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Sime Darby Industrial Boosts E-Commerce Site Performance with AWS and Maxis

Cloud adoption is widely recognised as an enabler for digital transformation and business expansion. But proper implementation is critical, as well as ongoing oversight and monitoring of resources to fully realise the value of the cloud. Elaborate, multi-floor mansions require a strong foundation. 

Sime Darby Industrial Sdn Bhd (SDISB), a unit under the industrial division of Sime Darby Berhad, began its digital transformation journey in 2018, relying on partners such as Maxis to help the business implement modern best practices. ‘Maxis has been supporting us for over seven years as a total service provider, not just a telco. They provide an all-in-one solution with expertise in hardware, cloud operations, and a range of technology platforms,’ relates Ganeemathullah Bharudin, Head of Digital Sales at SDISB. 

The industrial division and its parent company, Sime Darby Berhad, strive to deliver superior financial returns for their stakeholders, emphasising operational excellence and high performance standards. The business operates across 18 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, selling and distributing leading brands of heavy industrial equipment and solutions.

Infrastructure misconfigurations lead to lags and downtime

But SDISB’s e-commerce site in Malaysia was not optimised. The site was facing scalability and security issues that were causing periodic lags and downtime for its e-commerce customers.

One of SDISB’s partners had built the site on Amazon Web Services (AWS), focusing on getting it up and running quickly. This was SDISB’s first experience with AWS so cost management and billing was also a concern.

‘We started on AWS with an “e-commerce light” model, just to see how the cloud works. We were able to launch the site quickly, but we didn’t thoroughly consider the infrastructure setup,’ Ganee says.

SDISB engaged Maxis to resolve their website and billing challenges in accordance with AWS best practices. We took a look under the hood and determined the best course of action would be migration to a new production environment on AWS.

We also noticed the site’s Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance types were not properly matched to specific workload requirements. SDI was receiving alerts on a near-daily basis regarding spikes in server utilisation. This scaling issue was not only interrupting the experience on the e-commerce site but was also driving up costs.

Sime Darby Industrial is the exclusive Caterpillar dealer in Malaysia and supplies premium heavy equipment to a wide range of industries including oil & gas, marine, and agriculture.
Sime Darby Industrial is the exclusive Caterpillar dealer in Malaysia and supplies premium heavy equipment to a wide range of industries including oil & gas, marine, and agriculture.

Improving stability while reducing costs

By optimising instances to match workload-specific compute and memory requirements, SDISB improved site performance and reduced cloud operations costs. Site traffic has also increased by more than 50% since the optimisation. We also implemented a number of security enhancements to prevent a spike in resource utilisation due to intrusion attempts on the site. SDISB now benefits from more detailed monitoring and event management capabilities using Amazon CloudWatch.

Finally, we configured Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) as a backup solution for the e-commerce site and Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) to simplify database administration and scaling. 

The results? Though the migration was completed just a few months ago, Ganee is already receiving far fewer alerts via Amazon CloudWatch.

‘I look at the site every day and see how it’s faster to navigate and click through. Before we engaged Maxis for this project, I often got feedback that the site was slow or unreachable. Since we’ve stabilised the e-commerce platform, I don’t hear any more complaints,’ he says. SDISB’s e-commerce site has not experienced any downtime since the migration.

Eliminating withholding tax and currency conversion headaches

As AWS requires payment in US dollars, SDISB struggled with costly currency conversion in addition to a 10% withholding tax associated with its internal financial structure. We addressed this concern by becoming the AWS billing partner for SDISB. In doing so, the withholding tax has been eliminated and complexity reduced, with SDISB managing their billings in Ringgit.

‘Not only could we save on taxes and conversion rates, but we now have a local partner supporting us. We can deal directly with Maxis to optimise AWS costing and mitigate any billing issues. I have peace of mind knowing this is a transparent arrangement backed by AWS, giving us a structured approach that includes billing governance control,’ says Ganee.

Scaling up for integrations, analytics, and expansion

The future of the cloud for SDISB is an exciting road ahead. The business is now ready to scale up its cloud strategy and is seeking to expand the capabilities of its current e-commerce site. Plans include integrating the e-commerce platform with its enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, as well as robotics and blockchain capabilities for the business. SDISB is also currently in discussions with Maxis to introduce a chatbot for e-commerce customers.

‘We are just touching the tip of the iceberg with AWS, and with Maxis’ guidance, we hope to tap more cloud-native services to make our platform more efficient and increase customer satisfaction,’ Ganee adds. ‘Maxis has been a key enabler in our cloud journey. We’re confident we have the scalability to handle increased traffic without worrying about data sizes or cost.’

The e-commerce site revamp was just the preliminary stage of a three-phase plan SDISB has to boost traffic and site functionality. Introducing analytics and preparing for international expansion over the long term are among SDISB’s current and future plans.

‘The groundwork has been laid with a stable foundation that allows us to move forward. I was blown away by Maxis’ professionalism in setting this up and their level of technical knowledge. We’re looking forward to working with Maxis over the long term to help us manage and improve our cloud infrastructure,’ Ganee concludes.

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