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From hype to reality: Transformation is urgent, said 80% of Malaysia's business leaders - and yet...

AvantiKumar | June 23, 2017
MDEC was present during the unveiling of a new Asia-wide Microsoft study, which showed that only 34% of businesses have a full digital strategy in place.

Microsoft, MDEC, DX study

Photo - (From left) Norhizam bin Abdul Kadir,  Vice President, Growth Ecosystem Development, MDEC; and Michal Golebiewski, CMO  & Operations Officer, Microsoft Malaysia discuss the Transformation report.


  While 80 percent of Malaysian business leaders believe they need to transform their businesses to succeed only 34 percent of businesses have a full digital strategy in place today.

This is according to a new Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Survey unveiled earlier this week in Kuala Lumpur by Michal Golebiewski, who is chief marketing & operations officer, Microsoft Malaysia. "The [Study] shows that business leaders have started to act on the need for digital transformation [or DX, as termed by IDC] to address the challenges and opportunities within their organisations."

The study noted that business leaders in Malaysia have recently been prioritising their digital transformation strategies, said Golebiewski. "We have learnt that organisations that do not evolve fast enough will be less competitive or even obsolete as they face disruptions in every industry."

A key finding confirmed that most organisations are still at an infancy stage of the transformation journey. As mentioned, only 34 percent of business leaders have a full digital transformation strategy and less than half (47 percent) are in progress with specific digital transformation initiatives for selected parts of their business. Nineteen (19) percent still have very limited or no strategy in place.

"We urge organisations of all sizes to digitally transform themselves amid changing demands externally and internally, to stay relevant," he added.  "At Microsoft, we believe this involves transformation in four key pillars - empowering employees, engaging customers, optimising operations and transform with new products, services or business models, and data and the cloud are key enablers of these."

MDEC: Digital Malaysia
"It was interesting to learn that 88 percent of business leaders felt that new data insights would lead to new revenue streams," said Golebiewski.

"However, it is a concern to see that - while there is widespread acknowledgement on the need to transform - they are doing so incrementally," he said. "With constant pressure from newer, agile and tech savvy players disrupting across industries in Asia, the transformation of products and new revenue models provides the greatest opportunity for organisations to truly lead rather than be disrupted."

Golebiewski stressed: "Leaders need to rethink business models, find new data insights which lead to new revenue streams."
Norhizam bin Abdul Kadir, who is vice president, Growth Ecosystem Development, MDEC (national ICT agency Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation), added to the urgency of this message: "As technology changes the rules of business, it is important to future-proof the Malaysian economy by building a strong digital innovation ecosystem."
"The digital economy aims to contribute 20 percent to our GDP [gross domestic product] by 2020," added Norhizam. "Malaysian businesses need to jump onto the bandwagon and embrace digital transformation. The ability to unlock value from digital economy is far from being fully exploited thus making now the best time for Malaysia to sprint to the front of the race."
MDEC has on several occasions pointed Malaysian companies to a US48 billion pie in the Asean market as a path to global expansion and is continuing to launch initiatives such as the Digital free Trade Zone (DFTZ).
What's holding up transformation?

Both Norhizam and Golebiewski pointed to positive examples such as Keegan Flynn, who is co-founder of Doctor2U, who said that transformation has "has helped us embrace cutting-edge technology that gives us the flexibility to scale our business as quickly as we need to" and our "data security infrastructure also provides our app with an added layer of trust and reliability, which is so important in the healthcare industry."

Another example was provided by Andre Chan, IT Director - Technology at Nando's Malaysia & Singapore:  -"When business insights are placed in the hands of business leaders, the right decisions and actions can then be made in a timely manner to drive stronger results."

The study, however, noted that some of the top barriers to digital transformation are, in order of priority (see image below)


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