A simplified journey to ML Ops with AWS
Enhancing customer experience with value-added services is just one part of the journey for a telco company. The bigger challenge for them is how they can have the right systems to address these problems. While automating certain services can enable efficiency, the reality is, that building them is not as easy as it seems.
Thankfully, for telco giant Maxis, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been providing the right tools needed to build the right applications to address these concerns. Having signed a strategic collaboration agreement with AWS in 2019 for enterprise GTM partnership, Maxis is also the first telco to be on AWS Solution Provider Program and AWS Public Sector program.
According to Dean Samuels, Chief Technologists for ASEAN at AWS, the are four key machine learning use cases that Amazon focuses on. They are:
- enhancing the customer experience for businesses – enrich existing products to improve customer engagement and attract new users through deeper experiences
- enabling businesses to make faster and smarter decisions – make more informed, faster decisions to act on opportunities sooner and get better results
- improve business operations – create greater efficiency through sophisticated demand planning and forecasting models
- invent new products and services – use data to develop innovative ideas and bring new products to market
For machine learning in telcos, Samuels pointed out that there are also four key areas whereby AI and Machine Learning enable insight and innovation. They include areas in improving customer experience, smart cities, network operations, and automation as well as network security and fraud detection.
With Maxis looking to accelerate revenue growth for their base with better product recommendations, the telco worked with AWS ML Ops. An AWS ML Ops framework helps a business to have the right data in the right place so that time to experiment is shortened, speeding the path to business value. And this was exactly what Maxis needed. The Maxis AI team designed a state-of-the-art ML solution to achieve their business objectives.
As such, Maxis partnered with AWS Professional services through the AWS Well Architected Framework to dive deep into their challenges and align on the scope that delivers value. The entire process from ideation to production was completed in four months. The Maxis AI team is enabled to continue building and developing ML Ops features on the new platform and accelerate business outcomes through the innovative use of the AWS platform.
Through the joint effort, Maxis was able to see its fourth-quarter revenue increase as well as see its total TCO reduced to make a positive return on investment. At the same time, since the launch, Maxis’s functionality incrementally expanded to further enhance responsiveness to customer needs. Maxis team members enabled on the AWS platform are also able to develop and deploy Data Science use-cases with agility and speed.
With that said, Ng May Ching, Chief Information Officer, at Maxis shares her views with Tech Wire Asia on how the telco company is helping businesses with other key issues they are experiencing today.
How is Maxis dealing with the skills shortage when it comes to applying more technologies in its business?
Tech skills primarily across cloud, digital, AI/ML, and cybersecurity are some of the most sought-after skills globally, and they’re certainly has been a talent shortage in these areas for most tech-driven companies. Maxis addresses these talent shortages through an operating model of in-house technical expertise, for example, inhouse skills development programs across centers of excellence in Cloud Operation Innovation, Digital Development, Data, and AI, Cybersecurity, and Robotic Process Automation.
In addition, we have institutionalized capabilities in all areas of our business from engineering teams to business analysts, supported by curated learning and development programs for all levels. In addition, our investments in talent incubation include addressing these industry challenges by establishing key academic institutional partnerships with local and private Universities that focus on applied learning, internships, and young talent programs.
In fact, in 2020 Maxis launched three new scholarships to support the aspirations of bright and deserving young individuals as part of our commitment to building tech-savvy and forward-thinking leaders, and in 2021, we added technology-focused fields, including data science and IoT into our Graduate Program to equip the future workforce in Malaysia with critical skills.
These emerging technologies have become the focal point for IR4.0 and the digital economy. Our goal is to ensure a sustained incoming funnel of tech talents that are continuously nurtured through our own Maxis Academy learning programs that equip them with the necessary skills and enables the continued growth of our talent pool.
When speaking to customers, what are the biggest concerns they have? Is it in adopting new technology or managing them?
For business customers, we focus on providing business-ready solutions and simplifying the management of these solutions so that they can compete in post-covid business recovery and an increasingly digital world. Specifically, we have worked with SMEs for many years, and we understand their reservations towards digitalization as it may seem intimidating or complex. They may not be aware of the support that is available to them or have the capabilities or resources to embark on a more strategic digital transformation roadmap.
At Maxis, we believe it is critical for our customers to adopt digital transformation and digital solutions that support their long-term business priorities and prepare them for the digital future. That is why we encourage greater collaboration and innovative people-private-public partnerships that can advance their digital transformation agenda. With the flexibility of pay-per-use solutions and with many digital solutions now on the cloud, digital adoption no longer needs to be costly, and in the long run, presents even more cost efficiencies.
Over the past years, Maxis has partnered with global cloud technology leaders, enabling businesses to take up off-the-shelf solutions without the need to invest in expensive hardware or software.
5G will be a game changer. How is Maxis dealing with this especially with the network still not available to them?
Maxis is committed to realizing the country’s digital ambitions and believe in the benefits that 5G will bring to businesses, customers, and the government in strengthening Malaysia’s competitiveness in the region. 5G is like any other new technology and will be part of our commitment to helping Malaysians to be connected in every possible way, in all situations, at all times, for everyone, as part of our Always be Ahead purpose.
Maxis has long been ready to roll out 5G and we remain focused on serving the people and enterprises of Malaysia and playing a key role to support the digital ambitions of the nation. Maxis continues to engage with the government and key industry players on further details on the implementation of 5G.
Meanwhile, Maxis continues to amplify the benefits of 5G to consumers and businesses through our innovation and partnerships. We have been developing multi-industry use cases in areas such as Smart Manufacturing, Smart Surveillance, Smart Agriculture, Smart Education, and Smart Tracking solutions. We had earlier announced partnerships with major players for 5G services and solutions, deployment of major 5G use cases, and developing platforms for businesses to leverage 5G.
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