OSAM brings AWS disruptive technologies to benefit Vietnamese firms

May 03, 2019 | 12:07
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As digitalisation is driving transformation in all economic sectors, startups and businesses in Vietnam are adopting emerging tech into their business to leapfrog in development and competition. Ho Viet Anh, CEO of OSAM Cloud Innovator and Community Hero of US technology giant Amazon Web Services Inc., discussed with VIR’s Bich Thuy his amazing digital journey and how he engages local startups and the business community in the changing world of technology.
osam brings aws disruptive technologies to benefit vietnamese firms
Ho Viet Anh, CEO of OSAM Cloud Innovator and Community Hero of US technology giant Amazon Web Services Inc

What aroused your interest in technology and Amazon Web Services (AWS)? How can you engage local startups and the business community in technology disruption?

I first approached technology when I was waiting to go abroad for a scholarship training course. Having indulged myself with technology, I decided to take a certification exam and be certified as an AWS’ Solutions Architect. I then decided to quit the scholarship and devoted my time to technology.

I attended the AWS Summit where I met thousands of other participants in each user group. Countries like South Korea, Japan, and Thailand all have their user groups where startups and businesses can share experience about new technologies and discuss ways to benefit from them.

When I came home, the idea of establishing a cloud computing user group for Vietnam took shape in my mind at around 2016 as a channel to share knowledge and hands-on experience among cloud practitioners, and then AWS Vietnam User Group officially came out, focusing on four key targets: helping people to easily get access to the Cloud of AWS and other tech firms; organising meetups (offline/online events) so that members can share experience and expertise; training and certification; and supporting startups.

At the time, the group consisted of me and some of my friends because few people paid attention to this. We also had some difficulties with speakers and funding. However, we tried to promote the User Group by organising offline events. The first event attracted only three participants. After several months of innovating the way we run the community, more people were aware of us. And in the third event, we attracted more than 100 people. At present, we have a strong network of around 5,000 users.

How can businesses and the members of AWS Vietnam User Group benefit from technology innovations? Which industries are the most willing to spend on technology?

With AWS User Group, members can be updated with new information about AWS services and products. They can also learn more about global technology trends and how to adopt disruptive technology so that they can make reasonable changes to their business plans to increase business efficiency.

At AWS User Group, we often hold events such as Community Day to share with Vietnamese users about machine learning, AWS, and cloud computing. Such an event attracts the participation of user group leaders and experts in the Asia region. Especially, in September 2018, we invited Dr Werner Vogels, the chief technology officer of AWS to our Community Day.

It is worthy to note that the webinars or live shows of AWS now lure in more and more Vietnamese users. In some events, the number of Vietnamese users is as much as the number of participants from other countries together. This proves how huge an interest Vietnamese people have in technology innovations. And this is the reason why AWS builds an AWS website in Vietnamese, making Vietnam among the four countries in Asia, along with South Korea, Japan, and Thailand, whose language the AWS website supports.

Currently, technology application among users in Vietnam is as high as in other Asian countries. Sometimes, it is even higher. The Vietnamese community is eager to utilise new services and products such as Amazon Forecast and Amazon Recommendation. Businesses in Vietnam are more willing to pay for technology applications than individuals. In my opinion, e-commerce businesses are more willing to pay, followed by the media industry.

What is more, we develop elemental-level cloud computing training courses in both English and Vietnamese in partnership with international training partners and then co-operate with universities to realise them. We now co-operate with several universities, including FUNiX, Technology College of Hanoi National University, and others.

We also help startups connect with tech firms. Now the number of startups in our partner networkreaches over 100.

AWS Community Hero is a well-known ranking, recognising a vibrant, worldwide group of AWS experts whose enthusiasm for knowledge-sharing has a real impact on the community. Could you share about your journey to achieving the award?

AWS Community Hero is a globally-run award by AWS. I am very proud to have received it because the AWS Vietnam User Group has been founded only about two years ago. In some countries, one takes five years or even longer to be earned.

There are some criteria for the award, including the events of the User Group, the number of users, growth in users, their feedback, as well as what benefits the community enjoys from the User Group.

Since 2016, the community has reached more than 5,400 members and is still expanding. The group holds monthly meetups, connects many small- and medium-sized enterprises to AWS experts, and provides real-time, free-of-charge consultancy to startups. In August 2017, I joined as the lead content creator of a programme called Cloud Computing Lectures for Universities which includes translating AWS documentation and news into Vietnamese, providing students with fundamental, up-to-date knowledge of AWS cloud computing, and supporting students’ career paths.

Being busy as the founder of AWS Vietnam User Group, why have you decided to found OSAM, an AWS Consulting Partner in Vietnam?

Since 2017, when AWS officially entered the Vietnamese market, the number of their customers has been increasing, including fast-growing businesses that are in need of technology innovations to meet their development plans.

However, not all businesses can thoroughly understand which services are suitable for them as the number of new features and services that AWS has introduced to the market is growing rapidly every year. In 2018, AWS released 1,957 new features/services for computing, storage, databases, networking, analytics, machine learning, and AI, internet of things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), media, and application development, deployment, and management. New users might not know where to start with AWS services, and there remains a gap in consultation activities which can design cloud adoption workmaps for users. Therefore, we decided to found OSAM International to provide consultancy services for those in need. At OSAM, I and my enthusiastic team have helped many companies, from small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to big enterprises, move to the cloud with AWS.

AWS has four rankings of partners: Register, Standard, Advance, and Premier – and OSAM is now an Advance partner of AWS and the only certified partner with AWS Service Delivery in Vietnam. OSAM has helped over 200 businesses move to the cloud with AWS.

After two years of operation, OSAM has produced fruitful results, though it is still flying under expectations. The future is bright, driven by growing technology demand among businesses and startups and improved cloud computing infrastructure in Vietnam. According to a report by the Asia Cloud Computing Association, Vietnam ranked 8th in 2018 among the 14 surveyed countries in Asia in terms of international connectivity which is one of the essential factors for adopting cloud computing technology, up from the 13th or 14th ranking in the past.

What is more, Vietnamese businesses are now more active in the application of AWS services. Startups, SMEs, and even powerful enterprises are now more willing to invest to try cloud services.

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