Already a leader in Malaysia’s burgeoning cloud services and solutions sector when it was acquired by Time dotCom, one of the region’s largest fixed-line communications companies in 2021, AVM Cloud recently became one of the select group of providers who offer VMware Cloud Verified Services to earn the VMware Sovereign Cloud distinction.

Originally known as Integrated Global Solutions Technologies, AVM Cloud has a long relationship with VMware going back to 2010.

David Chan, CEO, AVM Cloud

AVM Cloud

AVM Cloud’s CEO David Chan explains that “being named VMware’s Hybrid Cloud Provider of the Year FY 2018 reflected our commitment to provide customers with choices that enable them to optimize their unique cloud journey and in many ways our decision to pursue and earn the VMware Sovereign Cloud distinction is a natural progression of that effort. Now our customers can choose to have their data safely and securely kept, maintained, and safeguarded by Malaysian citizens in Malaysian territory.”

Chan notes that AVM Cloud’s commitment to providing enterprises with choices is readily apparent in the depth and breadth of the company’s portfolio. This includes not only its hybrid cloud products, but also the private AVM Cloud offered in multi-tenant and dedicated versions, Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service, the company’s Fusion backup to cloud solution, and AVM’s Cloud-In-A-Box – a ready-made offering that lets organizations deploy a private cloud with robust security features on premises or in a co-located data center.

Notably, AVM Cloud also offers a number of custom cloud solutions. This includes an ever-growing portfolio of cloud-native applications based on VMware Tanzu.

Chan says AVM Cloud’s top priority in achieving its status was to be able to cater to full spectrum of customers’ workloads, including those that are best served when data resides in, is safeguarded in, and is managed and maintained within sovereign territory without intervention from foreign entities

Sovereignty is increasingly a priority for many organizations in Malaysia. In the case of AVM Cloud, this includes customers in numerous industries, including financial services and manufacturing.

“The regulatory requirements on sovereign cloud are still nascent and developing in Malaysia,” he says. Data sovereignty is reflected in existing legal and policy frameworks which encompass a comprehensive, cross-sectional framework to protect personal data in commercial transactions and play an important role in helping companies address data sovereignty issues.

These issues are directly addressed by the five criteria and numerous requirements that must be met to achieve the VMware Sovereign Cloud distinction: data sovereignty and jurisdiction control, data access and integrity, data security and compliance, data independence and mobility, and data innovation and analytics. AVM Cloud addresses each of them.

“Our sovereign clouds are architected and built to deliver security and data access that meets the strict requirements of regulated industries and local jurisdiction laws on data privacy, access, and control,” Chan says. “We deliver this national capability for digital resilience while still enabling our customers to access a hyperscale cloud in another region for ancillary workloads or analytics. In this way, Malaysian companies can demonstrate to their customers that they value their trust and treat their personal data with the utmost care. Ultimately, this commitment will benefit all Malaysian citizens.”

Learn more about AVM Cloud and its partnership with VMware here.

Cloud Management, IT Leadership

A 2020 report from McKinsey found that companies with stronger gender diversity numbers were 25% more likely to outperform their less diverse competition. Yet, while companies have placed a greater emphasis on addressing the gender gap of late, women remain largely underrepresented in IT positions.

Here, a number of factors are at play, not the least of which are IT workplace cultures that have a long way to go. A 2017 poll in the Pew Research Center report found that 50% of women said they had experienced gender discrimination at work, while only 19% of men said the same. The numbers were even higher for women with a postgraduate degree (62%), working in computer jobs (74%) or in male-dominated workplaces (78%). When asked whether their gender made it harder to succeed at work, 20% of women said yes and 36% said sexual harassment is a problem in their workplace.

While diversity still lags in the IT industry, McKinsey has found that organizations leading the way with DEI strategies are making significant gains over those that “have yet to embrace diversity.” Given the value diversity has for business outcomes, it’s more important than ever to have a serious strategy for creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace, which has become a vital factor for recruiting, hiring, and retaining workers, especially women.

For IT organizations looking to make a difference on gender diversity, or for women seeking to develop rich IT careers, several nonprofits have been created to empower and uplift those who identify as women in IT, improving gender diversity in the industry, and closing the pay gap between men and women. Here are three of note.

Ada Developers Academy bridges the app-dev gender gap

Ada Developers Academy was started in 2013 as a nonprofit no-cost coding school to support women and gender-expansive adults who want to embark on careers in software development. The organization is focused on improving diversity in software development positions, of which only 25% are currently held by women, with only 3% of those women being Black and 2% Hispanic or LatinX.

The program starts with six months of training and educational courses and followed by a paid internship to gain hands-on experience. During the six-month training portion, students commit full-time to learning full-stack software development, including skills such as Python, SQL, JavaScript, and React.

The program also helps students prepare for what they may face in a male-dominated industry, and they are paired with mentors in the industry who are typically alumni of the program. Ada Developers Academy also offers training and support to corporate partners to help them build inclusive environments, retain diverse workforces, and foster a welcoming corporate culture.

