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How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?

Being in the IT industry for many years has shaped the way I manage my everyday affairs. Being a leader is an ongoing learning process. Until today, I still seek advice from my fellow peers for certain situations. What’s really important, though, is to always learn from mistakes. Learning from other people’s mistakes is just as important.

What traits do you look for in your talent or how do you decide who is right for a job?

It is difficult to say as there’s no “one size fits all” formula. The most important thing it to look at how the person communicates, how they work with other people, the attitude towards their jobs and willingness to work in a team. Technical sets can always be trained but to me the personality is more important.

How do you think the industry you are in will evolve in the future?

The IT industry is constantly evolving, just that it has been happening at breakneck speed in recent years. Even the time taken for product releases has been greatly shortened. It used to take years from a new technology’s conception to its release into the general market. Now, it’s all a matter of months, even weeks, as users are constantly demanding new levels of innovation through such product releases.

What advice can you offer those looking to start their career/own business?

Perseverance and determination are factors that determine success, no two ways about it. Also, get a mentor. It can be anyone. It can also be your fellow partners to guide you along the right career path.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional life?

It has made a major impact in my professional life and it is also reassuring to know that others also face the same challenges that I go through in life and business. That said, my mentors have always emphasised to me that there is always a solution for any given challenge – one just needs to look hard and be equally determined to find the solution.

We all know about the industrial revolution, are we in for a technological revolution ? Your thoughts.

Yes, and without a shadow of doubt. We are already progressing fast into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. When it comes to artificial intelligence, robotics and Internet of Things, such technologies have now become mainstream realities as businesses leverage on automation and machine learning to enhance efficiencies and improve profitability.

What do you want to accomplish in the next five years?

Frankly, to balance work and life! It’s been extremely hectic on the work front in recent years, and I am pleased that some of our efforts had come to fruition. AVM Cloud’s biggest achievement thus far was when Time dotCom Bhd acquired a majority stake in our company earlier this year.

On the corporate front, it is my aim to further establish AVM as one of Malaysia’s “trusted cloud provider partners” – especially for multi-hybrid cloud strategies. We work closely with international technology leaders like VMware, and are strongly positioned with innovative technologies that provide security, speed, flexibility, and scalability organisations require to adapt and thrive under any circumstances.

With a multi-cloud approach, businesses would enjoy lower cost of tapping into public clouds, while maintaining the respective benefits that come with on-premises architecture and private cloud options. This is also because the hybrid cloud provides an alternative for storing sensitive data: A company might provide services via a public cloud, while keeping sensitive information on a private cloud.

Managing a multi-cloud environment, however, can be a challenge for organisations, as well as increased costs and protecting workloads. Improving operational governance and automating core processes are also high priorities to solve. This is where Time and AVM come in to help customers with these concerns.

Best piece of advice you ever received on your career.

Choose carefully whom you share your vision with. This advice came from a customer, who was concerned that competitors may “steal” my ideas and make them theirs.

Most-admired business leader? Why?

Alibaba founder Jack Ma. He believed in his inner abilities and the strength found within the human spirit. He also took care of his team. Whomever he brought along the way also succeeded, and he made sure of it.

How do you stay abreast of issues affecting your industry?

Social media channels and frequent networking with various industry leaders.

If you could have an hour with any thought leader in the world, who would it be and why?

Barack Obama. His grace, eloquence, ability to express his emotions and dedication to his family are admirable traits. Obama embodies grace the way he conducts himself – with grace. His eloquence, speech patterns, tone, inflection and the words he uses have inspired countless people across the world. I’ve witnessed four decades of presidents, yet he is the first to be strong and secure enough to openly cry about heart-breaking situations. His love for and complete dedication to his wife and daughters is unwavering and enduring. More men should aspire to be like him.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced? What did you learn from it?

Dealing with different types of characters, especially a particular leader who drove me up the wall; yet I needed his support and to win him over in the best interests of AVM Cloud. That was really some lesson in learning patience! And that was the irony: Learning patiently to learn all about patience.

How do you expect policies on climate change to impact businesses in the future?

When there is a climate change, there should be government policies to address such problem and challenges. In my view, the corporate sector should diligently embark on corporate social responsibility activities to address sustainability on a regular basis.

For companies that continue to pollute the environment, they should be made to pay for the damage caused, like payments based on utility-related expenses such as increases in electricity or water. This would be a way to manage the pollution.

What man-made innovation confounds you? Why?

The internet. It is unlimited, made the world smaller and borderless, and was the catalyst for many breakthrough innovations in recent years.

Malaysia’s greatest brand.

Time dotCom. My fellow valued partner and Time “commander-in-chief” Afzal Abdul Rahim is a visionary leader who painstakingly built Time into the strong entity it is today. And I feel humbled and honoured that AVM Cloud is now part of his portfolio and team.

A must-read for every business owner/manager is …

The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly. It is a book that predicts the 12 technological forces expected to shape the world in the next 30 years.

What are the top three factors you would attribute your success to?

Timing and, dare I say it, luck with regard to technology, people, and customers. If you work with the right people, you get things done. You listen to the customer’s needs; you also get things done. It really is that simple.

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