Unlocking the potential of digitization for small and medium businesses is the hallmark of Amazon Web Services’ mission in the Philippines.
At the core of this mission is the Lift program, designed to help SMBs kickstart their digitization journey with AWS. AWS launched the program five months back in the Philippines and Singapore and extended the program to include four more countries in the region.
“It’s been five months since we launched this in the Philippines, and we see really good traction and very diverse industry players. When we launched this, what we wanted to do was make it really easy for SMBs to experiment. What this program does is it gives essentially a startup pack of cloud credits for one year. There is no login, there are no hidden fees. Essentially, as soon as SMB is billing $1, they can start accessing our credits. It’s tiered over one year depending on the usage. They can unlock up to $83,500 in promotional credits, which is a significant amount for SMBs,” said AWS managing director of mid-market and SMB in ASEAN Gunish Chawla.
“SMBs are looking to adapt their business models given the current macroeconomic environment, and this is where technology can help. AWS is enabling SMBs to be more innovative and resilient as they accelerate transformation in the face of ambiguity and change. Through programs such as AWS Lift, we are demonstrating our commitment to invest in and power SMBs of every size and every industry in Philippines to digitize their business and unlock their economic potential,” he said.
As of February 2023, the AWS Lift program was running in Singapore, Philippines, Australia, Japan, India and New Zealand.
In collaboration with AWS partners, the solutions provider wants to make cloud accessible for all SMBs and being a unique segment, to tailor-fit the programs and ensure that, as a cloud solutions provider, it is accurately serving the needs of Philippine SMBs.
AWS is committed to supporting the digitization of SMBs with the power of cloud computing. With the majority of countries across Asia Pacific and Japan predicting a recession or slower economic growth in 2023, SMBs are under pressure to cut costs, in particular, to manage IT budget cuts. At the same time, SMBs recognize the importance of technology and the need to make IT investments.
As cloud computing is rapidly becoming the new norm in business operations, AWS is aware of the struggle SMBs face in pivoting to the cloud and the need to enhance technical expertise and skills of the workforce.
AWS noted that many SMBs may not feel confident to drive cloud implementations on their own as typically they either have very small IT teams or they might be using external vendors for managing IT premises. AWS is offering a global community of 100,000 partners that can leverage on AWS technology to build solution and services for SMB customers, working across a wide variety of use cases.
“We are deeply invested in helping the Philippines address this digital skill shortage and the way we do it, it’s through digital education and training support. So we’ve actually made digital training built by AWS experts available through qualified AWS instructor-led classes. If we want to build a strong future for our business in Philippines, this goes very much hand in hand with providing skills and training locally,” Chawla said.
AWS collaborated with the Department of Trade and Industry and the ASEAN Business Council in the establishment of the ASEAN SME Academy 2.0 which was launched in April 2022. The academy offers online training to SMBs to upskill the workforce following a DTI-AWS memorandum of understanding to extend AWS upskilling programs to SMEs and startups starting February 2023.
The technology firm also teamed up with several government agencies to deliver workshops and trainings raising awareness on disruptive innovations and emerging technologies.
The Philippines is undergoing rapid digital transformation and is heavily reliant on a digital workforce equipped to meet the rising demand for cloud computing. Unlocking the country’s digital potential requires a strong digital workforce and tech professionals with relevant and current digital skills to keep up with the pace of change.
The AWS Training and Certification team launched the AWS re/Start program in the Philippines in February 2022. As of today, AWS re/Start is working with two collaborating organizations to help close the country’s skills gap and inspire unemployed, underemployed, and transitioning Filipino learners to consider a career in cloud computing..
The firm is committed to nurturing the talent pool of the future through education programs – AWS Educate and AWS Academy – and making digital education accessible to everyone. It brings industry in-demand skills into academic institutions, and collaborate with them to nurture the next generation of cloud talent.
As AWS extends its clout over Philippine SMBs, it also seeks to address affordability barriers and demystify perceptions of how costly it is to ride the cloud.
Chawla noted that most SMBs understand what technology can do for them, but they also talk about budgetary constraints. At AWS, SMBs are not required to pay upfront capital so they don’t lock in investment. They have a very much variable expense model for what they consume.
“So that’s a really important factor for SMBs. And we’re able to pass on economies of scale to them. We are, on a constant basis, working to optimize the costs and use various levers ensuring that we are right sizing the infrastructure. So depending on the consumer demands, we can scale up and down and that elasticity is very important to the business. Despite this, SMBs are actually quite unique as a segment. Cashflow is often a key concern,’ he said.
AWS Cloud enables users to gain approximately 30 percent operational cost savings on the cloud compared to running on-site infrastructure themselves. Cost savings and operational efficiencies from the cloud will help SMBs do more with less. AWS has recomputed and reduced the price of cloud computing a hundred over to respond to affordability concerns of SMBs.
AWS is enabling SMBs to be more innovative and accelerate transformation with a broad and deep set of services used by industry leaders around the world. With our comprehensive suite of more than 200 AWS cloud services, there’s a service available to meet every business need. It initially wants to reach out to 150,000 Philippine SMBs.
AWS noted that the real reason SMEs move to the cloud, is the agility and speed with which they can address customer experience and their ability to add new revenue streams, and they can easily ramp up resources on demand.
In the Philippines, micro, small and medium enterprises account for 952,969 or 99.51 percent of registered enterprises and generate 62.66 percent of the total employment in the Philippines.
Philippine-based companies subscribing to the AWS platform include Shakey’s Pizza Philippines, Manila Broadcasting Company, Multisys PH, the Ramcar Group of Companies, TaskUs, UnionBank of the Philippines, the Philippine Rice Information System, Phoenix Publishing House, and Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center Philippines, among others.
“We also work with Filipino’s beloved fast-food chain Jollibee on their digital transformation journey to provide better services and boost innovation,” Chawla said.
AWS was incorporated in the Philippines on July 30, 2012 and a full-blown Philippine office facility was built in 2018 followed by an expansion in 2021 to house hundreds of employees which continue to expand with growing demand for cloud services.
AWS works with various customers in the Philippines for their digital transformation by providing better services to Filipinos. It has partnered with financial solution experts like GCash and Pearlpay to provide seamless digital banking access to Filipino especially during the pandemic.
In 2021, AWS announced availability of AWS Outposts in the Philippines where customers can leverage AWS Services to run their workloads and data in their on-premises facilities and connect to their nearest AWS Region for management and operations.
A year after, it announced plans to launch a new AWS Local Zone in Manila. The AWS Local Zone will complement AWS’s existing infrastructure in the Philippines, including Amazon CloudFront, a content delivery network service built for high performance, security, and developer convenience, and AWS Outposts, a fully managed service that extends AWS infrastructure, services, APIs, and tools to customer premises.
The new AWS Local Zone in Manila will join 16 existing AWS Local Zones across the United States and an additional 31 AWS Local Zones planned to launch in 25 countries around the world over the next two years—delivering single-digit millisecond latency performance at the edge of the cloud to hundreds of millions of people worldwide.
This year, and for the twelfth consecutive year, AWS has been named as a Leader in the 2022 Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure and Platform Services. Per Gartner, AWS is the longest-running CIPS Magic Quadrant Leader.