Telcos have the leverage to chase Myanmar enterprises

Samit K Deb
CommunicAsia Show Daily

Myanmar’s enterprise sector presents a major growth opportunity for telcos, but they’re not the only ones looking to cash in. In Part 2 of this three-part report, we look at four advantages telcos have over the competition 

A rapid increase of enterprises coupled with the growing deployment of IT infrastructure and cloud computing seems to be the likely game changer for Myanmar’s telecom enterprise market.     
This robust increase in the number of enterprises presents Myanmar telecom operators with a prime growth opportunity. ICT spending of enterprises in Myanmar region is currently minimal, with even many of the large-scale conglomerates using only basic accounting and financial systems such as MYOB, while IT functions are currently being manned by technicians whose role is restricted to maintenance of computer hardware.    

Myanmar SMEs are already looking for cost-effective off-the-shelf services; lack of in-house IT capabilities steers them towards services that are easy to install and use. These factors, coupled with limited access to funding for Myanmar SMEs, provide good triggers for deploying cloud-based solutions.   

See Also

The enterprise ICT opportunity for Myanmar telcos
Telecom strategies for navigating Myanmar's enterprise ICT market

Synergy Research Group estimates cloud computing was a $110 billion global business in 2015, and although it may seem incredible to readers, the potential for Myanmar companies to leapfrog to the cloud environment in the near future is quite high.  Myanmar companies typically lack skills to manage their IT needs, have no credible legacy systems and usually are less concerned about issues such as data privacy, making cloud based services rather appealing for them.  Furthermore, the “pay-as-you-use” model applied by cloud providers will help many of these companies to defer costly up-front payments on technology and make the deployment cycle much faster than traditional system deployments. Myanmar CEOs will surely be open to explore cloud based service options.   

Of course, Myanmar operators won’t be the only service providers trying to tap into these emerging ICT opportunities. However, telcos are in a decidedly stronger position than potential competitors here.    

In fact, many of the points raised in a 2011 Strategy& article for Middle East based operators (The Enterprise Opportunity for MENA Telecom Operators) are even more relevant today for Myanmar-based operators.  Similar to MENA operators in 2011, Myanmar operators enjoy the following critical advantages over the pure-play system integrators:  

  1. Wide connectivity: Via their web of complex sales and distribution channels such as distributors, retailers, fleet on sales etc, telecom operators already have a strong presence across Myanmar. Operators can use company outlets, call centers, and indirect channels such as resellers or partnerships with hardware providers to reach targeted customers much faster than the competition.
  2. Existing government relationships: From the bidding process to the rollout of countrywide networks and running regular telecom operations, Myanmar operators have successfully maintained an effective and amicable relationship with central and state governments. This relationship will particularly be useful, especially for targeting government ministries and agencies. This gives them a strong lead over any competitors that need to develop these relationships from scratch.
  3. Relevant experience: Myanmar’s three commercially active telecoms operators have extensive experience in managing large-scale infrastructure deployment and service delivery programs with multiple stakeholders and complex interdependencies, which was especially tested during the past three years while rolling out their respective countrywide networks (in the case of MPT, it involved substantial network modernization, IT and overall business transformation.) The operators can employ a similar approach using the lessons learned from those rollouts when delivering enterprise ICT services to large customers. A quick survey of existing telecom license holders shows that some have already begun exploring marketing cloud services - however the approach they use to target enterprises can be quite different. KDDI Myanmar has already started cloud platform services for business continuity planning, productivity solutions such as Office 365 ,Google Apps and Google Drive, remote desktop, web meeting etc. However Ooredoo and Telenor’s enterprise initiatives are not yet apparent.  
  4. Established brands: To succeed in Myanmar, probably the first key phrase is “Be Local” - being a remote business from overseas does not work in Myanmar. Customers look for local presence as a proof of commitment to the country. Telecom operators enjoy strong local brand recognition compared to the larger regional or global IT powerhouses - especially in the consumer market where they have ample experience. Strong consumer awareness can translate to the business segment, providing operators with an advantage over pure-play SIs.    

These advantages give operators an edge over their competitors. However, advantage is one thing - execution is something else. Operators will find quickly that the enterprise business is not the same as the mass-market voice and data business. The same business models cannot be applied - operators will need to devise a different strategy to leverage their advantages and win enterprise business.    

Tomorrow: five tips to successfully navigating Myanmar’s enterprise ICT market

Samit K Deb is a senior consultant with over 12 years of experience and based out of Singapore. He can be contacted at samideb@gmail.com  

Part 1: The enterprise ICT opportunity for Myanmar telcos

Part 3: Telecom strategies for navigating Myanmar's enterprise ICT market

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