When it comes to digitalization, SMEs are ready for change
By Kang Ning, President Huawei Global Cloud Ecosystems
Gavin Allen: Do you think that the more digitized a company becomes, the better?
Kang Ning: Digitalization is the right direction for all organizations, big or small. I think everyone agrees with that.
But digitalization has unique value to SMEs, which may lack sufficient technology, manpower, and capital investment. Through a global network of digital infrastructure, SMEs can efficiently carry out international business. Through technologies and services, they can keep pace with emerging technologies such as AI. All this is in line with HUAWEI CLOUD’s “everything as a service” mentality.
Gavin Allen: Some SMEs are cautious. There's budget constraints and resource limitation. How do you encourage them to embrace it?
Kang Ning: Digitalization could help SMEs run more efficiently and resiliently. For instance, SMEs can leverage digital services to improve R&D processes, customer relationship management, and employee experience. They could concentrate their resources on business growth and innovation, avoiding reinventing wheels. Digitalization also enables SMEs to better predict risks, make data-driven business decisions, and allocate resources with higher confidence.
Aiming to accelerate digitalization of SMEs, Huawei Cloud has built more than 160 Empowerment Cloud Innovation Centers across China in collaboration with our ecosystem partners. SMEs could benefit from Huawei's decades of experience and best practices and enjoy tailored pricing plans to manage their costs. What’s more, we partner with selected SMEs to co-develop digitalization solutions for the local industries. I've seen many cases of SMEs getting direct support in R&D, go-to-market, and global expansion from those innovation centers.
Gavin Allen: How else does HUAWEI CLOUD support and encourage SME digitalization?
Kang Ning: First of all, I think SME digitalization is a critical part of our whole cloud business. No matter how hard Huawei Cloud tries, it cannot meet all the requirements of customers. We have to work with our many ecosystem partners to jointly fulfill the market’s needs. SMEs normally are focused on local markets and well understand the local needs. Many tech startups could become the ecosystem partners of HUAWEI CLOUD and work with HUAWEI CLOUD to serve more customers. We invest various kinds of resources, supporting them to be technically more compatible and commercially scalable.
Huawei Cloud spans 78 availability zones in 29 regions around the world, covering more than 170 countries and regions, offering the best-in-class cloud services closest to customers’ locations.
We have launched regional Startup Programs in Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Central Asia, and Africa, and allocated dedicated financial and technical resources to support startups. Moreover, we've made great effort in building local ecosystems and cooperating with like-minded local partners, including governmental departments, to synergize resources to empower the startups from and for the local communities.
Gavin Allen: Huawei has set up a start-up program. Why was that launched?
Kang Ning: Because we see the potentials of startups. They are the most innovative part of the economy. We set up the Huawei Cloud Startup Program globally, committing to unleashing the creativities and potentials of startups.
We want to partner with innovative teams, and startups are often the most innovative. And we think we can help them be more innovative. For example, we supply all these complex, fast-changing technologies as a kind of service, which could enable the startups to focus on solution innovation without having to invest heavily in R&D of the underlying technology or infrastructure.
And of course we understand they may need some financial support. Through the Huawei Cloud Startup Program, a single startup may receive free cloud services worth up to US $150,000 and can start deployment on the cloud at a very low cost. But that's not the most important part. Our technical team works together with the startups to make sure they understand the cloud architecture and interface, and can use it correctly. Those financial and technical support allow the startups to focus on their core business.
Gavin Allen: Have you seen some good examples of small companies, small, medium enterprises really embracing digitalization?
Kang Ning: E-commerce has transformed many small companies. SMEs are proactive to embrace digitalization because they are sensitive to environment changes. They are more agile. Even small manufacturers are starting to use SaaS solutions to organize their supply chains and optimize their production.
Yingling Zhishang is a fashion design and manufacturing company in Shenzhen. Its resource allocation and scheduling used to rely on experienced workers. Working with Huawei Cloud, the company successfully digitalized its manufacturing lines. As a result, the operational efficiency improved by 10%, and the production standards have remained consistent.
Gavin Allen: Even when they do commit the resources, even when they embrace digitalization, there is still that talent and skills challenge as well, particularly for a small company. How do you overcome that talent gap, plus the reskilling and upskilling issue?
Kang Ning: I believe everyone could become a developer empowered by the ready-to-use services on the cloud. For example, we also provide what we call the Astro. It's a low-code platform. You don’t need to be a professional programmer, but you can still use the tools and services on the platform. By adopting cloud services, SMEs actually can focus on developing their core businesses, and don't need to build a tech team for IT infrastructure operations. Each year, Huawei invests over US$20 billion in technology research. These consistent investments have produced advanced cloud services, APIs and tools for developers, which allow SMEs, small startups to have equal access to stable, secure, agile and cost-efficient digital infrastructure as the big enterprises.
Second, Huawei Cloud has built a strong team of DTSE, namely Developer Technology Support Engineers, which is dedicated to escorting developers around the world throughout their software development journey, including the entire process of software technology selection, software design, development, and release.
Third, developers at SMEs can receive quality training at Huawei Cloud Academy where they have access to a large number of full-time and part-time instructors, online courses, online labs, and technical certification systems to enhance their digital skills. In addition, Huawei Cloud has authorized some institutions as its Learning Partners to help SMEs train and develop tech talents.
We strive to build a vibrant ecosystem, enabling our partners to grow and prosper with Huawei Cloud.
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