Modernising Malaysian enterprises with next-gen connectivity

This article is sponsored by Expereo.

Image courtesy of Chander Mohan.

The modern enterprise is characterised by speed, agility, and adaptability: speed when it comes to network connectivity, agility in terms of infrastructure, and adaptability to the rapidly evolving business climate. No organisation wants to be left behind in terms of innovation, but to remain competitive, certain obstacles must be overcome.

In Malaysia, connectivity issues range from legacy systems to interoperability. While many businesses have already embarked on some sort of digital transformation, certain areas can be further improved to ensure future readiness.

During the roundtable titled “The Next-Gen Enterprise — 24×7, Multi-Cloud, and Truly Global?”, organised by Jicara Media and hosted by Expereo, senior IT leaders shared their connectivity struggles and best practices to overcome them.

Culture clash

For a major electronics company, organisational buy-in is as challenging as overcoming infrastructure hurdles.

“You have people who have been in the factory for 20 or 30 years and are content with what they do today. Change is constant, right? When you look at them and ask if they are willing to upskill themselves, you realise they are not. So organisational changes are ongoing right now,” shared an IT decision-maker at the company.

According to this IT decision-maker, senior people are among those hardest to convince to adopt new technology or methods.

“For example, IoT. They think they understand IoT, and then they deploy it, but they’re not really leveraging the technology,” the IT executive said.

Currently, the company is identifying applications that need to be migrated to the cloud.

“The factories are already on SD-WAN (software-defined wide area network), but the senior leadership is still very reluctant to move things to the cloud,” the IT decision-maker added.

Movement restrictions

For costs, flexibility, and performance considerations, many organisations have already switched from multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) to SD-WAN. However, for a global staffing and recruitment firm, leveraging SD-WAN isn’t always cost-efficient.

“We definitely see in Asia, in expensive countries like Japan and Australia, SD-WAN is saving us money. But in Vietnam, Thailand, or Malaysia, it’s actually more expensive than what we’re paying today,” remarked a senior IT executive at the recruitment firm.

The senior IT executive shared that they’re running a global SD-WAN programme across their operations, which is already 90% complete. The company is also moving to the cloud, leveraging Microsoft’s Azure platform.

However, not all of their applications can be readily migrated.

“In Thailand, we have applications that are 20 years old, and we don’t even know the source code or its whole setup. Thus, moving some of these applications to the cloud is not that straightforward,” the senior IT executive said.

Similarly, a major financial institution faces certain challenges migrating their assets to the cloud, as their technology partners often do not offer necessary flexibilities related to data centres.

“The major challenges we are facing, like dark fibre cables and leased lines — all these things are quite expensive,” noted a solutions architect at the company.

Due to strict regulations by its central bank, especially regarding data, the financial institution must navigate significant compliance hurdles. This is also true for other territories they operate in.

“For example, if you’re from Singapore, your data is considered sensitive by the authorities, and they won’t allow it to be stored outside of the country. We need to ensure that, even with a centralised data storage concept, we can secure these applications,” the solutions architect said.

Unlocking solutions

Eddie Chia, Head of Enterprise Accounts, APAC at Expereo, noted that overcoming the legacy mindset is a common challenge for their clients, including those in Malaysia. Ironically, many of the traditional carriers Expereo works with share this same mindset.

“Not too long ago, their main revenue came from mobile phones, IDDs, landlines, and similar sources, leading to significant investments in subsea cables. Now, telcos are suddenly thrust into the world of cloud and internet. Despite customers moving to the cloud and private connectivity appearing to decline, it remains essential for certain industries, particularly the FSI. So there’s still a place for it,” he noted.

Chris Minder, Senior Solutions Engineer, APAC at Expereo, recalled that latency was seldom an issue 30 years ago because MPLS was the core grid and everything was on-premises.

“That’s why the cloud boom was so significant; it offered the flexibility to put everything online and access it easily. Latency became a more subjective issue. However, many organisations are still very much on-premises. Managing the gaps between these setups is challenging. Transitioning from a legacy site to a more digital one can be very tricky for many organisations,” he said.

