Cisco and Singapore Pools: Innovation, Security and Trust
In this day and age, digital transformation is key to a company’s success.
Cisco Systems is a pillar of the digital age, helping companies of all sizes develop a roadmap for their digital transformation journey, transforming the way people connect, communicate and collaborate.
“We use technology as the bridge between hope and possibility,” explains Andy Lee, Cisco’s Managing Director for Singapore and Brunei. “We help our customers build simpler, more secure and more cost-effective networks, in order to help them, not only unlock today's opportunities, but also to ensure they are ready for the future.”
Cisco was chosen by Singapore Pools as a key technology partner, helping them leverage technology from AI and big data to automation and cyber security in order to make better, more informed decisions. It’s a long-standing relationship built on mutual trust and a shared enthusiasm for innovation.
“Cisco has been the main technology provider for Singapore Pools' IT infrastructure for the past eight years, serving not just their corporate functions, but also their needs as they progress, improve and expand,” Mr. Lee explains, adding that the partnership’s success is also partly due to his strong working relationship with Teck Guan Yeo, Singapore Pools’ Chief Business Technology Officer.
“I've known Teck Guan for a long time, and I know that he knows who to call when something happens,” says Mr. Lee, adding that - even when there isn’t something happening, the two of them often stay in contact. “It's nice to catch up over a cup of coffee as well,” he laughs.
At the heart of any successful partnership is trust and an understanding of a shared vision. “We have a deep understanding of Singapore Pools' core vision, business priorities and how they run their operations,” says Mr. Lee, emphasising just how important “collaboration and trust” are to the success of their joint venture.
During the past 12 months, as the world found itself thrown into a new, often uncomfortable reality, Cisco has been an essential part of Singapore Pools’ support structure, as the company made the transition to a remote working model “almost overnight.”
Mr. Lee stresses just how important technology has been as an enabler in managing that transition, something that has only served to elevate Cisco’s importance to its partners. By leveraging its cutting edge networking solutions, Cisco has been able to help partners like Singapore Pools “ease the transition to the new digital reality of a remote and distributed workforce.”
One of the key challenges that Mr. Yeo and Mr. Lee found themselves faced with last year was the sudden surge in cybersecurity challenges that arose from the global shift to working from home.
“In a world where employees are expected to work from anywhere on any device, task security needs to be the foundation of success for any digitalisation effort,” says Mr. Lee.
Cisco’s threat defence platform is the largest in the industry, blocking more than 20bn threats to its customers every day. Before and during the pandemic, it’s been a valuable tool in helping Singapore Pools “maintain the cybersecurity and data integrity that allows their business to continue working.”
Both Mr. Lee and Mr. Yeo are irrepressible disruptors whose work is never done. Yeo has big plans for Singapore Pools, and Mr. Lee plans on being there to help every step of the way.
“We are proud to partner with Singapore Pools on their digital transformation journey to streamline and automate all their manual processes,” says Mr. Lee. “We look forward to working closely with them to drive productivity, efficiency and long term business resiliency, in order to ensure a seamless transformation from the old to the now to the new.
Why Alibaba Cloud is doubling down in Southeast Asia
Alibaba has announced expansion of its cloud business within Southeast Asia, with the introduction of a digital upskilling programme for locals alongside acceleration of its data centre openings.
This doubling down of its cloud business in Southeast Asia comes as the company faces stiff competition at home in China from rivals including Pinduoduo Inc and Tencent and seeks to up its game in a region considered to be the fastest-growing in cloud adoption to compete with leading global cloud providers AWS, Google and Microsoft.
Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and second biggest revenue driver after its core e-commerce business, finally turned profitable for the first time in the December 2020 following 11 years of operation, thanks largely to the pandemic which has spurred businesses and consumers to get online.
Southeast Asia growing demand for cloud
In 2020, there was a noticeable increase in interest towards cloud in SE Asia, with the population embracing digital transformation during the pandemic and SMEs across the region showing increased demand for cloud computing.
Such demand has led to the expectation that Southeast Asia is now the fastest-growing adopter of cloud computing with the cloud market expected to reach US$40.32bn in Southeast Asia by 2025 according to IDC.
And there are plenty of players vying for a slice of the cloud pie. While AWS, the cloud arm of Amazon, is the leading player in Southeast Asia (and across all of APAC apart from China), Microsoft and Google are the next two most dominant players in Southeast Asia with Alibaba coming in fourth.
“There is no doubt that during the past year we have seen the acceleration of digital transformation efforts across all industries,” explains Ahmed Mazhari, President, Microsoft Asia. “Asia now accounts for 60% of the world’s growth and is leading the global recovery with the digitalization of business models and economies. Cloud will continue to be a core foundation empowering the realization of Asia’s ambitions, enabling co-innovation across industries, government and community, to drive inclusive societal progress.”
Alibaba’s commitment to Southeast Asia
At its annual Alibaba Cloud Summit, the Chinese company announced Project AsiaForward, an initiative designed to upskill local developers, small-to-medium-sized companies and connect businesses with venture capital. Alibaba said it would set aside US$1bn over the next three years to develop digital skills in the region, with the aim of helping to develop 100,000 developers and to help grow 100,000 tech startups.
But that’s not all. The company, which recently opened its third data centre in Indonesia, serving customers with offerings across database, security, network, machine learning and data analytics services, also announced it would unveil its first data centre in the Philippines by the end of 2021.
Furthermore, that it would establish its first international innovation centre, located in Malaysia, offering a one-stop shop platform for Malaysian SMEs, startups and developers to innovate in emerging technologies.
“We are seeing a strong demand for cloud-native technologies in emerging verticals across the region, from e-commerce and logistics platforms to FinTech and online entertainment. As the leading cloud service provider and trusted partner in APAC, we are committed to bettering the region’s cloud ecosystem and enhancing its digital infrastructure,” says Jeff Zhang, President, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence.
What other cloud providers are pledging in the region
This pledge by Alibaba to upskill both individuals and businesses follows Microsoft’s announcement in April that it was planning to upskill Malaysia’s population and would invest US$1bn over the next five years to build a new data centre centre in Malaysia.
This is the latest in a long line of pledges to the region by the US tech giant, which is fast accelerating the growth of its cloud datacenter footprint in Asia, expanding form seven 11 markets, and recently adding three new markets across Asia – Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan. Back in February, it announced plans to establish its first datacenter region in Indonesia and to skill an additional 3 million Indonesians to achieve its goal of empowering over 24 million Indonesians by the end of 2021.
And recent research by IDC shows that Microsoft’s most recent datacenter expansions in Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan alone are set to generate more than US$21bn in new revenues and will create 100,000 new jobs in the next four years.
Also last month, Tencent announced it has launched internet data centres in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Tokyo to add to its second availability zone opened in Korea last year and plans to add an internet data center in Indonesia, and Google has also been pushing into the enterprise space in Southeast Asia for several years now.
Expanding data centers allows cloud providers to boost their capacity in certain countries or regions.