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Why is Malaysia's Astro aiming for 75% digitalisation within 8 months?

AvantiKumar | April 28, 2017
Astro's Dato' Rohana Rozhan said the company is adopting the cloud and mobile-first, analytics driven approach.

Astro HQ near Technology Park Malaysia, Bukit Jalil

Photo (Astro) - Astro HQ near Technology Park Malaysia, Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur.


  Malaysian broadcaster and media services provider Astro said it is aiming to digitalise 75 percent of the group's current technology infrastructure, applications and processes by the end of 2017.

At the recent official announcement, Astro group chief executive officer Dato' Rohana Rozhan said one main objective is to enhance customer service quality as well as to bolster go-to-market agility - as a precursor to new content, products and services.

"Today Astro is in 71 percent of Malaysian households and growing," said Rohana. "That equates to 21 million family members across 5.1 million homes with an Astro service."
She added: "Our combined engagement with households and individuals across TV, radio, digital and ground events is second to none; our TV viewers spend 4 hours watching Astro daily, radio weekly listenership is at 15.6 million, our live events attracted about 500,000 people and our digital properties, which are resonating among millennials, register close to 5.8 million visitors every month."

Rohana said the transformation rested on a cloud and mobile-first, analytics driven approach to better personalise experiences for customers.

Astro also announced that the transformation agreement has been signed with Amazon Web Services, Inc. and its affiliates (AWS), which has now established a presence in Malaysia.

The need to reinforce

She said AWS cloud computing services and professional services will shoulder the transformation plan.

Astro is already building on its analytics capabilities and customer intelligence through personalised recommendations, intuitive interfaces, automated interactions, as well as targeted and relevant contextual marketing, explained Rohana. 

The transformation will be speeded to achieve its 75 percent digitalisation target by year-end with the hiring of more software engineers and data scientists across various discipline.

"Our collaboration with AWS comes at a critical time, as we prepare ourselves to serve the next generation of consumers through products and services that best suit their needs," said Rohana.  "We will accelerate our ability to innovate, speed up time-to-market for new and improved services, and adopt game-changing technologies where appropriate."

The transformation extends to company culture. "Importantly, we will also improve the way we work collaboratively across the organisation and with partners, as well as empower teams to share knowledge and best practices, and encourage every employee to experiment and learn," she said.

"The transformation journey involves all of our 5,000 employees, by inculcating a digital mindset and creating a culture of innovation," said Rohana. "Working with the Amazon Web Services team and learning about their spirit of invention has been inspiring for our teams."

"Our employees are now experimenting with new ideas using AWS cloud computing services for new product development and proof of concepts, while proactively simplifying processes across IT and business operations," she added. "These are the essential steps towards driving internal efficiency so that we can be more agile as an organisation in building our reach and relevance in Malaysia as well as serve our customers' increasingly digital lifestyles, both locally and in the region."


"Our commitment is to a cloud-first infrastructure has hlelped us to deliver scalable customer-centric service and care, as well as innovative and personalised digital-first products at a much faster pace," said Rohana.

With a 'Cloud First' approach, new services in video OTT such as Astro GO in Malaysia, and Tribe in Indonesia and Philippines, as well as e-commerce services like Go Shop in Malaysia and Singapore operate on AWS infrastructure, while legacy backend applications are also being aggressively migrated to the AWS Cloud.

Astro has already adopted Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) to host more than 23,000 on-demand current and library titles for their connected set top boxes and OTT video streaming products. They also use Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) with more than a thousand compute instances running on a daily basis, and deliver close to 2 petabytes of content every month from the content delivery network using Amazon CloudFront.

Commenting on Astro's transformation announcement, Nick Walton, head of ASEAN, Amazon Web Services, said: "Astro's long term strategic approach in building a solid foundation with AWS gives Astro a business edge in the fast changing dynamic world of media."

Astro's Rohana added: "As we venture into 2017, we do so recognising our market strengths that we need to reinforce and build on, as well as the gaps that we need to aggressively address in order to be a deserving customer media brand of choice."

More details of the transformation project to follow: The latest edition of this article lives at Computerworld Malaysia.


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