By K. Raman, Managing Director, Microsoft Malaysia
Since the announcement of the nationwide Movement Control Order (MCO), The Malaysian business landscape has undergone rapid transformation in terms of the way they operate. For most businesses, the MCO meant rolling out their business continuity plans (BCP), to transition from traditional work routines to remote working. This shift tested the preparedness of organizations across the nation for remote work, as investment into technology (both hardware and software) and skills development needed to take place at an unprecedented pace. These are but a few of the ingredients needed to enable remote working; but one key ingredient that is often understated is access to the internet.
Indeed, internet connectivity and ubiquitous broadband have undoubtedly become the lifeblood of BCP and a seamless internet connection is crucial to almost every Malaysian to continue working from home.
I myself am no exception to this. Like most Malaysians, I’ve been juggling full-time remote work and family obligations amidst the MCO — no easy feat with 4 children (who would prefer to be called young adults). 3 of my children who were studying overseas flew home prior to the MCO. As schools and dorms have also made the shift to remote learning, they have been continuing their studies online via e-Learning. There are times when all of us are simultaneously connected to the internet to attend classes, meetings or to simply connect with friends and family who are living far away, and much like other families, scuffles over insufficient bandwidth do occasionally erupt (the daughter usually wins). Nonetheless, I am constantly grateful for the internet connectivity in my home, especially at this point in time when much of our work and education depends on it.
But not everyone has access to internet – in fact, this was one of the commonly heard challenges my colleagues and I frequently hear from our customers. The sudden shift to remote working added more pressure to businesses that had not previously invested in internet accessibility, as they now need to ensure their employees have connectivity to access all the solutions required to work and communicate from home. This may be cost business a lot of money, and unfortunately there are many who simply cannot afford it.
Enhancing access to internet
In acknowledgement of the challenges Malaysians people and organizations were facing, the government introduced the “Prihatin” economic stimulus package to help the nation cope with the changes brought forth by the MCO. In addition to a moratorium on loan repayments, deferment of income tax instalment payments and wage subsidies for SMEs, the stimulus package catered for up-to 1GB of high speed internet to be provided daily for all postpaid and prepaid customers of Celcom, Digi, Maxis and U Mobile during the enforcement of the MCO.
It is indisputable that while our solutions can help enhance collaboration and productivity while working remotely, a stable internet connection is mandatory – and the government’s decision to provide free access to internet throughout the MCO period is most certainly welcomed, and is a great boost for the work we are doing here at Microsoft, along with our partners in the Telco industry.
Collaborating with Malaysian Telco’s
Over the past 25 years of our presence in Malaysia, we have built strong relationships with numerous Malaysian Telcos to help in our mission to empower every person and organization in the country to achieve more, In the wake of the MCO, we once again rallied together with our partners, including Telekom Malaysia, Celcom and Maxis, to pinpoint the needs of business and provide solutions that directly address their challenges. To this end, we are proud of our collaboration with them, as we know that it serves a cause greater than us – one that will benefit Malaysia as a whole.
- As the leading internet solutions provider in Malaysia, TM had the reach needed to provide organizations across Malaysia with the solutions they needed to stay productive at work during the MCO. TM ONE SaaS was designed to provide an all-in-one solution to businesses by offering Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Office 365 E1 free for six months, lessening the burden on businesses that needed to make the transition to remote working urgently.
- With Celcom, we are offering free unlimited access to Microsoft Office 365 to all their postpaid Xpax customers during work hours (8am to 6pm), daily. Businesses that subscribe to Celcom can fully leverage the collaborative applications of Office 365, among which is Microsoft Teams – the perfect platform to enable remote working whilst enhancing productivity.
- Similarly, our partnership with Maxis earlier this year saw the launch of Microsoft Teams Unified Communications. This has now been offered as a free solution to Maxis Business subscribers. It enables free data usage for Skype and Microsoft Teams starting from the 27th of March as well as 6 months free subscription for Managed Unified Communications via Microsoft Teams for Teams Phone System and Teams Calling packages.
Microsoft’s commitment to the Malaysian business community
Comforted with the knowledge that our partners hard at work at keeping Malaysia connected, we were then able to focus our efforts on how we can best support business during the MCO. We have been diligently working with our teams across the globe to solve hurdles that businesses are facing in these challenging times. One of the first steps we had taken, much prior to the MCO, was making Teams available to everyone, for absolutely no cost. We see this offer benefiting business that does not currently have a license for Teams, to whom we are also extending free Office 365 E1 offer for six months – with Teams as part of this package alongside various other work productivity tools.
Our priority at Microsoft has always been our partners and customers. We strive to do everything we can to ensure that our nation can carry on as usual once the MCO is lifted, investing a lot of our efforts in ensuring that alongside the shift to digital platforms, security and privacy remains at the top of our agenda. We understand that businesses of all sizes are dependent on our solutions to provide critical services, sometimes to even save lives. Be it the education, government, or healthcare sector, it is vital that organizations have the peace of mind that their data is stored and used privately and securely.
Trust has always been the essence of all our solutions, and it is one of the key pillars in our mission of empowerment. At Microsoft, privacy and security is never an afterthought, but a commitment to you – not just in this challenging time, but always.
As we navigate through these difficult times, we will continue to aid Malaysia in every way we can. Together with our partners from the public and private sector, we aim to keep our nation empowered, productive and secure. I believe that a better future is waiting for us beyond the MCO; through technology and collaboration, I know we can come out stronger than we were before.
Stay strong Malaysia!
Featured image designed by slidesgo at Freepik.