Cloud Can Help SMEs In Event of An IT Spending Slowdown

By Charles F. Moreira


Cloud-based services can help especially small to medium enterprises (SMEs) reduce their IT costs in event of a slowdown in IT spending, said Azizi A. Hadi, Telekom Malaysia (TM) executive vice-president, SME.

Bouchlaghem, Azizi and Zulkapli

A journalist had asked him about the possible effects on cloud adoption should a predicted worldwide slowdown in IT spending in 2013 come to pass, while TM launched its Office in a Box offering bundled with Microsoft Office 365 cloud applications at TM headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on 5 December.

What me worry!
“Cloud computing has been around for a while, though it’s very much fragmented into silos (such as web mail, social networks, mailing lists and others) mostly accessed by consumers, but now cloud services can help organisations increase productivity, reduce costs, enables greater interactivity and lets businesses have international reach if they want,” said Faycal Bouchlaghem, Microsoft Asia Pacific general manager – Operator Channels.

“SMEs don’t want to worry about managing their IT services but just want to get on with business which they know best, and they increasingly realise that they must be able to respond fast to business demands through their PCs, smartphones or tablet devices, which cloud enables,” he added.

He would not say how many Office 365 subscribers Microsoft has in Malaysia but Bouchlaghem  revealed that most subscribers worldwide are doctors, lawyers and many other professionals, plus small manufactures, hotels and many other verticals. He also urged the media to use it since it lets them access information anytime, anywhere on multiple devices.

Accessible through any web browser on any device running any operating system, Office 365 is platform-independent.

It provides users with interactivity tools such as Outlook e-mail and calendar, Lync unified communications such as instant messaging and video conferencing, popular Office Web Apps such as Word, Excel, One Note and PowerPoint,  collaboration and resource sharing of documents on the Team Site and access to Microsoft Skydrive through Microsoft SharePoint online and a website for companies to promote their products and services to the public.

The upcoming PC-based Microsoft Office 2013 software suite due early next year, includes access to Office 365.

“However, not all SMEs understand the value which cloud can provide them.”, said Bouchlaghem.

Telekom Malaysia subsidiary VADS became a Microsoft Syndication Partner which promotes the latter’s products as services such as Office 365.

And, Office in a Box
Telekom’s Office in a Box package, first launched in April 2010, provides businesses with broadband Internet connectivity, free voice calls, free WiFi access from any of Telekom’s over 25,000 hotspots and hotzones nationwide and access to Office 365 plus other value-added services.

What you get

The package includes a free WiFi modem-router, a cordless telephone a free WiFi ID. It’s currently available with speeds of 1Mbps, 2Mbps and 4Mbps for RM198, RM258 and RM268 per month, while the 8Mbps package at RM308 per month will be available soon. It’s mostly targeted at SMEs but is not limited to them and can be used by large enterprises too.

Telekom currently has over 106,000 Office in a Box subscribers and expects to add another 23,000 with Office 365 over the next 12 months. It currently has a total of 467,000 Unifi fibre broadband customers, including over 72,000 business customers plus a total of 1.6 million Streamyx DSL broadband customers.

While Telekom does not reveal its market share, Azizi estimates that 80% of SMEs are its customers.

Telekom’s partnerships are non-exclusive. However, it does not yet have partnerships on competing services such as Google Apps, though its subsidiary TM Info-Media which publishes the Yellow Pages, has partnered with Google to provide its Adwords online advertising services.

Meanwhile, VADS is moving beyond software as a service (SaaS) to also provide infrastructure as a service (IaaS) from its data centre. “We are also moving towards providing private cloud services,” said Zulkapli Mustafa, VADS vice-president for ICT Services.


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