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Azida Mohamed Burhan, Head of Marketing at TM ONE, discusses ways Telekom Malaysia is adopting advancements in technology to ensure the country remains competitive.

Tell us about yourself and what led you to study engineering? 

I am not an engineer by profession, but the curiosity of knowing how an engineer thinks and why they behave as such made me take up the challenge to study Masters in Engineering Business Management at Warwick University, UK. That feeling came about when I was surrounded by engineers and found there was a missing link that is the ‘art’. Being in the international five-star hotel chains for 10 years in Sales & Marketing prior to joining Telekom Malaysia, providing great customer service means building a reputation for excellence in keeping up with customer expectations. In business, there must be a balance of art and science; only then, to me it is considered as a complete connected ecosystem.

How did you end up in TM and what has your journey been like in this industry?

It was two different worlds, moving from a customer-centric hospitality industry to a product-centric telecommunications company back then. At that time, the Internet was still at the infant stage in Malaysia, but I saw that it could grow bigger than ever through the benefits of connectivity and in changing our lives. So, I jumped on the bandwagon to join TM Net, the Internet Service Provider, and there was no turning back until today. It was a little funny that over a lunch meeting in Bangsar, the Chief Executive Officer (of) TM Net asked if I would like to be part of the ‘future’ projects. Little did I know that I was involved in multiple business and technology transformations within TM and it kept me being current and relevant until today. The digital transformation and advanced technologies such as IoT, AI, big data and smart industry solutions kept me abreast with the readiness to face the digital era.

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Your roles have generally been technical, but now you’re the head the marketing of TM ONE. Why the shift and what has the transition been like?

I like doing things differently and exploring new ventures. It was self-fulfilment when I started my career in TM Net to be with the pioneer team to roll out the Internet in Malaysia i.e. Streamyx. We evolved as the demand kept increasing for higher speed connectivity; another milestone was achieved as we launched unifi followed by fixed-mobile convergence services to the market. Interestingly, I could experience three significant milestones mainly to champion Sales Channels and as Project Team Lead for Fixed-Mobile convergence.

As it gets better, today I am in TM ONE, heading the Marketing division, and we are transforming into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Businesses transform through intelligence. People and technologies are transforming the way we live our lives, from home to outside, with virtual reality experience as a pilot, constantly innovating for more opportunities. Speed to deliver is THE priority. It is the beginning of a new era of Industry Forward and it will be there for many years to come. Every activity we embark on will create new content, new experiences and learning as we collaborate with our customers in digital transformation for their businesses.

Tell us about TM ONE and what you hope to achieve in this role?

TM ONE is the business-to-business arm fronting the enterprise and public sectors for Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM). It is the digital enabler for secured Hyperconnected Ecosystem, empowering enterprises and the public sector to realise the full potential of their digital opportunities. The Hyperconnected Ecosystem for today’s businesses and beyond is #madepossible with TM ONE’s comprehensive digital solutions enabled by high-performance connectivity and digital infrastructure.

As part of an integrated telco and an enabler of the Digital Nation for all Malaysians, consumers and businesses alike, TM ONE is well positioned to enable the ecosystem for digital society, digital business and digital government.

It is my hope that every business would be technologically advanced and ready to meet the challenges head-on.

What can customers expect from TM ONE?

Living up to ‘customers as our true north’, TM ONE will continuously develop and deliver digital solutions enabled by IoT, Big Data Analytics and AI; we will fulfil the dynamic needs of the various industries in today’s hyper-connected ecosystem. We recently launched 10 smart solutions, a series of 10 transformative solutions that were developed together with our customers using the design thinking methodology, which resulted in a deep understanding of their needs, addressing their pain points, and enabling them to optimise their efficiency towards maximising profits.

With the 10 transformative solutions or 10T under our belt, we will be continuing our journey to an expanded TM ONE portfolio of smart solutions that will create greater value for our Enterprise and Public Sector business customers across all key verticals to transition into IR4.0.

What is the biggest challenge that TM ONE faces and how do you plan to overcome it? 

We have talents and will continuously upskill them to improve productivity and efficiency. The biggest challenges will always be people and speed to expand their knowledge and capabilities. My best bid is giving empowerment to my team and leaders, to just do it and we will learn along the way. Leveraging on valuable insights are fundamental in our decision-making to complement the front-liners and other stakeholders when interfacing with customers.

How does TM ONE set itself apart from its competitors?

What differentiates us from other smart services providers in the market is our complete end-to-end infrastructure in our Hyperconnected Ecosystem. The complete elements in the ecosystem enable our customers to collect, store, process and analyse data, powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) to produce valuable insights, so they can address their pain points and subsequently deliver the best experience for their customers.

Security is a huge concern in the digital world. How does TM ONE ensure that customers’ data are safe and protected?

More and more companies are prioritising and relying on IT to give valuable insights for better decision-making for growth, innovation and increasing efficiencies. Very soon, there will be millions of IoT sensors collecting huge amount of data, which needs to be stored, validated and processed into useable information. TM ONE has always placed a priority on data security. From secure and dedicated network connections such as IPVPN, to a dedicated Security Operations Centre (SOC) to monitor and mitigate cybersecurity risk and attacks, we are constantly evolving and innovating our solutions across multiple verticals. For uncompromised security and data sovereignty, TM ONE has invested in two purpose-built Data Centres (DC), state-of-the-art Twin Core data centres in Klang Valley (KVDC) and in Johor (IPDC) with multiple industry certifications, from the way it is designed and how it is constructed to the way it is operated.

There is a huge buzz about 5G now. When does TM ONE foresee rolling out 5G technology that will benefit its customers?

We expect 5G to be driving the next wave of revolution in the technology space, and as the digital enabler of the nation, TM is certainly answering the nation’s call towards bringing the nation to the next frontier of technology. We are hopeful for an effective spectrum allocation especially for 4G and 5G technologies, so that we can continue with our role as the nation’s telecommunications provider. This will enable us to support the Government agenda in building Malaysia’s Hyperconnected Ecosystem and stimulate the growth of the digital economy.

Globally, where is the industry headed, and do you see Malaysia in that space?

We are at the advent of Industrial Revolution 4.0 where everyone and everything are connected to the Internet, humans and machines interact, and business decision-making is no longer guided by outdated historical data or gutfeel but by integrated insights derived from real-time data. Advanced technologies such as IoT, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are revolutionising industries and even the public sector. Smart Solutions driven by these technologies will help organisations address their challenges and create the best experience for their customers.

We see our role as the enabler of a digital nation to develop the capabilities of the enterprises and public sector to transition into Industrial Revolution 4.0, to ensure that Malaysia remains competitive in the global market and to meet the needs of Malaysian citizens. Part of that role includes increasing the adoption of advanced technologies in Malaysia, whether it is in IoT, AI, Big Data, Blockchain or even Cybersecurity, among the businesses and our government sector. This is done not only through providing the smart solutions but also through knowledge-sharing and capability-building with our customers in a long-term partnership. I am proud to say that we are beginning to see strong traction towards the adoption of AI/IOT and BDA recently as a result of our new business model approach.