital skills training over the next year alone to keep pace with technological advancements.
AWS is deeply invested in helping to address our digital skills challenge. We have trained more than 2.5 million people across Asia-Pacific and Japan with cloud skills since 2017. As part of our efforts to continue supporting the future workforce, AWS announced in December 2020 our commitment to investing hundreds of millions of US dollars to provide free cloud computing skills training to 29 million people by 2025. Since then, we’ve helped six million people gain cloud skills.
In July 2021, we launched Build On Vietnam, a hackathon open to Vietnamese students, developers, and cloud enthusiasts. In September last year, we announced a collaboration with Techcombank to develop a cloud skills programme that will provide the bank’s employees with access to a comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud offering.
In May, we launched AWS re/Start in Vietnam, a free 12-week programme that prepares unemployed and underemployed individuals for cloud careers. AWS Skill Builder, launched in November 2021, is a digital learning experience that provides free skills training to millions of people in more than 200 countries and territories. Finally, AWS Educate offers hundreds of hours of self-paced training and resources for new-to-cloud learners, including hands-on labs in the AWS Management Console.
As Vietnam ramps up sustainable efforts, how can the tech sector and AWS contribute to the nation’s sustainable transformation?
Organisations have an imperative to fight climate change, and many are beginning to realise the business benefits of doing so – sustainability is expected to generate $1 trillion in economic opportunities in Southeast Asia alone by 2030.
Using the cloud enables innovation to create more sustainable green tech solutions, while helping reduce carbon footprints and lowering infrastructure costs. A report by 451 Research, part of S&P Global, estimates that large-scale cloud data centres are five times more energy-efficient than on-premises data centres. Moving computing workloads to the cloud can help such companies reduce their carbon footprint by more than 78 per cent.
In 2019, we launched the Right Now Climate Fund, committing $100 million to restore and protect forests, wetlands, and peatlands worldwide in partnership with The Nature Conservancy. The fund will help remove millions of metric tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere over the lifetime of the project, and create economic opportunity for thousands of people.
We are invested in building a sustainable business for customers and the planet. For example, we announced our first renewable energy project in Singapore, a 62-MW solar project made up of a series of solar panels mounted on a ground system. Since 2019, we have announced three wind and solar projects in Australia and one solar project in China. Together, these projects contribute approximately 411MW of installed capacity and will supply more than 900,000MWh of additional renewable energy to local electricity grids.
Amazon is using its size and scale to make a difference and it’s why we co-founded The Climate Pledge, setting a goal to meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early and become net-zero in carbon by 2040.