Ensuring long-term investment for era of digital transformation

April 13, 2020 | 10:00
In the digital transformation journey, cloud computing is a strategically important step. Conor McNamara, managing director for Southeast Asia at Amazon Web Services, discussed with VIR’s Bich Thuy new movements in cloud adoption in Vietnam, and how AWS supports Vietnamese businesses in their digital evolution.
ensuring long term investment for era of digital transformation
Conor McNamara, managing director for Southeast Asia at Amazon Web Services

Cloud adoption is growing steadily across the world. How do you see its trend in the near future of Vietnam, especially as the country is set to commercially launch 5G this year?

We strongly believe that over time cloud will be ubiquitous, as the value proposition is so compelling. We can see amazing growth across the world.

Since taking up the role of managing director in this region in particular, I have been meeting with customers and partners in Vietnam, and I feel the energy in the market. There is a strong community of developers who really want to embrace the latest technologies.

I am also excited about what we work with universities on the AWS Educate programme to make sure that we are not only upskilling engineers to work with customers today but also to build ecosystems for the future.

AWS sees an increasing number of customers in Vietnam, across various industries. Some examples are Circle K, a large convenience store chain in Vietnam, and FastGo, the ride-hailing company. Dien Quang is also using AWS services for Internet of Things in lighting and electric equipment. Meanwhile, independent software vendors like Movi are working on catering to the financial needs of workers across various manufacturing houses in Vietnam. And there are some of our higher-level services in the machine learning space – they are exploring the use of machine learning applications and embracing really high-end AWS technologies.

Together with traditional customers, we also have new examples of successful stories in Vietnam like Online Management Training, Openway Group, and Sapo. For instance, Openway is a payment gateway company. As a result of the work they have done with us, they have reduced payment service time from six months to eight weeks.

While recognising the importance of the cloud to digital transformation, technical infrastructure and price remain the concerns among businesses in the country. How can AWS help them to deal with this?

Although cost is very compelling and almost always the conversation starter, the number one reason that enterprises are moving to the cloud is agility and speed. Most enterprises understand that cloud is the future and cloud technology has pretty amazing benefits. Most conversations that we have now with customers are about how they can move from the current environment to AWS cloud in the most efficient and cost-effective way.

To assist with that, we have a professional services team that works with customers to migrate them to the cloud, and we have dedicated security architects that help customers understand how they can recreate and improve their security posture in the cloud as well as what they do on their premises.

Regarding AWS pricing philosophy, we’ve reduced our prices 80 times since we launched. We have a mindset like our retail colleagues that we want to pass our savings from running more efficiently on to our customers. We strongly believe in investing in business for the long-term.

In addition, with AWS Trusted Advisor, we provide real-time visibility for customers to optimise their purchasing patterns and tools for customers to reduce their cost.

We also utilise cloud financial management experts, who work with customers to reduce their bills and offer measures to help customers to cost optimisation in real time. It’s quite a different approach to other enterprise IT vendors.

If we believe that there is something we can do more in terms of pricing or to improve how we can better serve our customers we will do it.

The landmark EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement is expected to take effect this year. What are your recommendations to help businesses successfully transform to gain more advantages?

If we look at successful organisations who successfully transform with the use of cloud, a couple of ingredients are embedded in their success.

First is a leader who believes in the cloud and what can be derived from it. They also must clearly understand the business case of what they are trying to do. Next, we strongly believe in the whole idea of experimentation. Organisations that are successful in the cloud are the ones who experiment early and learn quickly.

They must also invest in skills. IT is a clear competitive differentiator – you can digitise and create competitive offerings to your customer to respond quickly to their demands. And if you want to be able to do that, you need a certain amount of cloud, technical, and business skills.

Finally, you need to create deep partnerships, rather than treat partners as a transactional agreement. Build deep partnerships with a small number of selected partners that you really want to invest in together.

The organisations that carry out those things are the ones set for success.

By Bich Thuy

What the stars mean:

★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional