Supparat Sivapetchranat Singhara Na Ayutthaya: Leading True IDC in the Pursuit for Thailand to Become the Indochina Digital Hub

In this day and age, corporations usually attempt to maximize profit and market share. How good will it be if those objectives are achieved together with the objective of generating sustainable profit while contributing to the development of the country’s digital economy?

With this belief in mind, Supparat Sivapetchranat Singhara Na Ayutthaya, Managing Director of True Internet Data center (True IDC), the leading cloud service and carrier-neutral data center provider in Thailand, envisions driving True IDC to lead Thailand in becoming Indochina’s digital hub. His determination, coupled with the strength and capacity of this 16-year-old organization, drove True IDC’s profit to grow from 10% to 55%, marking a new milestone for the company since its inception in 2003.

What is the secret to his success in managing this organization of excellence and driving it to achieve unprecedented revenue, profit, and expansion which answers to all the needs of its clients in this rapidly-changing technological environment? Let’s hear from him.

Upgrading True IDC 1.0 to 3.0

To clarify the path of True IDC’s success, Supparat explained the 3 phases the company went through. At its inception in 2003, True IDC focused mainly on its data center business and this phase can be coined True IDC 1.0. Supparat said, “The objective then was to upgrade the data center business to meet international standards because 16 years ago, data centers in Thailand were not really standardized. This pushed True IDC forward in becoming the leader in all major international certifications in data center design and operations, be it ISO(s), Uptime and PCI-DSS.”

“In 2014, True IDC replaced its management team and I was given the chance to come onboard. That sparked True IDC 2.0 and the objective of establishing a cloud service in Thailand which could expand into ASEAN. We introduced world-class cloud services in Thailand from Amazon Web Services, Google, and Microsoft. Our strategy was to provide an one-stop shop with all the necessary services and the quickest set-up time. This did not only propel True IDC to gain the majoring market share in the data center and public cloud industries but also made the company well-known. This was reflected in brand awareness surveys with the one carried out before phase 2 showing a 44% awareness and the one carried out after True IDC 2.0 showing an 80% awareness of the True IDC brand,” he added.

2018 marks another milestone for True IDC with the appointment of this young MD to drive the company forward and his introduction of new strategies to push the company into the era of True IDC 3.0.

Supparat said, “I believe that the landscape of the competition has changed. In 2014, at that point of time, there were no major cloud providers and data center players in Thailand with proven significant experiences. But a year later, Thailand has double the number of providers. For example, we are the first cloud service provider in Thailand but there are now more than 20 official cloud service resellers in the country. This means our strategy needs to evolve. With various sectors realizing the importance of data center and cloud services, what can we do to drive our organization ahead of competitors along with developing the market and pushing forth a sustainable growth of the country’s digital economy?”

Bearing in mind that a business’s strategy can sometimes move forward through posing clear-cut questions rather than finding answers, Supparat aims to bring True IDC into the 3.0 era and introduce multi-dimensional changes from 2018 onward with his strategic questions.

Historic Step into Success

At the time, Supparat said change was introduced in almost every facet, starting with the business model and the design and construction of new data centers. Before, data centers were built like housing villages with zones of around 20 houses built at a time and a new zone started only when all existing houses were sold. The advantage of this system is that investment needs to be carried out only when demand comes in. The disadvantage is its high cost. Therefore, he introduced the masterplan to construct all racks at once which enable a more efficient management of the construction time and lower construction costs as well as speedily meet the demands of large corporate clients.

True IDC also joined hands with leading partners such as BBIX, a subsidiary of Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp., to set up “BBIX Thailand Company” as an Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in Thailand. At layer 2 service, this is the first world-class IXP in Thailand to meet the needs of clients who are looking beyond data center and cloud services for a more efficient network.

Supparat added, “This cooperation not only strengthens our network but also differentiates us in the market and makes us more well-known among international clients who wish to expand their businesses into the Indochina region as an IXP and data center service provider in Thailand.”

In terms of the Cloud service, True IDC encourages in-country data storage by partnering with Tencent (Thailand) to launch the first in-country Interactive and AI-Enabled cloud platform. True IDC has moved beyond being a world-class cloud service provider in Thailand into being AI compatible which will become a necessity for the future business world. All businesses with AI technology don’t have to look abroad for cloud services but can utilize the services of True IDC’s partnership with Tencent Cloud in Thailand.

Another key strategy Supparat is introducing is creating a “Regional Data Center and Cloud Command Center” which requires an investment of 2 million US dollars and will upgrade the efficiency of the company’s services. Today, the success of the strategies introduced by the new MD in the past 12 months is being reflected in its historical revenue growth.

“Apart from what I have mentioned, I also place a great emphasis on developing personnel because more than half of True IDC’s employees have been with the company for almost 15 years. We’ve taken care of everyone like a family member. We will continue to develop our personnel so they are ready to embrace and lead the changes in this evolving digital era. I have also revamped our work process to lessen the gap between each division and make sure they align with our strategies both domestically and internationally under a more independent “regional structure”. We believe that the technology business is not limited by borders and in which country the service is provided. For example, we have combined our marketing teams into one to address both the domestic and international markets for greater efficiency and speed and stable cost,” he added.

True IDC’s next step

When mentioning True IDC’s future, Supparat started off by discussing the current global scenario of this industry with data center service expected to grow 15% and cloud service at 24%. True IDC perceives growth can be stronger based on 3 issues.

“First, Thailand has seen a lot of discussion about fintech but not much has been said about 2 other industries which could benefit from technological advancements and they are the medical and property sectors. The awareness is already there globally but it is only starting in Thailand. I believe a heightened awareness will bring about a drastic demand for data center and cloud services to be used. Therefore, these will be the 2 industries which True IDC will have to study and understand in order to help generate growth for the industry participants as their trusted partners and not just as a service provider or a platform,” Supparat noted.

Supparat went on to say, “Second is state policy. We support an increased awareness of residing important data within the country to further create opportunities for investment, generate knowledge, and become an additional source of taxation for the government.”

He added, “Third is the changing clientele because corporate clients will no longer be from Europe or America but will be from China. China has been investing heavily in Thailand because Chinese tourists are the top tourist arrivals in the country. Moreover, Thailand sees the highest number of Chinese expatriates, bringing with them Chinese technology firms. Apart from the services and costs we offer which have to be competitive, we must understand the nature of Chinese businesspeople and their culture. True IDC sees the importance of this and ensures that our personnel could continue to anticipate and stay ahead of the business.

Supparat pointed out that other than the company’s business objectives, its highest goal is to push Thailand to become Indochina’s digital hub.

“Apart from focusing on business growth, we want to be a force to drive forth the establishment of world-class data center and cloud services in Thailand which is internationally recognized. We also want to be a standardized Internet Exchange Point and play a part in setting up globally-recognized cloud services. Today, we are ready to help move Thailand into the digital economy so the country can truly become Indochina’s digital hub,” he concluded.