For most entrepreneurs - whether established or aspiring - the words of Mark Twain carry significant weight in the world of start-ups; “find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
Sound advice from the father of American literature perhaps, but in downtown Ho Chi Minh City, Ms. Hong Tran sees the world a little differently.
“I believe that the more you love your job, the harder you’ll work, but you will always achieve fulfilment,” said Ms Hong, speaking as founder, chairperson and CEO of TechX, an emerging Amazon Web Services (AWS) partner in Vietnam. “In my career, I’ve learnt that you can only do well with what you love. In order to achieve maximum productivity, you must be passionate about what you do.”
Such passion is on display at TechX, an AWS managed services business which Ms. Hong built from the ground up, scaling from 0-50 employees within the space of four months, 39 of which now carry deep cloud specialisation expertise.
“I am proud of what my team and I have been able to achieve at TechX,” Ms. Hong added. “We are continuing our trajectory of becoming the first AWS Premium Partner in Vietnam and will achieve it within 2020.”
Unveiled to the market in January 2020, TechX specialises in the delivery of cloud transformation projects across Vietnam, with a specific focus on digital, data and customer experience solutions, wrapped up in a managed services offerings.
In 2021, the business will be rolling out TechX-Cloud, an X-as-a-Service marketplace designed to help connect software and service providers with businesses from around the world. The aim? To help individuals and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) "get off the ground even faster", in the words of Ms. Hong.
“We will also expand our education services as AWS’s only Academy Partner in Vietnam and will launch several key products that will help our current clients solve their business problems in a more efficient manner," she said. "In parallel, we will continue to expand our advanced services team that have been busy helping our clients with their digital transformation journey.”
According to Ms. Hong, the Vietnamese enterprise market is poised for cloud mass migration but currently lacks "qualified partners" to guide customers during the transformation process. Hence the creation of TechX, launched with the aim of helping businesses become more agile and flexible through the cloud, while also managing increased complexity via managed services offerings.
“I believe in building configurable solutions that help our clients achieve speed and agility in their business,” she explained. “That is why I also believe in the AWS philosophy, we share the same customer focus and we both preach that one of the most important benefits of the cloud is business agility.
"TechX partners exclusively with AWS for all our products and services, and we believe that such focus and deep knowledge and experience is necessary to help our clients achieve their business outcomes. Our commitment to AWS and to the Vietnam market is founded in the belief that this is the future for Vietnamese businesses, and we are here to help.”
Leveraging almost two decades of engineering and management experience, Ms. Hong has deep expertise within the local enterprise market, recognised for delivering exceptional leadership both at corporate and entrepreneur levels.
Such expertise was acknowledged through her recent honouring in the Shining Star (Country) category during the inaugural Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) in 2020, recognising and celebrating female excellence across Southeast Asia.
More than 160 individuals tuned in live to celebrate the achievements of a talented group of female front runners who have become influential technology figures across Southeast Asia, reflective of IDG’s increasing commitment to the region.
Specific to Ms. Hong, the Shining Star award - which recognises candidates with eight years or more experience within the industry. - acknowledges “notable achievements” during a successful career in technology, evident through promotion, successful projects or company initiatives.
“I studied Telecommunications Engineering at university,” recalled Ms. Hong, when outlining her path to a career within the industry. “Upon graduation, I stayed at the university to lecture for two years but at that point, I wanted to move away from academia and try my hands at the private sector so I joined a small local systems integration firm.”
When Ms. Hong joined CMC Corporation, the business housed 30 staff with annual revenue of $500,000, before helping expand the organisation to $100 million with over 450 employees.
Ms. Hong briefly departed to spend three years as channel director of Hewlett Packard Enterprise across Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, before returning to CMC to expand the business further. More than seven years later, TechX launched to the market.
“It’s a natural continuation of my career to focus my energy on solving digital transformation challenges for my clients,” she added. “I didn’t know I would work in the IT field when I was at university.
"My career started as a university lecturer but upon joining the IT sector, I have learnt to love working with clients across many industries, helping customers in managing their IT so that they can focus on managing their core business. Solving their problems is what keeps me up at night and what I wake to in the morning."
For Ms. Hong, modern-day leaders - whether female or male - must have three key attributes to succeed; integrity, intelligence and initiative.
“Integrity - honesty, virtual and morality - can make or break you in the professional world and leaders must lead their people with integrity in everything they do,” she advised. “And you must possess the intelligence to know what needs to be done and when to seek counsel.
“Initiative also distinguishes a leader between those that do what they are told (or know) and those that constantly find new ways to solve business problems. Without all three of these traits, it's extremely difficult for modern-day technology executives to be successful in a flat, post-Covid 19 world."
According to Ms. Hong, the most long-lasting and beneficial career guidance she received centred around the concept of; “always do right by your customers, partners and employees”. And for aspiring females seeking a career in technology, her advice is simple; “go for it”.
“Females are under-represented in the technology sector but the meticulous detail-oriented nature of females is very suited to this field,” Ms. Hong added. “Recently I have formed a group 'Vietnam Women in ICT' to promote and empower women in a male-dominated sector. I want to help bring positive strong female role models for the next generation by celebrating female achievements."