Searce is gearing up for a year of market expansion and growth across Southeast Asia in 2021 and beyond, shaped by a revamped consultancy strategy and a portfolio primarily built on Google Cloud technologies.
Motivated by a desire to expand beyond system integration roots, the specialist provider is leveraging deep technological expertise to build out advisory capabilities in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, more than two years after launching regionally in late 2018.
Central to such efforts is a double-layered consultancy team comprising of field and practice divisions in a move designed to provide customers with a “wider perspective” from both industry and technology.
“We are not just a system integrator but a niche technology consulting player,” said Ankit Sinha, vice president of Searce. “We are also providing a wide range of services which drives business growth for customers and cannot be provided by a single product.”
Underpinned by an internal ethos of continuously trying “new-age” technology solutions, Sinha acknowledged that simply advising customers to buy vendor solutions represents a futile endeavour in the modern-day, understanding that end-users require more than resell alone.
Such an admission from a recent Reseller Partner of the Year - awarded by Google Cloud across Asia Pacific and Japan in 2018 - may appear self-deprecating at first glance, but under the surface, a more strategic approach to customer value is at play.
“We believe the key to becoming a successful technology provider is A-E-O,” added Sinha, when speaking exclusively to Channel Asia. “This includes the agility to support ever-changing requirements, having experience in both legacy and digital businesses to drive transformation initiatives and being outcome-orientated to ensure the highest levels of return on investment for customers.”
Founded in 2004, Searce as a business is split into three core practices, spanning a dedicated cloud division, a focus on business process improvement and automation in addition to data, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) expertise.
Within this construct, the Premier Partner of Google Cloud houses more than 250 cloud experts serving over 3000 customers across more than 20 industries through the delivery of consulting, managed services and system integration offerings. In addition to Google Cloud, key vendor alliances also include Amazon Web Services (AWS) - as an Advanced Consulting Partner - alongside Freshworks, Backupify, CloudCodes, Okta and UiPath among others.
Geographically speaking, the Indian-born provider now calls Cupertino home in the US, with market expansion into North America, UK and Ireland also a high priority, alongside Southeast Asia ambitions.
“We are a beyond consulting business with futuristic technology in our DNA,” Sinha outlined. “We are continually investing in building solutions that span across industries and solve specific business problems.“
For example, Recognic is a document AI software product powered by Cloud Vision - a Google Cloud developer tool - which works to index, organise, store and extract intelligence from documents.
“Our AI models sit on top of Google Cloud APIs, making them consumable for clients,” Sinha said. “We are excited about the potential in the document AI space and have been seeing great results so far.”
Delving deeper within the technology stack, Sinha said the business continues to build out capabilities specific to Kubernetes-based deployments to support microservices and multi- and hybrid cloud strategies, in addition to DevOps automation and enterprise data lake roll-outs and modernisation projects. This is supported by work on downstream analytics use cases through the provider’s Cloud for Marketing Analytics and Apigee practices, once again leveraging Google Cloud technologies.
“We have also been enabling digital innovation and specialise in infrastructure, data and application modernisation with a strong legacy of building repeatable services and product solutions to automate processes,” Sinha explained.
“In an industry which is constantly churning out updated technology and revamping go-to market strategies and shifting priorities, we want to maintain consistency through our more than decade-long focus on building the right foundations. This includes gathering deep domain expertise and continuing to deliver business value through unique services and technology solutions.”
Since officially entering Southeast Asia in late 2018, Searce has spent more than two years building a solid foundation for growth across the region, underpinned by a focus on talent recruitment and customer success stories.
Moving forward, plans are now in plans to “ease cloud journeys” for enterprise and mid-market organisations with a deepened workload focus on infrastructure migration, application modernisation and data strategy execution.
“We have seen an acceleration of cloud migration journeys due to Covid-19,” Sinha observed. “We are adopting a consultative approach to such requirements and are trying to align technology solutions with business goals as return on investment [ROI] expectations are very high given the situation. Hence our focus has shifted on becoming more outcome-oriented instead of just being a system integrator.”
Driven largely by a shift to cloud, more than 65 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) across Asia Pacific is expected to be digitised within the next three years as the enterprise accelerates recovery plans post-pandemic.
Offering a ray of sunshine amid an otherwise gloomy forecast, fast-tracked digital transformation investments are expected to create “economic gravity” with regional technology spending set to hit US$1.2 trillion between 2020 and 2023.
That’s according to IDC, which claims that while the immediate Covid-19 crisis is past, recovery from economic, social and business disruptions will dominate investment decisions during the next five years.
“Customer focus has been on ‘must have vs. good to have’ due to Covid-19 and hence there has been some changes in priorities for data projects unless critical to business operations,” Sinha said. “The focus will remain on having a modernised infrastructure and applications via the cloud that can scale as per business requirements and can provide the most robust and lean operations teams which includes DevOps, SecOps and GitOps automation.”
Within the context of the current landscape, Searce is prioritising digital natives as a core customer base, evident through a 75 per cent reduction in query processing time for India-based LifeSight leveraging Big Query and migrating 2500 users to G Suite within 11 weeks at Bizzy, also located in India.
In addition to Google Cloud, AWS expertise is also on display through Bizzy this time creating a data lake to centralise 13 data sources to streamline real-time information across more than 6000 stock-keeping units and 6-7 layers of pricing and promotions to better serve over 179,000 customers.
“Tying business goals with technology initiatives still remains a challenge,” Sinha acknowledged. “Despite the investments, technology solutions and products have not been successful in achieving the desired business objectives due to a disconnect between business and technology teams.”
For Sinha, companies which have the “right sync” between these two functions are seeing improved performance and results following technology deployments, especially in relation to cloud.
“In the short- to medium-term, and specific to the ‘buy vs. build’ conundrum, it’s also very important to have the right balance in terms of strategy,” Sinha added. “We suggest the ‘build’ part should be limited to core competencies and the rest of the gap be filled through product or easy-to-assemble solutions from key cloud providers."