Sourced Group is eyeing up cloud expansion in Southeast Asia following entry into Malaysia, the doubling of Singapore operations and key customer wins in banking and financial services during the past 12 months.
The Amazon Web Services (AWS) specialist, born in Australia but now headquartered in Canada, is open to exploring regional growth opportunities through regulated cloud, insisting “nothing’s off the table” in 2020.
While still maintaining a focus on enterprise financial institutions - the company's heritage play - priorities now extend to expanding service portfolio capabilities into new verticals such as aviation, healthcare and telecommunications.
“Last year was a big year for Sourced in Asia,” recalled Ian McMaugh, managing director of ASEAN at Sourced. “Far surpassing our initial expectations, our team saw huge growth in Singapore through the doubling of the size of our team.
"We also acquired key new relationships with some exciting customers in banking and financial services, with regulated industries also a core focus.”
In response to "strong demand”, the business launched a Malaysia branch in the second half of 2019, recording “a couple of early wins” a matter of months since opening.
Maintaining such momentum will be key for McMaugh and the team in the year ahead, with plans in place to “further accelerate” the growth of Sourced across ASEAN.
“Launching ourselves into new territories this year is a prospect we’re keen and open to, nothing’s off the table,” he acknowledged. “We have observed the respective local regulatory bodies being more receptive to having critical workloads and personal identifying information (PII) being placed on the cloud, so long as suitable controls can be demonstrated."
As 2020 kicks into gear, McMaugh - appointed to the role in May 2019 - said Sourced is experiencing “early interest” from those contending for Digital Banking Licences in Singapore, as well as similar initiatives across the region.
“Much of the technology on which the new digital banks will be based and derived from will be the cloud,” he explained. “As Sourced has specific expertise and demonstrated capability in building and securing cloud platforms and applications, at scale, for banks and regulated organisations locally and around the world, this represents an area of focus.”
In a wide-ranging interview with Channel Asia, McMaugh also reported a rise in multi- and hybrid-cloud requests from customers seeking to diversify technology bases, alongside addressing "perceived concentration risk".
“We generally advise our customers to master one cloud before trying to adopt another at any real scale,” he added. “Keeping in mind that technology evolves rapidly, and what is relevant today possibly becomes out-of-date by the end of the year, Sourced sees a key for whole latencies. Key opportunities involve, though not limited to, containerisation in optimising and accomplishing all that our clients require."
Founded in 2010 in Australia, before moving company headquarters to Canada in 2018, Sourced specialises in cloud migration, DevOps enablement and security provisioning at enterprise level.
Having migrated more than 1000 enterprise applications to the cloud - backed by over 140 cloud certifications - the business holds strategic vendor alliances with AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft, alongside Splunk, Puppet, Palo Alto Networks and Trend Micro among others.
Recently selected as a global launch partner for AWS Outposts, Sourced’s expertise within AWS especially continues to deepen, following a string of new certifications in 2019.
In July, Sourced attained public sector partner status through AWS in recognition of expertise in managing government, education and non-profit workloads on the vendor’s cloud platform.
The specialist also achieved AWS Premier Consulting Partner status in the AWS Partner Network (APN) in May, billed as the highest tier within the tech giant’s ecosystem. The status recognises consulting partners that demonstrate expertise and success in helping customers design, architect, build, migrate and manage workloads on AWS.
“For Sourced, our recipe is simple,” McMaugh added. “We pride ourselves on hiring, training and ‘creating’ great cloud engineers, and are commonly referred to as ‘the best AWS engineers’ on the island in Singapore.
“We are not a large team, but we are focused and good at what we do – which is working with the largest and most security-conscious organisations to unlock innovation through cloud computing.
“Our customers value our approach, in that we actively train their own team-members, enabling them to continue on their own once we have finished. We augment their capabilities on complex projects, rather than replacing them."
Such specialisation has afforded Sourced a high-calibre clientele base, following recent high-profile agreements with Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Certis.
Specifically, SIA engaged Sourced to help accelerate digital transformation plans, deepening capabilities within AWS Cloud.
Through the partnership - revealed to Channel Asia - the specialist consulting partner worked jointly with the premium airline to modernise application development processes through the creation of a new cloud delivery pipeline. Sourced also assisted in the migration of applications from SIA’s data centre to the AWS Cloud, backed up by training in cloud and modern DevOps practices.
Meanwhile, Certis selected Sourced as a strategic partner in the security specialist’s adoption of AWS Cloud, as part of widespread digital transformation plans. Terms of the agreement involves Sourced delivering essential cloud infrastructure and security frameworks using its Cloud at Scale Core Foundations program, built on AWS.
“We focus on high-regulated industries where we have unparalleled pedigree and capability,” McMaugh said. “Banking and financial services, as well as adjacent regulated industries such as airlines and health are our strength.
“Our customers are our strongest advocates. We just know more than anyone else, the landscape, the regulators and their expectations, and how to boot an effective cloud programme – or critical application initiative – from a cold-dead-start to hero status.”
In looking beyond “market hype”, McMaugh said cloud adoption in financial services, and other highly regulated industries, continues to “grow rapidly” due to an increase in “tangible use-cases and ‘material’ workloads”.
As a result, Sourced has witnessed a “sharp uptick” in customer demand for complex data-platforms consumed by artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, motivated by the delivery of personalised products and features.
But McMaugh was quick to acknowledge that the pace of change in cloud continues to challenge enterprise customers, customers overwhelmed by the influx of new technologies flooding the market.
“This is one of the topics that we routinely address with our customers,” he acknowledged. “The ‘rate of change’ problem, whereby IT programs can no longer be delivered in waves. Invest once, and revisit in three to five years.
“Cloud providers like AWS are releasing thousands of new features and functions per year which need to be understood and ingested for those organisations who are serious about their cloud program. One of the foundational tenants of our engagements is in teaching our customers how to build a team who can rapidly adopt these new technologies.”
The expansion strategy comes five months after Sourced closed its first round of investment with more than $22 million. Canadian-based venture capital company Round 13 Capital led the funding round, along with the US-based Comerica Bank and HSBC.
As revealed by sister publication ARN, the $22.1 million is intended to fuel Sourced’s global growth plans, in addition to funding potential acquisitions, speeding up product development and expanding current sales and marketing plans.
Sourced also recently overhauled its senior leadership ranks, with managing director of Australia and New Zealand Salma Datenis now overseeing global operations.
Datenis, who held the role since mid-2017, is now vice president of operations, a new role that sees her responsible for driving operational improvements across Sourced's international regions, which include North America and Southeast Asia.