April 27, 2020
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It was the 36th day of the Movement Control Order (MCO). An announcement made by the Government recently has led to hundreds and thousands of people to swarm an organisation’s website. The servers have hit the limit. Bandwidth is reaching its maximum capacity. The website had gone down. An upgrade has become imperative and must be done immediately. It is national interest!
Within only 24 hours, an infrastructure upgrade was complete. The system has moved to the cloud, and the system was up and running again, securely, as usual.
The above scenario is real in today’s crisis period. Volatility and uncertainty have become normal. It is clear that this pandemic has become an ultimate test for all organisations across various sectors. For those organisations that have emerged as critical during these challenging times, they need a trusted digital provider who can offer the agility, flexibility, scalability and security to meet their needs within a very short period of time.
At Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM), we are currently seeing more than 30% increase in usage trending during the MCO period. Of course, our vast and diverse network connectivity nationwide and worldwide is sufficient to continuously support any sudden spike in demand for internet bandwidth. In the meantime, Malaysia Internet Exchange, MyIX, reported the highest internet traffic peak of 532Gbps at the start of the MCO on 18 March 2020 – an increase of 6.4% from 2019’s highest traffic peak point record of 500Gbps.
This is a worldwide phenomenon. According to international media reports, in Europe recently, Internet Exchange Operator DE-CIX said it has seen average data traffic at its exchange in Frankfurt alone increased by 10%. That includes a 50% rise in video conferencing traffic (including Skype, Teams, and WebEx) and a 25% increase in online and cloud gaming. Meanwhile, all of DE-CIX’s Internet nodes worldwide are reporting a 20% increase in demand for additional capacity since the beginning of March.
As part of MCO, people are encouraged to work from home (if their job function allows) to reduce the risk of them coming into contact with someone who might have the virus, or – if they are infected themselves – passing it on. Some organisations are seeing a spike in traffic or in demand for their services, as a result of government announcements or market dynamics arising from the pandemic.
The challenge for many enterprises and public sector bodies is to ensure their IT infrastructure can accommodate a sudden increase in traffic to their systems when there is a sudden spike in demand, while most if not all of their employees are now working from home.
But it is a challenge we have to rise to, to ensure the business can continue to function in this unprecedented pandemic situation that is affecting everyone across the world, while ensuring the health and safety of our employees.
Many experts say that enterprises that have already gone all-in on public cloud from an infrastructure perspective, or are largely familiar with software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, should be at lower risk of experiencing technical difficulties at this time.
And it must be noted, a key benefit of cloud-based application and infrastructure resources is that they are accessible from anywhere, enabling businesses to gain control of their operations during the MCO. As the scenario at the start of this article has shown, the cloud also offers the scalability and flexibility when there is a sudden change in resource demands, enabling users to upgrade or downgrade anytime.
The reality of the situation, though, is that relatively few organisations out there that are truly “all-in” on cloud, and many others are still highly reliant on their internal IT environment to host their business-critical applications.
According to Global Data, Malaysia’s spending for Cloud Computing – is forecasted to reach RM10 billion in 2020, an 18% increase from 2019. Yet, cloud computing is expected to amount to merely 12-15% of all ICT spending. This is in contrast with data from research and predictions, where cloud expenses are expected to amount to 70% of all tech spending globally by 2020.
Certainly, there is a lot of growth potential here. The global cloud computing market is forecasted to exceed US$350 billion this year, an 18% rise since 2018 and the impressive Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) is bound to continue. In Malaysia, Software as a Service (SaaS) accounts for about half of enterprise expenditure on cloud computing, but spending growth in Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) is expected to rise as enterprises demand more cloud storage and compute capacity, cloud-based database, application development software, and analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities.
The resilience of cloud computing is being out for the test as never before as a critical enabler of remote operations and continuous innovation.
Many organisations have moved mostly tactical business functions to either SaaS or public cloud. Those companies that chose to keep business-critical applications in their own data centre – presumably to have lower latency and more control over performance – now find themselves in a quandary as overnight their offices become empty when working from home has become mandatory in most scenarios.
