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Cloud Computing Emerges in Software Park Thailand

Park Director Suwipa Wanasathop Talks about Its Mission and Business Focus

Software Park Thailand was created by the Thai government in 1997 "to become a top-rate learning organization that supports entrepreneurs, and to create a strong, world-class software industry, thus making software an enabler for competitiveness of the Thai economy," says the Park's director, Suwipa  Wanasathop.

The park is located in Pak Kret in the tropical city of Nonthaburi, not far from the Chao Phraya River, in a northern part of Greater Bangkok.

Suwipa Wanasathop graduated in liberal arts from Thammasat University in Thailand, then received a Fulbright scholarship, earning an MBA in Marketing and MA in International Trade in the US.

She first worked for Thailand's Office of the Board of Investment (BOI) as an Investment Promotion Officer, then lived in Europe for nine years as her husband worked as the Economic Counselor (Investment) of the Royal Thai Government.

She joined the National Electronics and Computer Technology Center as the Marketing Officer of Software Park Thailand upon her return to the country in 1997. She went on a study tour to the UK and led the Thai delegation of the APEC Young Leaders Forum to China. She was later promoted to COO, then became the Park's second Director in 2005. She is also the mother of four children.

The Mission
In Part One of a recent interview (Part Two is also online), Suwipa mentioned that Cloud Computing is now on the Park's radar screen, with at least one major company locating a Cloud Computing facility there.

But first, she began by telling me about the Park's two-fold mission.

Suwipa Wanasathop: First, we aim to strengthen the supply side, so we support software entrepreneurs in the country,

Roger Strukhoff: How do you do this?

Suwipa: We do so in different ways such as 1).the transfer of relevant technologies for software professionals and CIOs, and 2). by promoting quality standards of local software companies to international level, 3). By managing the Park's infrastructure and value-added support so as to form  a national software cluster (in which) business and technical experiences are shared among those in the same cluster, and 4). by incubating new software entrepreneurs to run their businesses successfully."

Roger: Then you work on the demand side as well?

Suwipa: Yes. Second, working towards the demand side, we promote the use of IT to all other industry sectors so that software becomes the key enabling tool for businesses to add value, increase productivity and create competitive advantages.

Roger: And there's an international approach as well?

>Suwipa: Yes, we've established international, cooperative networks between public and private sectors in Thailand and other countries in order to promote business collaboration between Thai and international software companies."

Roger: How has the original mission evolved over the years?

Suwipa: Our vision has evolved to focus more on the second fold, the demand side.Today, we provide more value-added services such as market access and business linkages within and outside the Park.  More demand is generated from promoting businesses to exploit IT to gain insights into customers' need, to differentiate their services, and to expand markets.

A Focus on Business

Suwipa: Software technology plays a critical role in moving Thailand towards a knowledge-based and creative economy. So, instead of focusing on a product-oriented model, business in the "creative economy" will have to be more service-centric. Service innovation is the key to success. Our Park's incubation service is also evolving from incubating only traditional software development companies to also incubating service companies that utilize ICT to add more value and create unique selling points.

Roger: How is this approach working out for you?

Suwipa: Our Park is now the marketplace for buyers to meet with potential software sellers, for the VCs and angel investors to meet with software innovators and creative young minds, and business people to meet with software technologists and researchers.

Roger: So you're really focusing on business, and not just software.

Suwipa: In fact, the working theme of our Park this year is "Differentiate Your Business with IT."  We encourage business to integrate IT into the DNA of the organization.  We believe the IT DNA can stimulate the development of service innovation that allows business to offer unique business model that would make it competitive and successful.

Roger: I see where you've mentioned before that you want to create the "BEST" platforms. Can you explain this for our readers?

Suwipa: Yes, the Park offers "BEST" platforms to support software companies:

B= Business platform, involving various projects such as business matching, the Go-to-International-Market program, open-house R&D and Thailand Software Park Network

E= Empowerment platform, designed to empower our IT professionals with the necessary skills and knowledge of updated technologies and software process improvement through CMMI, PSP, TSP, ISO, etc.

S= Social platform, which involves a new knowledge management portal to share experiences, information, and good practices for professionals in the fields.

T = Technology-enabling platform, including development of a Cloud Computing Community, the Thailand Software Process Improvement Network (Thailand SPIN), IASA Thailand, the Android Thailand Social Network, Vendor Partner Program, etc. This allows companies to take advantage of emerging technologies. We've also developed a virtual IT classroom to enable developers to gain access to new knowledge and training through the Internet.

Cloud Computing
Roger: I heard "Cloud Computing" in there. Let's talk about that a bit more...

Suwipa: Cloud Computing will be very important, especially with respect to the Software as a Service (SaaS) model.  Software Park Thailand thus encourages our software companies to ride on the Cloud Computing infrastructure to reach a new and wider base of customers.

Roger: What benefits do you see from it?

Suwipa: Amidst continued economic uncertainty, Cloud Computing is one of the key answers to business today because of its potential to deliver lower total cost of ownership, increased efficiency and higher return on investment. It allows business to respond to changes effectively and reduce cost through a dynamic infrastructure that allows clients to pay per use, with no heavy investment.

Roger: And what about potential risks?

Suwipa: Yes, the risks of Cloud Computing can outweigh the benefits, especially with non-mission-critical IT services, CRM, and web conferences. That said, I'm happy to tell you that Hitachi is establishing its Cloud Computing Data Center in Bangkok.

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.