The world of information and communications technology is changing rapidly due to advancing technologies, increased competition and growing demands from customers. Thus, in order to thrive in the new landscape, ICT providers are being forced to adjust their offerings and business scope.
This was the situation faced by Internet Thailand Public Company Limited (INET) leading up to 2013. As one of Thailand's leading providers of ICT infrastructure services, INET realized it needed to adapt to keep up with the changing times. This involved refocusing some of its business offerings, investing in expanding its own infrastructure in order to improve its services, and strengthening partnerships that would help it reach its goals.
New offerings to meet the demands from customers
Key to INET's strategy was focusing on providing Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings. With this service, INET provides IT infrastructure for companies for a fee based on either a fixed timeframe or overall usage. Because INET handles the maintenance of the IT environment and bears the cost of equipment purchasing and upkeep, customers can achieve strong savings when compared with investing in their own network infrastructure. It is estimated that laaS can reduce overall IT costs by more than 70% within 3 to 5 years, without ever sacrificing service quality.
Also, IaaS helps companies keep their IT networks agile and easily scalable, with increased budget flexibility and the ability to request additional bandwidth for certain time periods.
“INET can provide its services within one day while in-houses systems require procurement time of no less than three months, and the labor costs to operate the system, causing some companies to miss opportunities" said Valchai Vejcheewadamrong, INET's deputy managing Director.
" For example, if customers want to watch live Euro soccer matches, companies can rent extra bandwidth during the period. After the event, they can return the bandwidth and pay the same service rate as before.”
INET also adjusted its overall business strategy in response to other business and consumer developments that required increased storage and networking capacity.
First, companies and governmental bodies were growing more interested in "Big Data," or the ability to capture the growing amounts of everyday data and analyze the results to look for new solutions or spot inefficiencies.
Also, the amount of smartphone usage is skyrocketing in Thailand. Increased mobile usage by customers results in a growing demand for more storage and bandwidth for content producers such as apps, e-commerce and mobile games. With the introduction of 3G and 4G networks in the near future, the demand for mobile content will increase, but the distribution will only be successful if administered from a data center with a large and stable network connection that INET can provide.
Finally, with political problems, social disturbances and natural disasters a seemingly permanent part of life in Thailand, companies are increasingly demanding disaster recovery services as part of their overall business continuity plan. With this service, companies can be assured that they will never experience downtime if their on-site or off-site operations are disturbed.
IDC expansions anticipating future growth
The meet the technical demands of these new business strategies, INET invested in expanding its Internet Data Centers. Located at Thai Summit Tower and Bangkok Thai Tower, the IDCs now cover a larger area of about 2,000 square meters.
Following the renovation, the IDC at Bangkok Thai Tower was fully operated with clean and green technologies according to ISO 14644 standards. It featured an internal security control system with centerline management from 3-D display, and international operating standards based on Business Continuity Planning. New electrical cables were installed that featured insulation that could survive for up to four hours in case of fire. Also, the data center included new technology that protected against dust and corrosion. The two IDCs provide a MetroLAN connection to 83 building throughout Bangkok, making it easier for customers to access high speed internet and for businesses in the INET-IDC network to operate smoothly.
In addition, the new set-up included a secure connection between the two centers so that data from both could be simultaneously backed up at the other's location. This way, INET could provide uninterrupted service to customers even if disturbances in Bangkok were to occur.
The company is now looking into the possibility of building an additional data center to meet the growing demand for cloud computing. This plan is still being assessed and a decision is expected by the middle of this year.
Through the superior IT infrastructure consisting of large IDCs and backup centers, INET's customers are able to expand their markets without worrying about IT infrastructural problems, according to Mr. Valchai.
“Facebook has a very stable IT infrastructure, so it can support the fast-growing usage from customers around the world without a system collapse,” Vallchai said.
Stronger partnerships for a better business approach
Alliances with service providers, and hardware and software vendors and is another key part of INET's overall strategy.
“We have a variety of business alliances, from platform development to software development companies," Mr. Valchai said. "They have the same vision – running business to develop and increase the country’s competitiveness. Their services provide development solutions such as cost reduction and efficiency increase based on business styles and profits. At the same time, their businesses are run under the principles of good governance."
To complete the renovation of its data centers, INET partnered with Netapp, Cisco (for the IT network) and HP (for the IT infrastructure) to ensure that its IDCs were modernized, up-to-standard and secure. Through the help of these partners and the push for improved internal operations, the Bangkok Thai Tower facility was awarded ISO/IEC 27001: 2005 certification for information security, making INET the first Cloud Service Provider in Thailand to receive the certification.
Partner with Netka
As one of INET's main shareholders, Thailand's National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) must approve INET's alliance partners to ensure the highest levels of quality are maintained. Netka is one such partner, as it was selected for NSTDA's incubation program in 2011. INET's large-scale operating network is managed via Netka's NetkaView Network Manager solution. Using NNM, INET is able to monitor every aspect of its network operation and fix problems quickly so that none of its customer's business operations are disturbed. With INET being one of the largest ICT service providers in the country, this partnership demonstrates the massive technical capacity and scalability of the NNM system, as well as the trust placed in the NNM software by INET.
Envisioning national development and increased competitiveness
INET was founded in 1996 by Professor Dr. Pairat Tachayapong with the intention to make internet service in Thailand competitive compared with other countries in the region, such as Singapore and Malaysia. The company was later transformed from a governmental agency to a state enterprise in order to provide higher service levels. INET has since achieved great success and accolades, including the recent Thailand Data Center Services Vender of the Year award in 2013 by business consulting firm Frost & Sullivan. This illustrates the stability of its large-scale infrastructure, as well as the high levels of confidence on the part its business alliances and customers.
Mr. Valchai said INET believed that the survival of Thai enterprises depended upon good management, including the choices of its IT infrastructure service provider. Whether it's cloud computing for small to medium enterprises or full infrastructure hosting for large corporations, INET hopes to play its part in moving Thailand's business landscape into the future.