This is where a multi- or hybrid cloud strategy becomes a viable approach for organisations that want the best of both worlds. While the trend towards public cloud especially in SaaS applications is increasing, shifting towards private and hybrid cloud will enable organisations to meet varied business requirements and workloads. With hybrid cloud, they can enjoy gains in speed and efficiency, where certain workloads are kept on-premise or in the private cloud, while public cloud is used for non-mission critical workloads.
Malaysia, as with the rest of world, has changed in the last few weeks. The measures we’re taking to push back against the COVID-19 are affecting the way we interact, live, work, and take care of our finances. A new chapter has begun featuring a sharp rise of digital technology adoption, which will help to illuminate a path forward for our businesses.
When pushed to the wall, most humans can unveil the best and the worst. Fortunately, the majority are united especially bridged by digital tools and services. We will all get through this together.
May 27, 2021
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Powered by TM ONE α Edge is organized by Huawei in collaboration with Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and TusStar (Malaysia), The Huawei Spark Program competition was launched in November 2020. This hybrid accelerator program hopes to supercharge startup growth within the deep-tech segment by providing crucial resources and business development opportunities. The winners will receive access to TM ONE α Edge cloud platform, business matching opportunities, networking sessions, and one-on-one mentoring from industry experts.
Through this competition, TM ONE hopes to help start-ups build greater capabilities with cloud technology in helping them achieve business resiliency and scalability. We aim to increase cloud adoption by startups, which currently contributes to 26% of the Malaysian cloud market according to GLG Consulting. As a fully integrated digital enabler, this event strongly supports our vision to further develop Malaysia into a digital-first nation.
In part one of our Tech Competition series, the stories below showcase the 10th to 4th place winners (excluding the top 3 winners) and the respective solutions that were pitched. The 10 winners were chosen among 140 entries that participated in the competition.
OrangeFIN, Providing Accessible and Sustainable Automation
OrangeFIN Asia equips companies with a highly accessible and sustainable approach to adopt Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Using software bots, RPA offers value by automating business processes based on specific sets of business logic. With its flagship product OrangeWorkforce, OrangeFIN allows companies to deploy these bots at a personalised level with specific solutions catered to the needs of their clients. Applications include accounting automation, sales process automation, regulatory reporting, and data quality assurance.
Driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI), their bots come equipped with a peer-monitoring ability that identifies glitches and acts by triggering self-recovery. Having this capability ensures that the bots are self-sustained and require minimal monitoring. The use of AI adds value by arming the bots with cognitive abilities to handle higher-order tasks.
In the banking sector, OrangeFIN has been successful for one of the top Malaysian banks in automating its Cheque Clearing Process to clear an average of 135,000 cheques every day. OrangeFIN is also a technology solution provider within UOB Jom Transform Program. It aims to digitalise local SME operations to increase productivity and revenue. Notably, its efforts also gained nationwide recognition, achieving the Malaysia Technology Excellence Award in 2020 within the Robotics and IT services segment.
SmartPeep, Improving Patient Care with Video Analytics
SmartPeep offers smart-care technology solutions to upgrade elderly patient care. Their founder, Lim Meng Hui developed these features after witnessing the injury of a family elder who fell and did not recover from the consequent trauma. Understanding the pain points of both the seniors and the caregivers, SmartPeep developed an AI-powered surveillance technology solution. Its mission is to assist caregivers in providing effective elderly care with AI.
The main product, SmartPeep AI Elderly-Sitter System, is a smart assistant for caregivers to detect and prevent potential accidents. For example, the system can detect a patient trying to get out of bed that may cause them to fall. It would then instantly alert the caregiver to attend to the patient proactively. Other situations include when patients are wandering around alone, away from the bed at odd hours, or in the toilet for an extended time. This offering significantly improves the caregivers’ ability to monitor patients and provide just-in-time assistance to prevent any accidents from occurring.
The SmartPee AI solution has shown to be effective, with adopters reporting over 50% reduction of in-patient falls and over 60% faster response time from nurses. The World Health Organization reported fall-related incidents as one of the major causes of premature death. Hence, SmartPeep is proving to be the crucial foresight for caregivers in preventing such incidents and ensuring the best care and safety for their elderly patients.
