IT has been more than a month since the widely anticipated Singles’ Day passed, but its success - evident in its phenomenal growth year-on-year - demonstrates the undeniably rapid acceleration of technology adoption worldwide, with the hero being the technology that underpins e-commerce platforms: cloud computing. Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group, is one such company at the forefront of cloud technology. Based on data of its 11.11 Global Shopping Festival 2020, Alibaba registered US$74.1bil (approximately RM300bil) in gross merchandise value during the 11-day campaign, an increase of 26% compared to the same timeframe in 2019. More than 800 million consumers participated the shopping gala. During the peak hours, 583,000 orders were made per second - a testament to the strength and elasticity of the proven technologies that anchors it, such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence. “There are a number of new technologies behind the scenes in place, which have truly been a game changer to the event and contributes to its success, ” said Alibaba Cloud Intelligence Malaysia general manager Jordy Cao during the Alibaba Cloud Malaysia Media Roundtable 2020, titled “Accelerating Digital Transformation through Intelligent Cloud”. These include the large deployment of cloud-native technology with container service, a new style of application development and business scaling to deliver the type of extreme scalability and efficiency that is required for the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. The second pillar is its hyper-scale data centres covering 22 regions, 67 availability zones and over 2,800 content delivery network nodes globally, which enables it to connect its customers and consumers onto the same platform, with extremely low latency and high quality cloud service. Next up is its intelligent robots, which have been deployed not only to its warehouses, but also data centres to boost efficiency, such as for changing discs. Livestreaming is another highlight. For example, AliExpress, Alibaba’s global retail marketplace, unveiled the world’s first real-time livestreaming translation feature powered by DAMO’s innovative speech model, supporting simultaneous translation from Chinese to English, Russian, Spanish and French. Over 70% of the AliExpress merchants leveraged this translation capability during 11.11 and 8 million global viewers watched over 9,000 livestreams on AliExpress during the festival. While the shift towards cloud computing began years ago, the Covid-19 pandemic has been a catalyst in bringing all its benefits to the fore and will continue to drive conversion to cloud-centric internet technology, according to the IDC. It accelerated the pace of digital transformation for small and large companies by enabling them to better optimise their business processes and improve customer experience, with more companies in the region utilising intelligent cloud services to redesign their operating models in the new normal. Moving forward, IDC forecasts in its Worldwide Whole Cloud Forecast 2020-2024 that the total worldwide spending on cloud services and related components and opportunities will exceed US$1tril (RM4.05tril) in 2024, while sustaining a 15.7% double-digit compound annual growth rate. As such, it comes as no surprise that Alibaba Cloud has seen exponential growth in its client base growth across a range of industries this year, especially with its localisation strategy to strengthen the ecosystem build-up with local partners. He shared, “Alibaba Cloud’s growing momentum in Malaysia demonstrates how cloud-based intelligent solutions can be successfully applied for digital transformation across industries. “Moving into 2021, we will enhance our collaboration with more independent software vendors to provide tailor made solutions to customers and put more resources on managed service partners to improve service quality continuously, including training to cultivate more digital talents for the local market.” As part of its local ecosystem build-up, Alibaba Cloud works with partners - distributors, managed service partners, channel partners and technology partners - through the Alibaba Cloud Partner Network. Alibaba Cloud’s capabilities in its field of expertise have become enablers for companies and other entities to aid them in their digital transformation journey, through the help of partners such as Revenue Monster. Revenue Monster, among the first in Malaysia to implement cloud infrastructure to comply with Bank Negara Malaysia’s requirements, leveraged Alibaba Cloud’s strengths to develop its own innovative fintech-as-a-service and financial cloud solutions. In addition, Alibaba Cloud has many other successful customer case studies, including for Touch ‘n Go e-wallet, Genting Malaysia, CIMB and PrestoMall among others. But cloud technology is not only for just the big players. It evens out the playing field for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to compete as well. Cao has this to say on advice to smaller companies: “For SMEs, the key focus shouldn’t be on IT infrastructure, because the company size is relatively small. So what they should do is put 120% of their focus, time and efforts on their main business, meaning that choosing cloud technology is the only choice.” Noting that many SMEs lack IT teams, he further said that SMEs should choose to work with a local partner that can help them to resolve a lot of IT issues.
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