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TWO weeks after Covid-19 hit Malaysia, Maxis Bhd was forced to make a bold decision. It shut down its network operations centre at its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, forcing its engineers to work from home.
That decision baffled the staff. For two long decades, they have been steadfastly seated in their spacious command centre, eyeballs glued 24/7 to the large screens that mirrored a live version of the major telco’s network operations. Now they had to do all that work, remotely and dispersed at their respective homes.
“The pandemic has pushed people to the max. We have needed to work differently to cater to customer demands,” Gokhan Ogut (pic below) tells StarBizWeek. The Turkish executive who was made CEO of Maxis in 2019, has taken it in his stride that his mandate to lead the telco has coincided with the destructive pandemic. He claims that Maxis’ ability to face the new challenges lies in the fact that the organisation is agile.
“Especially after Covid, we have taken lots of fast decisions. In order to do that, you need to be close to what’s happening on the ground to customers. We’ve been doing a lot of surveys and “virtual regional visits,’’ Ogut said.
To serve its customers’ changing needs, Maxis has quickened the pace to becoming a “converged solutions” provider, a move it first announced three years ago.
Converged solutions providers are those that strive to offer multiple connectivity (wireless-fibre-mobile, etc) opportunities, layering it with content and applications that help create new revenue streams as the internet takes centrestage.
“Everything has become urgent because of Covid-19. We are doing things now that we’re meant to be doing only in three to five years,’’ he enthuses.
In June 2020, Maxis launched something it calls the Maxis Way 2.0. Aimed at strengthening Maxis’ focus on customer needs, it also promises to make its employees more accountable.
“Changing into a converged solutions company is not easy, but we are on the right track,” Ogut adds.
That said, its competitors are also on the same journey. More so, as its biggest rivals are now merging. The on-going merger between Celcom Axiata Bhd and Digi.com Bhd will create a dominant force with over 51% market share.
That’s not all. Malaysia’s experiment with 5G is another challenge, with state-owned entity Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB) building out and owning the entire infrastructure. They are to provide access to telco operators to the network for the roll out of their respective services.
Not everyone is convinced this model works out well for players like Maxis.