BookDoc, Connecting Patients to Digital Healthcare
Founded by two healthcare and e-commerce space leaders, BookDoc is a telehealth platform that aims to connect healthcare providers to patients conveniently. Its end-to-end telehealth solution comprises 40,000 healthcare professionals serving 900,000 users across five APAC countries. In collaboration with Google Maps, Uber, and Agoda, BookDoc is fortifying the medical tourism industry while proving to be a key technology enabler for local health programs.
Being a one-stop digital healthcare platform, BookDoc offers a range of services to reduce overall healthcare costs for consumers and corporates. The telemedicine ecosystem includes AI-integrated tele-consulting and chatbot services that allow patients to access healthcare remotely. BookDoc also offers next-gen healthcare services, such as IoT-integrated wellness programs, virtual clinics, a health-focused e-shop, and commercial data analytics. The Ministry of Health (MoH) onboarded the BookDoc telehealth platform as its official partner for healthcare initiatives. This collaboration sees them offering the latest updates on the virus whilst enabling on-demand COVID-19 tests and virtual consultation from government clinics. Alongside industry partners such as the Ministry of Education and Petronas, BookDoc achieved global recognition for its innovative healthcare solutions, including spots on the CNBC Upstart 100 List and the ASEAN Business Awards in 2019.
Fuhla, Finding Your Perfect App
The mobile applications market has seen rapid developments across many categories, and this abundance has created a choice overload for consumers. Consequently, this has negatively reduced the visibility of newer developments in the market. To tackle this problem, YouthsToday.com developed Fuhla, an app-experience-enrichment service provider that aims to empower technology-based companies with faster go-to-market abilities. This platform enables users to browse and discover new applications that currently lack visibility on the mainstream digital marketplaces. As an added value, it allows app advertisers to share marketing costs and reach a clear target market. Notable successes include applications such as Raiz and Touch N Go eWallet that were initially listed on Fuhla to build a foundational user community.
Fuhla uses deep learning AI capabilities to profile users in their app tester community served by a proprietary app recommendation algorithm. They collect multipoint behavioural and location data for their machine learning capabilities. To ensure top-level security over personal and financial data, Fuhla uses a secured server hosted by SWREG. Additionally, with data analytics functions built into dashboard report features, early app developers (those with less than 10,000 downloads) can access valuable insights and obtain direct UX feedback from the Fuhla community.
MSA, Meeting All Your Travel Companion Needs
Although it was in its nascent stage within the tourism industry, Fonebud IoT Berhad unveiled its Mobile Sharing Assistant (MSA) device at Consumer Electronics Show 2019. Developed as a perfect companion to business travellers, the MSA operates as a portable handheld WIFI hotspot with language translation and device-charging features, among others. MSA harnesses its unique sharing cross-border rental system. Its devices are available at retail outlets and vending machines to provide data to travellers across the Asian region. MSA helps travellers save costs and tackles concerns with foreign language communication and mobile device connectivity.
Being an integrated IoT device, the MSA uses eSIM technology and its extensive collaboration with telecom operators to offer international data roaming services. The hotspot feature supports 21 bands of 4G LTE in over 120 traveller-friendly countries, giving travelers on-the-go connectivity. Advanced AI and NMT (Neural Machine Translation) technology form the core to the state-of-the-art language translation feature. The MSA instantaneously recognises and translates conversational semantics in its unique push-to-talk dialogue feature. Additionally, this ‘Good Design Award’ winner also aims to revolutionise pocket travel guides, as it offers image translation abilities to help as an AI tour guide.
Boss Boleh, Digitalising Company Secretaries
Boss Boleh is a start-up that plans to disrupt the traditional company secretarial (CoSec) services landscape with a modern approach. Billy Lee, founder and CTO, developed the company after discovering the heavy secretarial expenses incurred by start-ups. Its solutions include affordable tiered packages and flexible on-demand secretarial services that cater to growing Malaysian companies.
Driven by cloud technology, Boss Boleh operates on a multi-tenant SaaS system design. The said multi-tenant design allows a wide range of integrated secretarial solutions (including advisory, tracking, and reporting) to be available on a single platform. Users have 24/7 access to statutory documents, cloud applications and storage, digital signature verification, and startup mentorship. With its end-to-end solution, Boss Boleh intends to replace in-house company secretaries, which will significantly reduce secretarial costs and compliance complexities for small companies.