According to Minder, for enterprises to be truly next-gen, they have to adopt solutions that will work today, tomorrow, and in the coming years.

“SD-WAN, for example, is not designed to solve the latency problem. Its purpose, among many, is to optimise return on investment by improving aggregated bandwidth, centralised management control, and operational simplicity. However, when combined with our intelligent routing technology, Enhanced Internet, it analyses different paths from the Expereo Enhanced IP Cores and automatically selects the best-performing route. Through our AI network automation, Enhanced Internet enhances both the internet connection and the SD-WAN network, providing a comprehensive solution based on the IP Core layer 3 network,” he explained.

Currently, many tech vendors in the market offer businesses products A, B, and C to choose from, yet there is no flexibility in terms of the unique requirements of the industry or the company, Minder added.

“Many vendors forget that business drivers are closely tied to the organisational roadmap: how companies aim to scale profitability, reduce inefficiency, and leverage technology. Vendors and managed service providers often focus too much on their own return on investment and lose sight of how enterprises actually operate,” he remarked.

Solving the equation

Because technology changes rapidly, like how antiviruses and VPNs were rendered obsolete by advanced solutions such as security information and event management (SIEM); security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR); and zero trust, what was new two years ago could be considered legacy today, observed Chia.

“The product cycle has become faster. Whatever SD-WAN you have now could be obsolete in another two or three years. In terms of partnering with someone, it’s good to keep in mind that the partner of choice should be technology agnostic, without any with no skin in the game to push a certain customer toward a specific portfolio or solution just because they’ve built that infrastructure or are laying their cable,” he said.

Being technology and carrier agnostic, Expereo is able to work with about 2,300 internet connectivity providers, servicing clients in over 190 locations globally.

To achieve network excellence, it boils down to two things, said a senior manager at a global insurer.

“Selecting the right business partner, understanding your business requirements, and understanding your customer journey, including how it is going to be, are the most important factors. Secondly, when it comes to the solution, you can apply any technology, but if you don’t use proper dedicated internet access and rely only on standard broadband connectivity, you’re likely to fail. The failure isn’t due to the SD-WAN technology but rather how the initial setup is implemented. So, it’s crucial to know the expected outcome whenever we are implementing new technology,” the senior manager said.

In the case of a major financial institution, slow and steady wins the game. The company is now in the process of determining which applications will go into its on-premises cloud, said a senior IT leader at the company.

“Slowly, we are going to onboard the network. We set up a dedicated network in our own data centre using the same WAN that we use for our on-premises systems. Currently, we’re categorising the applications to be moved to the cloud. We’re conducting some POCs on our new upcoming applications, because banks have many legacy systems. We are slowly introducing our HR systems and some of our internal systems, which are not customer-related or banking-related, into the cloud to evaluate their performance,” the senior IT leader concluded.

The roundtable discussion illuminated the diverse challenges faced by Malaysian enterprises in their digital transformation journeys, particularly in connectivity and cloud migration. Senior IT leaders underscored the critical need for organisational buy-in, cost-effective solutions, and regulatory compliance. Overcoming legacy mindsets, ensuring flexibility, and partnering with technology-agnostic providers emerged as pivotal strategies. As businesses continue to evolve, embracing innovative solutions while carefully managing the transition from legacy systems will be essential for achieving sustained competitiveness and operational excellence in the modern digital landscape.

For more information on how Expereo can support your digital transformation journey with intelligent internet solutions, visit or contact our team today.

About Expereo

Expereo is the world’s leading intelligent internet company that connects people, places, and things anywhere. Solutions include Global Internet, SD-WAN/SASE, and Enhanced Internet. With an extensive global reach, Expereo is the trusted partner of 60% of Fortune 500 companies. It powers enterprise and government sites in more than 190 countries, with the ability to connect to any location worldwide, working with over 2,300 partners to help customers improve productivity and empowering their networks and cloud services with the agility, flexibility, and value of the Internet, with optimal network performance.