When Alibaba signed the strategic investment agreement in 2018 to become the largest shareholder and renamed it Whale Cloud, what we got is much more than a new corporate home and a new brand. More importantly, it marked a new chapter in the company’s history, opening doors to new opportunities, but also demanding the company to once again renew itself.
After more than 15 years’ solid growth, Whale Cloud has established itself as a leader in offering full suite digital services to telecom operators. In particular, the company has been recognised for its excellence in providing industry leading BSS and OSS solutions to the customers in the telecom industry. This has been epitomised both in the accolades we won (Frost & Sullivan global customer value leader award 2016, OSS innovation and best digital transformation recommendation awards 2017, to name but two recent ones), and the long list of satisfied customers (more than 150 telecom operators in over 80 countries, connecting 3.5 billion consumers).
Over the last decade or so, almost all telecom operators have recognised the need and the desirability of digital transformation, but to actually carry it out is not easy. Although every operator is different from the next, the difficulties they run into typically fall into these categories:
- Outdated IT system unable to support the transformation
- High opex, high error rate
- Lack of efficient billing system to attract ecosystem partners
The solutions from Whale Cloud have been able to address these issues and beyond. These mainly include:
- Enabling digital business with IT systems covering BSS, OSS, Analytics & BI, to both standardise and streamline all the components to automate processes, reduce error rates, and lower opex. Customers can also choose to integrate Whale Cloud’s solutions in their existing IT landscape
- Operator billing system, a key component of BSS suite, is delivered as one-stop solution to manage the operator’s different assets, which is especially meaningful for multi-play operators. It is also critical for operators to provide comprehensive service packages to the customers, as well as attract content and service partners to the platform
- Depending on their needs, we have also provided customers with different configurations of infrastructure, including PaaS, IaaS, SaaS, and BPaaS
All the expertise that has served us, and our customers, so well in the telecom industry in the last 15 years will not disappear following the establishment of the Alibaba partnership. Alibaba has had its own industry leading cloud service, Alibaba Cloud. Now with Whale Cloud brought into the fold, the two platforms will not compete with each other. Instead we will collaborate and complement each other.
Although both Alibaba Cloud and Whale Cloud are digital transformation providers, our focuses are different. Alibaba Cloud, riding on its webscale technologies and ecosystem, is a platform to make doing business easy everywhere. Specifically, its strengths lie in the massive scalability, global footprint and ambition, and rich ecosystem.
Whale Cloud, on the other hand, will continue to be a cloud native transformation provider. This is supported by our full business and operational enablement solutions, our deep knowledge on industry business and operation processes, and our industry leading cloud native architectures (V9). On top of our strong position and long track record of supporting telecom operators, Whale Cloud will be able to enrich its offerings by drawing on Alibaba’s technology advantages and industry knowledge to boost the digital economy and will be able to expand the service to even broader range of industrial customers.
In addition to continuously improve the service to our customers in telecom, we have also identified two categories of key vertical industries to strengthen our offers. The first is enterprise market, in particular smart factory, finance, and retail. The second is related to smart city, including smart transport, smart government, security, and environment.
To support the new ambitions, Whale Cloud has established three business groups: the first is the telecom business group to bolster our traditional stronghold; the second group is focused on intelligence & big data, which will also be the company’s incubator for innovative businesses; the third group will be dedicated to serve the vertical industries.
Together with all the ongoing and upcoming changes, there are also something that will remain constant. Our commitment to R&D will not change. We have developed 16 expertise centres across the world and have consistently invested 10% of revenues in R&D work. This will continue. $150 million will be invested in the coming three years with focus on AI, smart city, and cloud computing applications. As a matter of fact, we have already started reaping rewards from the investment. For example, we are already involved in over 120 smart city projects in 12 countries, and are recognised as one of the world’s leading data infrastructure provider for smart cities and smart transport.
Also remain unchanged will be our customer centric culture. This is embedded in everything we do and has been appreciated by our customers. It is probably best summarised by Kee Yaw Yee, the CIO of StarHub, one of our longest-term partners. “StarHub has been doing business with Whale Cloud for over a decade. We’ve witnessed the company grow both in size and ability, and our relationship has gotten to be more than business. With Whale Cloud as our trusted partner, we’re advancing together with growth and diversification.” Customer centricity has carried us to where we are, and it will continue to take us forward.