Its smart services use several key digitisation technologies – cloud architecture, workflow automation, AI-enabled chatbots, e-KYC for on boarding, RPA, and accounting integration, to meet the evolving regulatory requirements. As validation of its industry value and innovation, Boss Boleh has won multiple awards, including MyHACKATHON 2020 and was among the Top 10 in the ASEAN Start-ups competition in 2021.
Orpheus Capital, Simplifying SME Financing
As businesses continue to struggle during the pandemic, one of the key pain points is the need for adequate cash flow to continue operations. Orpheus Capital aims to support the underserved community within the SME segment by providing fully digital seamless financing solutions. Positioning itself as a fully digital Shariah-compliant supply chain financing company, it provides services ranging from invoice financing, contract financing, and payday financing.
Orpheus Capital has a purely digital application process for its financing solutions, done through its website. Customers only need to upload several invoice documents and are eligible to receive their funds within 48 hours. An advanced AI system runs the entire workflow, which includes a unique risk scoring system, automated debt collection and contract signing, as well as a tool for fraud mitigation. These technologies allow Orpheus Capital to differentiate itself by providing fast, simple, and secure financing solutions for SMEs.
Embracing deep technology to drive future growth
The average life span of an S&P 500 company has decreased from 60 years in the 1950s to under 20 years currently. This statistic indicates the disruptive nature of technology in shifting the nature of businesses. Hence, it is imperative for companies to understand the pivotal technologies that are driving these solutions. From large companies to small companies, the adoption of these technologies is key to building future-proof business models.
At TM ONE, we believe that providing strong infrastructure support for solution providers will help them scale their technology with speed and security. This support includes allowing companies to expand their business capacity with a reliable, cost-efficient IT infrastructure. Hence, with the support of TM ONE’s α Edge Cloud platform, we strive to work together towards crafting a more profound, digital future for Malaysia.
April 28, 2021
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Despite the enormous values Cloud brings to enterprises globally, it is undeniable that Cloud security has been the biggest barrier preventing technology teams from adopting Cloud at a rapid scale.
According to a recent survey by Cybersecurity Insiders, 75 per cent of respondents stated they were ‘very concerned’ or ‘extremely concerned’ about public Cloud security.
Their concerns are largely driven by data residency and security reasonings, as sensitive data will be stored off-shore due to the absence of local region. Data residency refers to where a business, industry body or government specifies that their data is stored in a geographical location of their choice, usually for regulatory or policy reasons. Data Sovereignty refers to the laws of the country in which the data is stored. Data residency and sovereignty are extremely important when considering Cloud services. Malaysian key/strategic data resides on Malaysian soil safeguarded by a national provider.
However, over recent years, cloud security is getting debunked. Many are now realising that perhaps Cloud, especially the public model, provides the best and most innovative security solution any enterprises can obtain. With such knowledge, the adoption of public Cloud has increased globally across legacy enterprises and this trend is forecasted to continue within the next 36-48 months.
By 2025, the digital economy will contribute 22.6% of the Malaysian Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In the recently announced MyDIGITAL Digital Economy Blueprint, the Prime Minister provided the assurance that “the Government will monitor the information security of data management to avoid any future cyber threats. He also mentioned that “cybersecurity and data security will be one of the main focus of the Government in realising the vision of a digitally technological nation. The data of the citizens will be managed based on the security policy provided by National Cyber Security Agency (NACSA) as the implementation agency”.
With reference to the previous article, Cloud can be divided into three (3) models – private, public and hybrid Cloud. Private Cloud stores data in a private environment exclusive to the enterprise and allows them to fully manage their Cloud security. Public Cloud, on the other hand, stores data in a shared environment, where enterprises surrender Cloud security management to the Cloud provider. Hybrid Cloud falls in between both models, allowing flexibility in storage and management.
