Cloud Comrade has unveiled plans to ramp up migration and managed services offerings in response to increasing demand across Southeast Asia, supported by new competency status through Amazon Web Services (AWS).
In operating as an AWS Partner Network (APN) specialist, the Singapore-based business is prioritising cloud migration at enterprise level through enhanced technical and advanced workload capabilities, supported by SAP expertise.
According to Andy Waroma - co-managing director of Cloud Comrade - the deepened focus comes as ASEAN-based customers increase reliance on external specialists to realise the potential of digital transformation.
“AWS is constantly coming with up new services,” he said. “We need to be able to show that we can keep up-to-date, change and evolve as AWS services rapidly introduces new services. Our customers are expecting us to make recommendations that are pertinent to their business, not just in the immediate future but for the next 12-18 months to safeguard IT investments."
Such end-user expectation has created a need for Cloud Comrade - acquired by ST Telemedia in January 2019 - to on-board consultants with expertise in cloud migration projects, in theory through technical certifications and in practice through previous customer implementations.
“We built this company around cloud migrations and cloud managed services,” Waroma recalled. “Six years later we still have the same focus although in completely different skills and scale.
“We want to have our core competencies validated by AWS designated third-party auditors to ensure that our processes are based on global standards that allow us to compete in the marketplace, not just here in Singapore but across ASEAN and beyond. I believe we have shown the ability to go toe-to-toe with any of the providers when it comes down to our skills and the AWS competencies are one way of validating it to ourselves and others.”
The value of technical competency is not lost on Waroma, with customers placing a premium on specialised expertise in an increasingly crowded ecosystem.
“It’s important for us to understand where we stand in regards to the rest of the market when we position and sell our services,” he acknowledged. “We want to have our processes validated by objective third-party auditors be it for things like ISO, HITRUST or AWS competencies.
“We like the fact that AWS puts the bar very high and it is uniform across the globe. We want to build a world-class cloud managed service provider [MSP] and while the most important thing for us is our customers' validation, a close second are these competencies that push us further and make us constantly improve on our execution."
Speaking exclusively to Channel Asia, Waroma observed that during a global pandemic - hampered further by financial and economic uncertainty - customers now have "even less margin for error" when selecting the right vendor.
“We can let our customers, certificates, awards and competencies speak about our past capability so that our future customers are able to put it in perspective in terms of what kind of quality they might be able to expect from us,” he explained. “I believe our competencies tell a story that we can be the right cloud migration and cloud MSP for them."
Backed with “extensive experience” helping businesses embrace AWS through all phases of complex migration projects - including discovery, planning, migration and operations - Cloud Comrade also goes to market as a SAP specialist, providing a complementary enterprise offering in the process.
“We have observed an acceleration of customers moving their SAP workloads to the cloud,” added Conor McNamara, managing director of ASEAN at AWS. “This has particularly been the case when they make strategic decisions to move all-in with AWS.
“Increased agility, flexibility, security and cost savings are the primary reasons for customers wanting to migrate their SAP workloads to AWS. With more than 5,000 SAP on AWS customers globally, we have defined what we think is a proven path for SAP migrations.”
A local case in point is BABA'S, a leading manufacturer of curry mixes and spice powders in Malaysia. Cloud Comrade helped the business shorten the time to process and deliver orders to customers by 50 per cent, while reducing the order-to-cash cycle by 40 per cent through migrating to AWS.
The provider also migrated BABA’s SAP Direct Store Delivery mobile app from an on-premises SAP S/4HANA ERP installation to the cloud via AWS within the space of six months.
"AWS has created a specific program - Migration Acceleration Program [MAP] for SAP - that offers a prescriptive framework and AWS investments to help customers migrate and modernise SAP workloads,” McNamara explained. “Customers typically progress through four key stages as they migrate SAP workloads to AWS: assess, mobilise, migrate and modernise.”
In assessing the local landscape, McNamara cited increased momentum for cloud migrations across “every imaginable industry, vertical and business segment”. Hence the introduction of AWS Migration Competency, designed to help customers modernise IT applications and migrate to the cloud.
“Cloud is the new normal for most enterprise CIOs,” said. “CIOs are looking for partners that have deep technical cloud expertise and industry knowledge. Customers in Southeast Asia are moving beyond experimenting with first workloads and asking us for help to move their entire businesses to the cloud.”
For example, Halodoc - a Jakarta based health-tech platform providing healthcare services across 30 cities in Indonesia - is now all-in on AWS. Meanwhile, SingaporeLife, is running its digital insurance platform and back-end office on AWS, leveraging infrastructure to accelerate time to market and enhance security to run a regulated workload via the cloud.
“Our ability to support customers on this journey is directly correlated with the breadth and depth of our local partner ecosystem, as well as our deep domain expertise in migrations, which makes this competency so important,” McNamara added.
“Customers may need guidance to ensure they’re connecting with the right AWS partners who have proven they have a strong AWS practice, have demonstrated customer success, and have documented technical proficiency throughout the different phases of migrations. The AWS Migration Competency helps customers identify the right partner to help them in their cloud journey.”
McNamara also accepted that customers in Southeast Asia have been leveraging the managed services model for “many years now”, but must now adapt existing models to include cloud solutions.
"AWS Managed Services [AMS] simplifies this journey for customers by enabling them to integrate an AWS optimised cloud operating model into their existing operations framework," he added.
"AMS has seen robust demand from customers, with partners playing a key role in delivering AMS as a part of their overall managed services framework. Partners provide value-added services like SAP Basis and application engineering on top of an AMS enabled secure and automated operating model."
Channel Asia Advance is a centralised editorial resource designed to help partners access forward-looking content as the ASEAN and Indian markets attempt to reposition for growth.