Five questions for Gokul Naidu, CEO of Datec PNG


The COVID pandemic has accelerated the shift to digital in Papua New Guinea. Gokul Naidu,CEO of PNG’s largest IT service provider, Datec PNG, talks to Business Advantage PNG about how businesses need to respond to the digital challenge.

Datec Learning Centre. Credit: Datec

Business Advantage PNG: Datec has been around for 30 years. What activities are your main focus these days?

Gokul Naidu: Datec provides total turnkey ICT Solutions, internet services, and training and education. Our approach is to ensure we provide proven, reliable, scalable and best fit solutions to meet the requirements of clients.

During APEC 2018, Datec provided several ICT services to its stakeholders. Post-APEC, with the Coral Seas 2 Cable going live, we upgraded our capacity in the cloud and cybersecurity side of our business. We are proud that Datec is the first ICT solutions company in PNG to obtain the ISO 27001:2013 information security certification.

The company has signed up partnerships with leading vendors to offer hybrid IT/ cloud, cybersecurity and tailor-made solutions.

‘Cyberspace is where we live and we are vulnerable to a million unknowns.’

Our training and education business arm, Datec Learning Centres, launched several job-oriented IT diploma programs, and we are pleased that over 70 per cent of our graduates have secured jobs with leading corporates and SMEs as IT officers.

BAPNG: The pandemic has been bad for the economy but has accelerated the shift to digital. How has that played out in PNG?

Datec’s Gokul Naidu.

Naidu: The shift to digital has been challenging because of the global supply chain: there are long lead times due to ICT component shortages. Several ICT infrastructure projects planned have also been stalled because of cuts in CAPEX budgets.

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However, we have seen an increase in demand for end-user devices, video conferencing, document and workflow solutions and learning management systems, amongst others, to enable online working and learning.

With proactive and predictive planning, Datec secured supplies from our vendors to meet the stock requirements. Organisations need to plan ahead for the ICT CAPEX projects to mitigate the global supply chain issues.

BAPNG: What other tech trends do you see in PNG?

Naidu: Organisations accelerating and exploring plans to have cloud options in addition to on-premise solutions.

Cybersecurity and related activities will gain significant momentum because of emerging threats and data breaches.

‘Cloud technology and mobile apps will become more prevalent’

We see trends in mobile applications as an additional cost but as an efficient medium to accelerate B2B and B2C activities.

In the areas of training and education, we have Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning and data science.

BAPNG: There have been several high-profile digital security breaches in PNG. What security advice do you have for individuals and organisations?

Naidu: Cybersecurity should be a top priority for not only businesses but also individuals. We spend our time online when we are awake, at work or at home. Even when we are asleep our devices are online. Cyberspace is where we live and we are vulnerable to a million unknowns. The threats are real, so it is crucial to learn how to defend ourselves and teach others how to do it too.

Individuals and organisations have to ensure their systems are protected with secured passwords and that device software is constantly updated. Organisations have to set strategic directions and expectations, identify the risks, and ensure the plans, actions and industry best practices are in place to manage and mitigate the risks.

It is also important to audit and test the systems and processes periodically for compliance. Datec conducts Cybersecurity Awareness Workshops and provides Cyber Security Audit Services and Recommendations to mitigate threats and data breaches.

BAPNG: How do you expect the ICT business will change over the next few years?

Naidu: Businesses will be looking at technologies for process automation, with an emphasis on security as more transactions will be online.

Cloud technology and mobile apps will become more prevalent, internet penetration will significantly increase telecommuting and online learning. AI will be embedded in processes and solutions.

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