Although private Cloud ensures data locality and sovereignty, there remain to be pitfalls from migrating data to this model. Three (3) of the key reasons are as follows:
Private Cloud is the most expensive model. The use of private Cloud requires enterprises to maintain a considerable budget for comparable personnel, administration and technology infrastructure on top of security. Often times, due to varying costs and a self-governance model, enterprises are able to only allocated a limited budget to secure their Cloud; denying their access to top-notch innovative solutions. Although private Cloud maintains the exclusivity for enterprises, it can result in poorer protection, as a result of higher cost with a limited budget which can be detrimental to the business.
The use of private Cloud is largely dependent on dedicated in-house resources to ensure frequent testing and maintenance. However, this can lead to inefficiency due to common roadblocks such as bandwidth issues, redundant testing or narrowed coverage and the need to have the right personnel with the right skills in place to keep up with evolving technology and cyber threats. As a result, the security of the Cloud is at risk despite a private infrastructure.
Although enterprises are given the option to outsource hardware and infrastructure in a private Cloud model, the biggest issue is the high reliance on a service provider. Private Cloud is a service delivery technique where enterprises are forced to continue with the same service provider, thus preventing them to migrate to another vendor. On the security front, it can be a challenge as options to improve Cloud security such as multi-Cloud adoption and new solutions integration become more rigid as enterprises would need to seek permission from the service provider and ensure compatibility of solution.
Contrary to private Cloud, public Cloud operates in a shared infrastructure model – which means data from various enterprises are stored in the same stack. However, it does not account for data being accessed by unauthorised personnel. In fact, it is quite the contrary. Public Cloud, though widely misconstrued as unsafe, offers one of the best security options to its users. Below are the key reasons:
In the public Cloud model, enterprises big and small pool together billions of dollars in security budgets for public Cloud providers to constantly discover and deliver best in class innovative solutions. Through this, enterprises’ data are well protected and secured by solutions that are often times beyond their range of affordability, if done in solitary.
Public Cloud providers’ top priority is to ensure data security. With that in mind, renowned global providers conduct round-the-clock surveillance on their hardware and software to ensure any malicious attempts is addressed and eliminated.
In Southeast Asia, talent crunch is the huge barrier barring enterprises from securing their Cloud. Most of these top security talents have an unspoken preference to build their career with leading public Cloud hyperscalers. This preference could be driven by the learning opportunities and global access public Cloud providers offer. Henceforth, new security solutions are constantly being created, further securing their Cloud technology.
How did Cloud gain negative sentiments? Unfortunately, due to notable incidents of cyberattacks and security breach in the region, it led to a sense of doubt in Cloud security amongst enterprises and governments. For instance, back in February 2021, Singtel, Singapore’s biggest telecom provider, reported a data breach resulting in 130,000 of customer data stolen by hackers.
However, security in Cloud, especially public, is often underestimated and misunderstood. Despite a data centre sharing model, leading global providers have made it a point to invest billions to secure the data of their customers with innovative automation. These providers often set a much higher bar than most enterprises when it comes to this. That said, the vulnerability to attacks sometimes lies in the migration to the Cloud process, which is managed by service partners, but it is not at the processing and storage end. A notable example is the cyber-attack on SingHealth, where IHIS was faulted for mishandling of the data causing security breaches. While on the Cloud itself, there are often limited security mishaps especially with mature providers. Therefore, Cloud security is more secure than many have perceived.
Cloud and cybersecurity must come hand in hand for any enterprises which are considering or in the midst of digital transformation.
The selection of partners and providers is important. Enterprises should value the service vendors who practice a rigorous protocol and invest in innovative security solutions. They should place security at the centre stage of their infrastructure, to ensure the same is delivered to the customers.
TM ONE, the enterprise and public sector business solutions arm of Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM) offers a comprehensive suite of solutions covering connectivity, Cloud, data centres and cybersecurity where TM ONE’s Cloud & Cybersecurity ecosystem is portrayed in the establishment of its Klang Valley Core Data Centre (KVDC) in Cyberjaya.
Meanwhile, TM ONE CYDEC Professional Services offers a complete set of cybersecurity posture assessment, consulting and advisory services that transform and enhances an organisation’s risk management capabilities by analysing and identifying the existing cyber risks in different environments (IT, OT, Cloud, IoT, etc.) and offers the solution to mitigate that risks, which best meets the customers’ needs.
