Saturday, June 22, 2024

AWS touts success stories in PH, revs up infra and educ programs

With cloud computing starting to take hold in the Philippines, tech powerhouse Amazon Web Services (AWS) is expanding its programs and presence in the country even as it highlighted the success stories of some of its biggest local clients at its recent flagship event.

Photo shows AWS Asean regional executives Conor McNamara (left) and Eric Conrad during a chat session with members of the Asean media at Re:Invent 2022 in Las Vegas

At the “Re:Invent 2022” user conference held in Las Vegas from Nov. 28 to Dec. 2, top AWS executives underscored the accomplishments of e-wallet firm GCash, digitally-inclined lender UnionBank, and the Chinese General Hospital while using the AWS platform.

Conor McNamara, managing director for Asean at AWS, said during a chat session with members of the media delegation from Southeast Asia that GCash rapidly scaled up its user base by taking advantage of the elastic nature of cloud solutions from AWS.

“As a result, GCash has attained double unicorn status, which startups with at least $2-billion valuation. It’s really one of the great stories to come out of this region,” said McNamara.

UnionBank, he said, has been able to acquire new customers and win awards for the digital innovations it has introduced after putting its core banking solutions on the cloud.

McNamara said the financial sector has seen huge momentum over the last number of years with new digital banking licenses being granted across Southeast Asia, including the Philippines.

“One of the reasons I think we’ve seen customers overwhelmingly choose AWS for digital banking is not only that we have the most resilient cloud, or the strongest partnerships with the organizations but also that we have a team of people that helped customers start from an idea to building a production-ready, regulatory compliant, scalable solution in the cloud,” he said.

“Our customers picking AWS to run [their] mission-critical workloads has been a big theme and [this is] something we continue to see as a core part of our strategy going forward,” added McNamara. “There isn’t an industry vertical or a customer of any size that isn’t touching the cloud.”

The Chinese General Hospital, on the other hand, has moved all of its operational systems onto AWS, resulting in a significant improvement in employee productivity and delivery to its end-users, shortening their processing time for checkout from hours to minutes.

Eric Conrad, Asean regional managing director for worldwide public sector at AWS, said the Covid-19 pandemic has greatly accelerated the digital transformation of companies like the Manila-based Chinese General Hospital.

“We see a continued emphasis of public sector customers who have experienced the power of working with AWS cloud through the agility, the speed, the flexibility, and the security in pursuing their mission,” Conrad said.

The cloud revolution currently happening in the country has not only benefitted business organizations but also the local workforce which has found job opportunities in this new work environment, according to the AWS executive.

“A good example of this is Filipino graduate Eric Relleve who made the pivot to tech after finishing AWS re/Start. He’s now working in IT with Fujitsu in the Philippines as a cloud engineer. Eric was unemployed and said the program ‘did a 180-degree turn’ for his career and life. He’s one of the many success stories that we’ve seen,” Conrad revealed.  

The re/Start program is a free 12-week program aimed at helping unemployed and underemployed individuals with little tech experience, build cloud computing skills, and get connected with employers.

“It is focused on connecting skilled individuals with jobs. In the past year, we’ve launched AWS re/Start in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam,” the executive shared.

The increasing demand for cloud-focused professionals has also pushed AWS to conduct trainings across region to shore up manpower. So far, AWS has trained a total of 700,000 professionals in the Asean region since 2017, according the McNamara.

Citing research from AlphaBeta, the AWS executive said there will still be need for 86 million more technology workers to support the growth in Southeast Asia.

“And three of the top five skills mentioned are cloud-related skills, migration, cybersecurity, and I think application development. So yeah, so it’s really exciting overall, in terms of the momentum that we’re seeing,” McNamara said.

For his part, Conrad said workforce skilling has become a major agenda for AWS as it has become a major factor “in realizing the ultimate outcomes that everyone is seeking.”

“And that’s why we’re working very closely with the governments of Asean to put in place not only the policies that help the government absorb and adopt cloud technologies and accelerate use of them, but also the infrastructure to stay abreast of the demands of the country,” Conrad said.

As part of its infrastructure expansion, the official said the “Local Zone” offering it recently announced or launched will play a major part in building up its presence in the region.

“Three of the AWS Local Zone offering we launched in 2022 for the Asia Pacific region is in Asean — in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand. This gives customers the ability to run single-digit millisecond latency workloads in the cloud,” Conrad said.

“Our commitment is to ensure that the infrastructure that’s needed to provide the services that our customers are requesting is there for them. That’s a major focus of us,” he said.

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