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Ensuring innovation continues despite economic uncertainties

The cloud journey is built around innovation. As technology enables greater capabilities of the cloud, having a cloud smart journey is essential. However, many businesses continue to find themselves often struggling in their cloud journey. And this is where the cloud provider and technology partner plays an important role in ensuring the journey is not disrupted, for whatever reason.

During VMworld Explore 2022 in San Francisco, Tech Wire Asia caught up with Paul Simos, Vice President and Managing Director, SEAK, VMware, to get his views on how the company was working with its partners in Southeast Asia in providing their customers the service they needed.

According to Simos, while every market is as important, the Southeast Asian market is a rather interesting one when it comes to VMware. And part of this is because of the connection and relationship the company has built with its customers over the last few years.

For example, in Malaysia, the financial sector is driving innovation. For VMware, this provides them an opportunity to work with customers that have a very clear plan on how to innovate for their consumers. Simos explained that these organizations know how to take advantage of the latest technology stack, be it VMware Aria from a cloud operations management point of view or VMware Tanzu’s capability for application modernization and container management.

“There are really good things happening in the Malaysian market. The consumers are the ones that are driving the organizations to be right at the edge of that innovation in Malaysia,” said Simos.

At the same time, with digital banking a disruptor in financial services, Simos highlighted that for most financial services now, it’s all about improving the consumer digital experience. And it’s not just in Malaysia.

In fact, Simos pointed out that VMware’s Digital Frontiers survey indicated that Southeast Asia is leading the world when it comes to the ongoing use of technology to drive innovation post-COVID-19, from a consumer perspective. Also, it is not only the acceptance of digital innovation by the consumer, but also the willingness to change if customers don’t receive digital innovation from their providers.

“We know in Southeast Asia 49% of consumers will choose to move to a competitor if they don’t receive what they feel is the appropriate digital experience from their provider. This is what drives our enterprise customers to look at how to continuously innovate to make sure that their consumers are receiving the best possible digital experience when they interact versus having them print and sign and go into branches, etc. There’s a lot of innovation in that space,” stated Simos.

A simplified and secure journey to the cloud

Paul Simos, Vice President and Managing Director, SEAK, VMware

Interestingly, in Southeast Asia, Simos also highlighted that a lot of customers are looking to move into the cloud but in a regulated fashion. In Malaysia, VMware has partnered with Credence, a subsidiary of the TM Group to work on the nation’s sovereign cloud program.

The sovereign cloud program has been in existence across VMware globally, for a number of years, being quite strong in Europe, given the data privacy and government restrictions there.

“We’re now starting to see it come to the fore in Southeast Asia and, and Korea. With Credence, we go through a certification process with them. And we certify that their operation is a wholly contained sovereign cloud, which enables them to hit regulatory gates to take control workload into the cloud,” Simos explained.

Singapore, which is also working on their sovereign cloud with another tech vendor, is a great of the cloud maturity curve, Simon believes. Singapore continues to innovate and is now enabling customers around the region to observe and learn, and then accelerate their innovation into the cloud.

“Because we’re not necessarily having to go first on a lot of this innovation. And a lot of the offerings that we’ve announced and a lot of experience that our partners have in the region have been built on the understanding of what else has happened globally or within APJ. And that’ll help us get our customers faster to cloud smart,” added Simos.

The cost of innovation

While the cloud smart journey is key, the reality is innovation does come at a price. And while businesses in Southeast Asia want to innovate, the economic situation may not be a hindrance for some of them. Several currencies in the region continue to be impacted by the changes in the global economy.

Yet, despite this, Simos believes that VMware’s partners in its ecosystem have played a crucial role in ensuring that innovation is not disrupted.

“We have through, our partner ecosystem, work with our customers to help get through some of those challenges, whether it’s through a financing position, or what have you. We do see, but I wouldn’t say impact (on the current economic situation). I’d say we see extra cycles of conversation as a result of currency. It’s not just in Malaysia, where we have fluctuations in currency. Across Southeast Asia and the nascent markets, there are a number of currencies going through different states.

But ultimately, what we are seeing, as we’ve worked through with our customers on moving up the stack, is providing more of an outcome-driven stack and helping them really drive that innovation. Our teams have really gotten a lot more on the front foot by helping customers understand the value that the technology is delivering to their business. And while cost is a factor, it’s becoming more of a holistic view of a business case as to how do you make that investment versus a straight dollars and cents cost conversation.”

Simply put, VMware ensures there is enough donuts for everyone at the party, no matter when they arrive.