A key factor that differentiates TM ONE’s full cloud capabilities delivered through TM ONE Cloud α from other Cloud services is the comprehensive offerings and multiple deployment models that align with its customer’s Cloud adoption strategy and business objectives. The innovative digital solutions are set to accelerate the digital transformation journey of our enterprise and public sector customers, and this perfectly fits our role as part of TM Group as the enabler of Digital Malaysia.
Find out how to build digital trust and cybersecurity resilience for Malaysian businesses operating in a digital ecosystem. Detect, protect and respond to your business cost-effectively, easily and flexibly. Click here to download the IDC Managed Security – Building Trust for Digital Business Success.
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Cloud solution has been a trending boardroom topic amongst leadership in Southeast Asia long before COVID-19. Now with business continuity and remote working become the agenda to survive the pandemic, many have accelerated their cloud adoption and migration strategy. These proactive approaches to transform digitally can be witnessed across legacy enterprises from manufacturing to logistics.
Southeast Asian Governments, Malaysia included, are shifting to a more favourable stance on cloud by amending national policies, creating frameworks and launching digital transformation (DX) initiatives. The Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint, MyDIGITAL, for instance, is Malaysia’s national response to drive digitalisation amongst businesses and government agencies while bridging the digital divide across the country. To realise this ambition, in the first phase of the blueprint (2021-2022), the Government aims to move towards a paperless environment and migrate 80% of public data to hybrid Cloud systems by the end of 2022, but why?
Although Cloud is well spoken of, the concept of how it is imperative to digital transformation remains vague to many. Hence, to understand its synonymity, it is important to debunk the technology.
Foremost, the technology can be differentiated into three (3) models:
Top three (3) advantages:
Top three (3) advantages:
Top three (3) advantages:
Within each model, Cloud is further defined by its service types with differing level of responsibilities between the user and service providers.
Unlike traditional infrastructure, the flexibility, accessibility and scalability of Cloud prepare enterprises and governments to stand resilient against any given circumstances and allow them to act quickly to ensure competitive advantage in the market.
Cloud in action – how Cloud is used in Southeast Asia?
All enterprises, across industries and sizes, experience data loss caused by unintentional events such as system failures and natural disasters. While there are methods to prevent data-loss events, the most effective data-protection method is having an enterprise-wide backup solution.
However, with the exponential growth of data worldwide, backup solutions are required to be comprehensive. Traditional backup methods such as tape libraries are unable to quickly scale to this growth and maintaining them can be extremely cost-intensive.
Thus, a growing number of organisations are moving on-premises backup capabilities to the Cloud in order to accommodate this data growth. Some of the benefits include:
In today’s data-driven environment, enterprises are required to overcome data silo challenges and find efficient and innovative ways to uncover hidden insights within their data to remain competitive. However, to build constantly evolving capabilities in-house is no easy task, hence leading digital companies e.g. Netflix, or regional favourites e.g. Grab, look towards Cloud providers and their partners for such solutions. They provide real-time analytics, big data processing and more which enable enterprises to streamline its business intelligence process of gathering, integrating and presenting insights to enhance business decision making.
What are the values for enterprises?
In Southeast Asia, more and more enterprises are using Cloud for innovation projects. Those that do not look lean on Cloud for R&D, seem to lack behind their counterparts who do. This is simply because upfront technology investment into on-premise infrastructure is heavy and procurement periods are long, barring them from constant innovation to address consumer needs. On the contrary, Cloud is readily available, can be scaled down or up, and is armed with various tools and software to support innovation. Thus in terms of cost, timeframe and manpower, Cloud is an indisputable option for R&D.
Cloud optimisation demands for partners
One of the biggest challenges for Cloud adoption in Southeast Asia remains to be the talent crunch. This challenge is extremely prevalent in Indonesia as they house only about 75,000 IT engineers in the country, while they require at least 10x the number to fully sustain a digital economy.
Furthermore, digital talent often aims to work in digital companies, which impedes the digital journey of legacy enterprises. Hence, Cloud service providers play a vital role in the region as they have the people, experience and capability and they provide end-to-end support to ensure true Cloud optimisation.
