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Alibaba: Data Is the Biggest Driver for Enterprise Today

Alibaba has recently launched 9 new products in the enterprise space, to support in various stages of digital transformation. We spoke with Dr. Derek Wang, Chief Cloud Architect, Alibaba Cloud International, on the strategies, the differentiators and his opinion of Indian enterprise’s state of profitable adoption of the cloud.

What role does cloud play in digital transformation?

Dr. Derek Wang, Chief Cloud Architect, Alibaba Cloud International

We are in the era of data technology, which means we must use more data for better customer insights. So, enterprises must have the abilities to use data technologies. From the C suite to the technology team, it is very important that everyone drives it. Otherwise, they will not have insight into the value it brings to the table. Secondly, we must learn from the best practices in the industry. We should know the pain points of the current scenario, future targets, and how we can fix the gap. We could learn how the leaders have done it by doing research and getting help from organisations such as Alibaba Cloud. However, we cannot copy a successful model. We must customize the technology model for ourselves. We need to adopt some new additional technologies because emerging technologies can help with latest innovations such as IoT, Big Data and AI.

What is Alibaba’s Go to Market strategy for these products?

We now have nine new products in the market which have been customized to suit the needs of our customers. Globally, we have solution partners who are training and educating the users in the strengths and applicability of the products. They will take these products into the market and expand our reach.

What trends do you see in cloud adoption globally?

‘More Than Just Cloud’ is the slogan we believe in at Alibaba.  Our enterprise customers face challenges during cloud adoption. Since this a major change, they are receptive to engage with it. But we are entering the Industry 4.0 era where they need to upgrade their infrastructure to leverage AI, Big Data and Machine Learning. Omni channel business is the latest trend, especially in specific sectors like retail. To realize the full potential of digital transformation, you need all these technologies and not just the cloud. We need to now look beyond.

What’s the kind of R&D investments that Alibaba is doing?

Alibaba is a technology company. The average age of our employees is 28 and almost 80% of our staff are engineers. We invest a lot in scientists and have on board with us, experts in data sciences and quantum computing fields. We also choose talent from top global universities. We develop products after understanding the requirements of our customers. In fact, we encourage our people to go to customer sites and learn and then develop products. Also, all our business units have access to the R&D resources of the Alibaba Group.

What is your global competition like?

Globally, we are placed third and boast of various differentiators that work to our advantage. In Asia Pacific, we have the most exclusive data centers in India, Japan, and Indonesia. We are also more localized as compared to the other providers. We are an Asian company and hence Asia is our strongest playing field. We have also introduced several new products customized for the Asian market. We have local teams in all countries in South East Asia and strong collaborations with universities in order to leverage the best technology talent. We also offer sector specific solutions. Our biggest strength is that, in Asia we are big and growing.

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