Google Cloud Summit returns to Kuala Lumpur to showcase Google Cloud’s vision for Malaysia and the region over the next year. The focus was clearly still largely on digital transformation as the tech giant is looking to attract customers to look beyond its powerful analytics, AI and machine learning offerings to choosing Google Cloud as a platform to accelerate their digital transformation efforts.
Tim Synan, Google Cloud’s Regional Director for Southeast Asia, took to the stage during the morning opening keynote session to present three key elements of Google Cloud’s vision:
Firstly, to provide a global scale distributed infrastructure that’s reliable, safe and secure.
Secondly, to offer a platform for digital transformation where organisations are able to modernise their existing applications and build new customer experiences in a modern way.
And lastly, to build industry specific solutions (focusing on six main industries which will be mentioned below) that solve particular problems for those industries.
From Google’s perspective, Tim said, “Digital transformation is really about helping you work with your customers, build better products and services, improve your sales process, improve your customer service, and you do that with better partnering, better teaming and better collaboration across your entire network.” He then added, “It’s really around aligning your IT assets in order for you to have a richer and more responsive relationship with your customers in a more secure way.”
Although the topic of digital transformation has been around for many years and you’d think that it would feel stale by now, an interesting point that Tim mentioned during the post-keynote media session was that organisations in the ASEAN region are still largely risk-averse when it comes to embracing change.
As such, much of the keynote was also about how cloud allows companies to take the more modern (and perhaps daunting) “fail fast, learn fast” approach. Morten Bangsgaard, CTO of Maxis and Shen Tam, CTO of REA Group (which owns leading property websites in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and HK), were the guests of honour who shared how embracing this new way of working and embracing innovation (with Google Cloud, of course) has played out positively for their respective organisations.
To help customers build, deploy and manage applications in a modern way, Tim explained that Google Cloud offers broad capabilities for enterprise customers to drive digital transformation in the following areas:
Infrastructure: High scale, highly secured and reliable infrastructure, including cutting edge compute, storage and networking, through many regions around the world.
Platform: A digital transformation platform to manage data at scale, develop and modernise applications, understand and analyse data, collaborate with people and take advantage of new AI capabilities in meaningful ways.
Solutions: A suite of industry-specific solutions that deliver new digital capabilities across six verticals – Financial Services; Telecommunications, Media & Entertainment; Retail; Healthcare & Life Sciences; Manufacturing & Industrial; and the Public Sector.
In order to achieve these goals, Tim said, “Google has invested over $47 billion in capital expenditure in the last 4 years to build out our Google Cloud network. We have 20 Google Cloud regions, 61 availability zones, and we have the world’s largest fibre network. We continue to add to our infrastructure, and we have released over 130 product features to help improve security, how you develop software and products around data, analytics and machine learning.”
What’s also interesting was how technical the keynote was, with live demos of a few Google products – such as Cloud Run, Google’s serverless, managed compute platform that can automatically scales stateless containers – which would have surely appealed to the tech-savvy crowd.
Moreover, Anthos, Google’s integrated platform for deploying cloud applications in both public or on-premise environments which was announced back in April at the Cloud Next conference, was also heavily featured during the keynote, signifying Google’s commitment to openness and the “multi-cloud” idea. They went so far as to demonstrate how customers are able to actually run an application located in a “rival cloud” (that shan’t be named) right on Google’s own platform.
Tim mentioned that the take up of Anthos has been very good since its release, with banks, telecommunications companies and “unicorns” in Southeast Asia already at an advanced stage of prototyping with Anthos.
He further explained that Anthos is able to help enterprises overcome two major challenges. “One is talent. They don’t want to retrain everybody on a new platform and they need to leverage the existing technology access that they have. Secondly, to avoid this concept of being locked into a technology platform and not being able to move. Business moves rapidly regardless of the size of company you are and industry you’re in, and we recognise that,” he added.
Therefore, Anthos is a way of allowing organisations to write an application once and deploy it anywhere without making changes to the underlying code, providing a single pane of glass to manage that application operationally.
He concluded that Google fundamentally believes that “that is the future of cloud deployments. It’s going to be a multi-cloud world.”