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Every major service sector is under pressure to adapt to the current circumstances, and the education sector is no exception. Significant adjustments were needed across educational institutions to move onto the reality of having minimal face-to-face interaction. This case is especially true with the tertiary education sector, which has to provide its services across international borders.
The restrictions imposed in 2020 on in-person classes resulted in a large-scale shift towards online-based classes. E-learning platforms existed long before the pandemic; however, recently, these platforms took centre stage in delivering educational content. Consequently, it resulted in an upsurge in virtual classrooms, as well as a suite of remote services, including teaching, workshops and examinations.
These options provide support for students disrupted by the closure of universities. However, these e-learning platforms require a scalable yet flexible and reliable IT infrastructure. Hence, this situation requires institutions to re-evaluate the said infrastructure to manage the demands of their staff and students.
Here, we share some success stories from the education institues that have embraced digital transformation as an opportunity to bring better learning experiences for its students.
Universiti Sultan Azlan Shah (USAS), adapting to circumstances
USAS was granted full university status on 15 June 2016. The institution offers a variety of courses from foundational studies to PhDs. Its campus, located at Bukit Chandan, Kuala Kangsar,was completed in 2008. USAS currently offers 47 courses in Islamic Studies and multiple subjects under Management and Information Technology. Currently, USAS has the support of 198 lecturers and serves nearly 5600 students.While it still has traditional systems in place, USAS is a key example on how educational institutions can adapt to changing circumstances. The upgrades implemented by the university enables effective online leaning for students and lecturers too.
Breaking free from traditional systems and their limitations
To manage the demand for remote learning, USAS transformed to a cloud-based IT infrastructure from a traditional on-premise setting. The former on-premise system required high amounts of capital investments, labour, and maintenance. For example, on-premise systems typically require higher investments in hardware,including logistics and setup processes. During the lockdown periods, the response time to scale was severely affected by supply chain disruptions. Moreover, in terms of maintenance, IT teams must be on-site to respond to any system glitches encountered.
Such limitations often result in higher costs to support the IT infrastructure. These experiences limit the ability of USAS to scale efficiently and match the demand for remote learning. Due to these limitations, USAS considered engaging TM ONE to adopt a cloud-based learning management system.
“The decision to engage TM ONE was due to its capabilities of providing end-to-end technological solutions inclusive of connectivity, cloud services and cybersecurity, catered specifically for the education sector,” said a USAS C-Level representative.
Reaping the benefits from cloud migration
The success of cloud and its effects on universities’ performance is spoken of widely in the education industry globally.The surge of users using online platforms, which posed a scalability challenge with on-premise servers, was addressed with cloud solutions. Using cloud platforms, educational institutions can scale depending on the activity and user base in a cost-efficient manner.
In this very manner, USAS could efficiently scale up or down based on its usage. This ability allowed USAS to tap into the readily available capacity from TM ONE on a scalable pay-as-you-go basis. USAS reported that it could have 800 students sit for exam sessions concurrently on the renewed cloud-based system, compared to 200 students on the legacy platform.
Other than scalability, USAS was also able to capture significant cost-saving benefits by migrating onto cloud platforms. For example, leveraging cloud technology allows USAS to have lower hardware dependency. Therefore, USAS can focus more on operational expenses, resulting in higher flexibility on its expenses. Unlike on-premise systems where universities were responsible for upgrades and maintenance – cloud-based systems are primarily managed by the cloud provider. This shift in responsibility significantly reduces the financial burden on universities to manage their data storage systems and infrastructures.
These benefits also extend to the IT department, which can now focus on higher-value services rather than on maintenance work. Moreover, the IT Department has the added advantage of being able to conduct support work online safely. As a result, the IT team of USAS noted improvements in their Mean Time to Restore (MTR). In the case of upgrades, the USAS IT team can activate upgrades within 48-hours, allowing them to increase efficiency and reduce costs.
Improving user experience for both students and staff
Ultimately, these benefits aims towards enhancing the services for students and lecturers. By leveraging the power of the cloud, USAS can now provide higher-quality content to its students. This leverage is crucial to compensate for the difficulties faced by lecturers due to the loss of physical interaction.
