The Liberating Power of Digital Transformation in Thailand

You often hear the metaphor about how IT teams rebuilt the plane while it was flying. The idea conveys how complicated and precarious it is to innovate while keeping existing systems operational.

Micro-, Small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) account for over 95 percent of all Thai enterprises and contribute over 43 percent of GDP to the economy[1]. For MSMEs, digital transformation really can be a liberating force, especially in a country like Thailand. Digitizing processes like bookkeeping frees up time for businesses to focus on more strategic elements. But a combination of the unknown, a wariness to try new things, and worries about costs deter many from embarking on a digital journey.

Many Thai MSMEs recognize the importance of enterprise technology, yet adoption remains low. And this is something SaaS startup Nimbus Thailand works to address.

Delivering Cloud-based Innovation at an Affordable Price

Thailand’s national tech talent and funding is low compared to regional peers[2]. But that hasn’t stopped Nimbus from building a company that delivers cloud-based inventory management at an affordable price. This means customers don’t need to invest upfront in expensive IT infrastructure.

But as with all early-stage companies, landing on the right software approach was a challenge for Nimbus. Initially, the company hosted its software with a global hyper-scale cloud provider. Yet, the running costs were prohibitive. The company also realized it was in danger of software lock-in, which would have made future provider changes difficult.

Nimbus turned to Internet Thailand, better known as INET, the largest cloud provider in the country, and first to be VMware Cloud Verified. The INET Cloud is built on the VMware Cloud Provider Platform and uses VMware Software-Defined Data Center technologies. This gave Nimbus the storage and capacity they needed to grow and scale on demand. It also provided the reassurance that engineering and sales needs would be handled both in the Thai language and in person.

The partnership delivered immediate benefits, collapsing Nimbus’ costs by 40 percent, allowing it to focus its resources on reaching more customers. Since they made the switch to INET, the company signed up 300 percent more customers.

The Human Side of Digital Transformation

We can now focus on winning customers and guiding them on their digital transformation journey, instead of worrying about utilization and server space. Without VMware, Nimbus won’t be able to survive.

Apichet Anutaravanichakul, COO, Nimbus Thailand

This move to a more efficient and price-effective cloud solution also had a significant impact on Nimbus’ customers. By freeing wholesalers from pen-and-paper processes, Nimbus helps remove the mundane tasks that used to eat away at business owners’ days.

Previously, a typical order could take a wholesaler 20 minutes to process. Now, it takes less than five minutes. In the life of a shop owner like Thantanach Thanasriphanom, this is life-changing.

Since deploying Nimbus’ platform, he increased revenue by 25 percent thanks to the ability to take more orders. And equally importantly, he saw a real improvement in his life outside of work.

I never could take time off, because only I knew the prices of all the products in the shop. Now that the inventory can be managed on Nimbus, I can have a meal with my wife and even go on holidays.

Thantanach Thanasriphanom, Ton Liew Shop owner

Digital Transformation that Transforms Lives

Thailand recently embarked on a nationwide push to drive the digitalization of industries. Dubbed Thailand 4.0, the goal is to increase prosperity and social well-being of all citizens with a value-based economy driven by innovation, technology, and creativity.

By empowering MSME owners like Thantanach, Nimbus helps future-proof their businesses and carve out a place in the new digital society. But Thailand 4.0 will only be successful if these companies fully embrace digital transformation. Nimbus’ efforts will help its nation achieve its digital transformation goals and improve the lives of many other MSMEs owners.

[1] Thailand supports micro SMEs with digital adoption, OpenGov Asia, September 2019

[2] Disruption Watch #7: Thailand’s Digital Revolution, Maybank Kim Eng, October 2019