Academy graduate Mariya Burrows says that she was surprised by the level of support offered during the program. She had access to a personal tutor, an industry mentor, and an Ada Developers Academy mentor.

“I was never stuck on anything for too long because I had multiple avenues of support. This amount of support really surprised me. I completed graduate school prior and didn’t have this level of resources and support. I am, and have always been, blown away by what Ada can offer students as a nonprofit organization,” says Burrows, who now works as a software engineer at RealSelf.

WIT Mentor-Protégé program empowers women in tech

To help advance the careers of women in IT, the Women In Tech (WIT) Mentor-Protégé program offers members access to women mentors in IT leadership roles. The program offers transitional help for women pivoting to tech careers from another industry or who are getting back into tech after taking time off. WIT aims to help women gain confidence when getting into or back into the tech workforce, which, given the the male-dominated of the field, can be a daunting transition, especially when women find themselves among the only women on an IT team.

Protégés who enter the program meet with mentors over the course of five months, rotating between four mentors. They also attend networking events, lectures, and smaller group sessions to work on career goals outside of the meetings with their mentors. Mentors and protégés are matched by program liaisons based on interests, goals, and experience and there’s no prescribed structures for the mentor-mentee relationship.

While mentorship is often thought of taking place within an organization, there’s a lot to gain having mentors who work outside your company. WIT offers this opportunity to connect with peers in IT who can offer unique insights, especially for women who may not have women mentors in their own company. The WIT Mentor-Protégé program ultimately offers more than mentorship — it’s about creating a community for women in technology to come together to inspire, support, and encourage one another.

“Having spent time overcoming biases and disproving stereotypes in my past, being with like-minded strong and resilient women made me feel as if I had found a home whose members understood my struggles as well as each other’s and supported one another to foster a temporary respite from the professional conflicts within the working environment,” says Ping McKenna, an electrical engineer at TRW.

WiSTEM: Inspiring young women to pursue STEM careers

Women in STEM (WiSTEM) is an international organization dedicated to empowering young women to pursue STEM careers. It offers two programs: one that connects high school–aged girls with professional or college-aged women who are working in STEM, and another that connects high school–aged girls from WiSTEM’s globally dispersed chapters to give them a sense of community with peers their same age.

WiSTEM is growing fast, having added 40 new chapters in 2020, including 381 new members in the US and four new countries. As the program grows, so does the alumni network, which serves as a resource for mentorship for young girls and women in STEM. A main focus of the organization is to promote an interest in STEM for young girls and teens, showing them early on that there’s a path forward and a place for them in the tech industry. WiStem works to break stereotypes and ingrained social attitudes that keep girls and young women from pursing STEM careers.

WiSTEM Director of development Laura Sabrosa started out as a WiSTEM ambassador as a high school student in Brazil, where there were not “many resources to encourage girls to pursue STEM.” After forming her WiSTEM chapter, Sabrosa began by giving lessons on STEM to underprivileged girls in her community, handing out educational materials, and leading by example to show girls that STEM can be fun.

Ambassadors of WiSTEM help create more interest for young girls and women who might not otherwise be exposed to STEM topics. As the community of alumni grow, the program continues to offer support and community to those who find themselves isolated in their STEM and IT careers.

Diversity and Inclusion, IT Training , Mentoring, Nonprofits, Women in IT

Technology is changing how healthcare and life sciences organizations operate.  With more information and analytics to find the “meaning” from the data resource, these organizations are making breakthroughs in therapies, discoveries, and patient outcomes.  This blog details the key points from a recent podcast with Richard Kramer, Chief Strategist Healthcare and Life Sciences at Informatica.  The podcast detailed best practices and strategies for building a data layer in these vertical industries.

First and foremost, organizations are making substantial investments in managing data as an asset. Executives are focused on ensuring that the business has trustworthy fit-for-purpose data, and employees can make it useful. In addition, master data management and governance are necessary to reduce data friction. The idea of master data governance is all about getting accurate and useful data in place so that it can be used across the enterprise.

Some examples provide excellent illustrations of these goals.  Anthem is investing in an enterprise data catalog. They understand it is very difficult to manage data as an asset if they don’t know where it is, where it’s going, or what happens in between. Transparency and trust are mandatory.   Eli Lilly is investing in a data marketplace, a central place for data assets to be discoverable and consumable across a large, complex enterprise.

The benefits of these initiatives are substantial. The goal is to use data to break down silos.  Data becomes the common “language” in a global company, and it has tremendous value by providing consistency and coordination across the business.  Data is also essential to smoothing the processes between different entities, like providers and insurance carriers. With trustworthy, fit-for-purpose data, federated business processes work more effectively.  The data platform is an essential resource for every healthcare and life sciences organization. It will provide the foundation for modern operations that run on facts, not guesswork.

Data Engineering