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Microsoft Singapore Big Data Initiatives


Big Community were recently privileged to interview Patrik Bihammar, Cloud and Enterprise lead at Microsoft Singapore on their key markets, their Big Data activities in the region and their latest relevant technologies that are in line with their ASEAN and global purpose. 

Mr Bihammar gave us a clear and concise view on the approach Microsoft Singapore has taken in their strategies towards this end in his interview below.

How is Singapore (and South Asia) a key market for you and what kind of resource do you put into this region at the moment?

This region is one of the most exciting areas for Microsoft, as consumers in Asia are increasingly more connected, informed, and hungrier to adopt new devices and services that will help them to achieve their business and personal goals.

Business leaders in Asia are also realizing the need to transform to a digital and data-driven business with the convergence of cloud, mobility and data. Microsoft recently conducted a Asia Data Culture study, which found that business leaders are keen to take the use of data to the next level. However, while 88 per cent of business leaders in Asia agreed that it is important for their organizations to have an agile business that is data-driven, less than half (43 per cent) believe they have a full digital strategy in place. The same study also revealed that business leaders are keenly aware of the benefits in driving a data culture within their organizations and Microsoft is committed to helping businesses in Asia realize their full potential as a data-driven organization.

For instance, we are investing in building an intelligent cloud platform anchored on Azure to help organizations turn digital disruption to their advantage and embark on their digital transformation journey.

Microsoft is also working closely with governments and public sector agencies across Asia, such as Laos and Cambodia to advance their adoption of emerging technologies. We continue to innovate and deliver solutions that empower our customers to be able to achieve more.

What are some examples and scope of actual Big Data projects that your company has worked on in this region?

 We work with many organisations across a spectrum of industries in Asia, including:

  • PSB Academy, Singapore: In partnership with Microsoft and our partner Pratyaya, PSB Academy migrated its data and its important workflows into Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, which resulted in significant gains in terms of visibility, traceability and the ability to make smarter student-engagement and operational decisions from data. After migrating to Dynamics CRM Online, PSB Academy gained deeper insights into the effectiveness of its student-engagement initiatives and into its pool of aspiring students. This has improved the academy’s ability to expediently assess the fit and calibre of the enrolee, and also the ability to help these students arrive at a more informed enrolment decision.


  • Trade Me, New Zealand: One of New Zealand’s largest online classifieds and auction site with 3.7 million active members, Trade Me generates a huge amount of data on its users. To fully harness the data and turn them into useful and actionable business insights, Trade Me invested in building an analytical workforce, where they were able to ask the right questions, analyse data and drive actionable insights. The company partnered with Microsoft to cater to two different groups of users – Microsoft Power BI for the data geeks who want to dig deep into the numbers and Microsoft Excel for the less-technically inclined who prefer a quicker and more visual way to make sense of data. Trade Me also works with Microsoft to explore Predictive Analytics capabilities, where data can help predict business opportunities and challenges. That puts Trade Me at the cutting edge of data analytics, and ahead of its competition in New Zealand.
  • Citilink, Indonesia: Indonesia-based budget airline operator Citilink knows that understanding what Indonesia’s customer base needs and wants is crucial to maintaining customer loyalty and acquiring new customers. In its bid to become the country’s leading low-cost airline, Citilink equipped its employees with the right, easy-to-use tools, to nurture and grow analytical skills amongst its work force. Power BI, a suite of business analytics tools, was incorporated to import data quickly from a range of sources and enable staff to generate insightful reports. To support the data intensive approaches, Citilink moved its day-to-day operations and management data to Microsoft Azure. As a result, the time taken for Citilink to ingest data and obtain insights has shortened significantly, allowing the team to share customer insights within minutes.

Can you give us your company’s “elevator pitch” and tell us anything else important about your technology offerings?

Microsoft is the productivity and platform company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world and our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

To do so, we aim to create more personal computing for everyone, reinvent productivity and business processes and lastly, build the intelligent cloud where data and services reside. We strongly believe that our mission is closely aligned to the ambitions of nations, businesses and people in Asia.

With this new era of more personal computing, we want to enable businesses and consumers to interact more easily, more naturally and more securely with all the devices surrounding them. For instance, Windows 10 was designed to deliver more personal computing with experiences that are more natural, more trusted and extend across devices, such as Cortana and Windows Hello.

We know that the way people work has changed dramatically, which is why we want to reinvent productivity and business processes in this mobile-first, cloud-first world. In a world that generates more information than it can consume, our solutions help people focus and turn infinite information becomes actionable insight. We recently introduced the Microsoft Dynamics 365 to empower business users with built-in insights and intelligence within the business applications they are working in.

We want to build the intelligent cloud for organizations so that they can bring new capabilities into their organizations without having to retrain IT or re-architect their core system. With cloud computing on the rise, organizations can realise the potential of cost benefits by running their database applications with greater scale and flexibility on the cloud. This year, Microsoft has launched SQL Server 2016, which is built for the cloud-first. Organizations can easily deploy the solution in a private, hybrid or public cloud and leverage on familiar tools for development and management of applications.

In addition, a major challenge for management today is that there can be different needs and varying points in a company’s use of cloud and datacentre resources, even within a single organization. A milestone in Microsoft’s commitment to enabling digital transformation is the launch of Microsoft System Center 2016, aimed at delivering a simplified datacentre management experience for organizations. We also recently launched Windows Server 2016, a cloud-ready operating system that supports organizations’ current workloads while introducing new technologies to make it easy for organizations to transit to the cloud.