MFEC is increasing efforts to help customers adjust to new business realities in Thailand through increased reliance on Cisco Webex, both internally and externally.
Central to such efforts has been an internal roll-out of the collaboration suite, in addition to end-user deployments following heightened in-market demand.
The move comes amid rising economic challenges across the country, with the Thai government recently unveiling plans to keep the nation under a state of emergency until 31 July.
Currently ranked as the “worst-hit” in Southeast Asia - with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasting a 6.5 per cent contraction this year - Thailand is expected to take two years to resume pre-Covid growth levels, as the kingdom grapples with rising poverty levels.
After becoming the first country outside of China to report a case of coronavirus on January 13, total number of confirmed cases currently stands at over 3000, with more than 50 deaths.
“Since January, many businesses in Thailand have been affected by the Covid-19 situation,” observed Somsak Chonpathomphikullert, network director of MFEC. “As Covid-19 spread across Asia, Thailand was part of the first group of countries that reported some infections and impact from the virus.”
Following urgent measures from the government with regards to contact tracing those infected, social distancing measures were supported by a nationwide curfew, which came into action during early April.
“With the sudden announcements, many citizens and companies were directly affected and unprepared for social distancing,” added Chonpathomphikullert, when speaking exclusively to Channel Asia. “This caused many customers to delay projects or extend the expected completion date.
“Our customers in almost all segments chose to delay projects or in some cases, strategically reinvest in projects meant for digital transformation to specifically combat the impact of Covid-19 in Thailand, which resulted in some IT investments being delayed indefinitely.”
Turning to Webex
Listed on the Thailand Stock Exchange, MFEC goes to market as a Cisco specialist with expertise across cloud, security, networking and system infrastructure technologies, in addition to Meraki, Duo and Umbrella capabilities.
Despite the evident downturn however, Chonpathomphikullert acknowledged that pockets of opportunity have emerged through businesses leveraging Cisco collaboration technologies, namely Webex.
“Webex has seen a much higher interest and demand from existing and new customers,” he said. “Work from home is what everyone is talking about and because of the market demand, we are seeing two main requirements from customers. These are for collaboration anywhere via Webex and secure remote worker with AnyConnect, Duo and Umbrella.
“We have also added an online marketing and event channel, this includes digital collateral that relates to these solutions to primarily help customers impacted by Covid-19. This is in collaboration with Cisco Thailand and the Cisco product team to help meet our requirements."
As explained by Chonpathomphikullert, Webex has also been a driving force for MFEC’s major internal meetings and large-scale conferences, such as the annual general meeting (AGM) of shareholders.
“We have been maintaining good cooperate governance by organising our AGM yearly,” he said. “Due to the spread of Covid-19, Webex was considered as our tool for holding a virtual AGM with the aim of building trust among our shareholders and to raise awareness of how we are transforming the organisation to respond to the 'new normal'.
“We were the first company that brought the Webex Event Center to life and made it work perfectly for our virtual AGM meeting, allowing shareholders to easily access the meeting with a high level of security. Unexpectedly, we have been receiving great feedback which pushed us even harder to bring this success to market. Therefore, we have now launched this service to support our clients in Thailand.”
According to Budi Santoso - head of ASEAN Partner Organisation at Cisco - MFEC ranks as one of the vendor's "more innovative" partners not just in Thailand, but across the wider Southeast Asia region.
"The speed at which they strategically pivoted their large in-person internal meetings and conferences to secure virtual settings with Cisco Webex, is a best practice that other companies in Thailand who have been affected by the impact of Covid-19 to adjust to secure remote working,” he added.
“This is just one of the many powerful stories of how we’ve supported business during this trying period and it is innovation like that make me proud to lead our ASEAN partner ecosystem.”