Feedback from the students noted that the performances of past on-premise servers made it difficult for them to learn through digital platforms. The students claimed that they were affected by long loading times and lags. The alternative at that point was to use the platform during off-peak periods, which was inconvenient.
The scalability, efficiency and performance of the cloud provide the robust infrastructure for a conducive learning environment. For example, during crucial exam periods, the cloud reduces system glitches by providing the needed scale. Students can now enjoy a smoother delivery of classes and have real-time responses with their lecturers, leading to an augmented learning experience.
Local counterpart leveraging cloud beyond the classroom
Apart from delivering in-classroom benefits, education institutions are also able to utilise the cloud to enhance customer servicing. A local counterpart, Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP), teamed up with TM ONE in 2018 by adopting a Unified Customer Service (UCS) powered by cloud. The service provided has a consumption-based business model to manage customer interactions for customer experience.
This solution offers an effective way of managing customers by having a one-stop-centre approach. Post-adoption, UTP had expanded its contact centre services from 5 departments in 2018 to 25 departments in 2020. TM assisted UTP by handling more than 1000 interactions monthly, achieving an average of 95% in performance levels. Along with other improvements, these efforts were recognised regionally, with UTP awarded the CXP Best Customer Experience Award in 2020.
The success UTP experienced with the power of cloud technology is not foreign to their peers. UTP was amongst the first educational institution in Malaysia to drive a cloud transformation strategy. After signing a three-year MOU with Microsoft back in 2017, UTP has been a transformative player by integrating tools such as Azure, Power BI, and Machine Learning to future-proof its students and staff. These initiatives were part of a wider goal of improving its capabilities for its educational services and drive operational efficiency.
Learning from global leaders in the education industry
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, leading universities are using this period as an opportunity to further drive the adoption of cloud services. For example, The London School of Economics (LSE) followed through with complementary changes to streamline its financial and business management systems. By engaging with a technology partner, LSE now uses a cloud SaaS solution to manage its finances, budgeting and procurements. This enhancement frees up the staff to focus on providing higher levels of service to their students.
On the other hand, Standford University (SU) shows that adequate training must supplement cloud adoption strategies. Observing its cloud transformation journey, the university made clear communication plans to prepare its staff for the upcoming changes. SU deployed several training programs and communication channels to prepare its staff technically in handling the changes. These steps are crucial to provide confidence for lecturers and supporting staff to embrace the cloud’s capabilities.
As cloud technology continues to grow into a necessity in the education sector, adopters need to have the right information and expertise. Whilst the benefits are clear, misconfigurations can often lead to cybersecurity concerns. Hence,a technology partner is often regarded as a preferred option for institutions to integrate cloud-based solutions. Similar to USAS and UTP, cloud services work best with collaboration. This way, institutions can rest at ease knowing that their cloud strategy is backed by reputable expertise, bringing the full potential of the cloud to the forefront.
Digital transformation is not a one-off event or isolated effort. It is an ongoing journey that needs a strong management team and partnerships with a multitude of industry participants to realise its far-reaching benefits.
TM ONE CEO Ahmad Taufek said, “Our role as the enabler Digital Malaysia, we have the capabilities to fully support the enterprise sector. From an infrastructure standpoint, a one-stop centre with our network, software and platform and most importantly full data sovereignty."
“The rapid adoption of technology has brought about new challenges to our business. Pos Malaysia knew it must adapt to digitalisation to remain relevant in the industry and to support the changing trend in customer behaviour, from physically going to retail stores to buying goods online,” said Group Chief Executive Officer, Syed Md Najib.
Digital transformation impacted business operations in many organizations. It has changed the customer experience landscape, replacing traditional processes with automation.
TM ONE CYDEC helps Malaysian enterprises and public sector institutions build digital trust and cybersecurity resilience. This is done by managing the five key areas of risk — cybersecurity, compliance, privacy, ethics and social responsibility.
The accelerated speed of business digital transformation comes with its accompanying cybersecurity risk and vulnerabilities. It is the responsibility of organisations to protect and safeguard their business, customer data and brand reputation from cyberthreats and cybercriminals.
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