‘The Private Sector Market is Stronger than the Public Sector’s’: IT Specialist

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 18 February 2016

RANGOON — US-based software provider VMware entered Burma last year. Tun Tun Lin, territory manager of VMware’s Burmese branch, has worked for the company for more than five years and is now expanding its local market. He graduated from California’s San Jose State University with a degree in computer engineering and later earned a master’s in Business Administration from the University of Santa Clara. He spoke with The Irrawaddy this week about the up-and-coming IT business in Burma and the future development of the country’s mobility sector, which would allow companies to access their work and data from mobile devices.

You have said that the software platform known as “VMware Workspace One” has big potential in Burma to serve as a mobility solution. What makes you believe this is so?

We got the top customers after we entered the Burmese market. For example, [we work with] Telenor and Ooredoo, from the telecommunications industry, and KBZ, CB and MOB in banking. We had to meet frequently with them to discuss what their business objectives would be in the next year. Telenor and Ooredoo want to transform their businesses through mobility and we are providing solutions for them. So, we can speak confidently about the market’s potential. Our app will gain a bigger market this year as the country has opened up and more foreign investments are likely to come in. The more foreign investment the country receives, the more data centers we have to build. The two are directly related.

What is the advantage of this software compared to the traditional data storage systems that most of the businesses in Burma are still using?

There are three advantages. The app can greatly increase productivity. With this platform, staff no longer need to sit in front of a computer to access data. Instead, they can use any device. Data is stored in the cloud and you can access your data anytime, anywhere, securely. Even if you lose your device, your data will not be lost. It will provide huge convenience for company staff.

Every foreign investor making investments in Burma says that infrastructure is poor in the country. What difficulties has VMware faced because of this?

We are a company that will improve the infrastructure. We want to take part in building data centers for the improvement of infrastructure. The connectivity has been very good as of last year. Telenor and Ooredoo can now utilize our platform. In addition, for banks, they have set up direct fiber cables between the headquarters and their branches, so we can provide our service easily. Previously, when the connectivity was not so good, companies were not able to utilize good solutions, which need good internet connections. But now the connectivity is good and they can use our platform effectively. Several internet service provider licenses have been issued now and they can use our solutions in building data centers. I have high expectations for this. I hope my country will develop by leaps and bounds within next five years.

You said your major customers are banks and telecommunications operators.  Which are your target customers and what will be the new business model?

Mainly, we would like to get into the education and health care markets. Universities can use data centers for teaching and learning. Hospitals can also use our services. Moreover, our solutions are also effective for e-government initiatives. Our software will also be used in building data centers for the Parliament. There is plenty of space for digitizing government functions. At present, the government’s functions are largely done on paper, but will be computerized later. Then they will be able to work more effectively. For the time being, the private sector market is stronger than that of the public sector. The private sector needs to take actions immediately, whereas the government adopts a long-term plan and transforms step by step.

Who will be your rivals, globally and locally?

In the international market, Microsoft and Citric are competitors, but we offer different services. It can be said that we have no competitor against our platform as a whole. There is no local competitor. Mainly, they develop applications and we then create a platform to use those apps, so we are different.

What is the major objective for VMware in entering the Burmese market?

While I was working [for VMware] in the US, I asked the CEO why they still had not entered Burma’s market. They have been monitoring Burma since the country opened up in 2011. We entered Burma last year. We entered ten ASEAN countries at the same time. And, among ASEAN countries, the market for our platform is growing the fastest in Burma. We have plans to expand our business.