iTruMart

What can cloud do for you? What do you need to avoid? In this second of the three interviews of the ‘Learn from the Pro’ series, where we will ask tech leaders to share their cloud learning, Khun Chaiwat Ratanaprateepporn, Chief Technology Officer of Ascend Group talks challenges and criticality of cloud.

Here are the edited excerpts:

Khun Chaiwat Ratanaprateepporn

Khun Chaiwat Ratanaprateepporn

What are the key challenges that drove you to the cloud?

We are expanding very fast in terms of number of users. To meet this need, the investment and infrastructure requirements pushed us to look at non-traditional options, which is where the cloud comes in.

Second is the competitiveness in e-commerce. We strive to provide differentiation to serve our customers better. Cloud helps us develop products that enable better time-to-market.

Last but not the least, our reason to move to the cloud was international expansion. Earlier, if we wanted to expand to a new country, we had to fly there, hire staff, rent datacentre space, train people, build the infrastructure – that’s the traditional on-premise way. We wanted a better way to manage this and hence we looked to cloud.

Why did you choose AWS as your cloud partner?

We were looking for three things: First, being speed. Our growth has been tremendous… Our e-commerce offering iTrueMart saw 1,000 per cent growth from October last year to October this year.

Additionally, it is seeing 50 per cent month-on-month growth. We obviously need to expand for this. Traditional procurement process was a no-go for us as we did not have the time or resources for it. We looked at our options and realised that AWS had the best technology that suited our ecosystem.

We wanted a technology that would enable our development process as we build our own solutions. Some players could answer one or two aspect of what we wanted, but AWS met most of our requirements.

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What is the biggest mistake you made in your cloud adoption? Please share learnings for young startups.

Management of the cloud system requires different skill sets. Enterprises have certain processes which cannot be plugged into a cloud setup. So, while going to the cloud mindsets have to change.

How long did the implementation take? What is the biggest takeaway?

It took us three months. We started in January and finished end of March. First week of April, we started operations.

The biggest benefit we got is cost savings. For example, our e-commerce site sees peak hours from say noon till 2 PM, from then till 5 PM is slower, 5 PM to 10 PM is again peak, and it is almost quiet during the night.

So, cloud helps in capacity scaling. At night we have very few servers and during peak time, we expand our capacity to handle the traffic. Cloud computing helps in saving really big money.

We estimate just for the iTrueMart project, AWS cloud offering helped us save US$100,000 just on capex. In addition, it helped us save three months on speed of development.

Read the first part of the series, where we talk to iFlix’s Ash Crick, here.

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