Digital Transformation: A Necessary Industry Disruption

By David Li, Huawei Malaysia VP of Enterprise Business Group

The famous words of ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus who lived more than 2,500 years ago still ring true today – and even more so over the past year and a half, when Covid-19 upended our lives and businesses. But even before the pandemic hit us, the need for digital transformation was already becoming more and more of an imperative for many enterprises to thrive in an increasingly digital world. Covid-19 just sped up that process.

A report by the London School of Economics in 2020 on the impact of Covid-19 on digitalisation of small and medium enterprises (SME) in Malaysia highlighted that as businesses scramble to adopt digital measures to make up for the shortfall in traditional sources of revenue, those that are left out of this digital revolution will struggle to survive, let alone thrive.  

A study by the University Consortium of Malaysia substantiates this. The study found that the use of digital technologies will significantly improve SME productivity. SMEs that used social media experienced a 26 percent increase in productivity while those that engaged in e-commerce saw productivity increase by 27 percent. Moreover, the study showed that the application of advanced digital technologies such as data management solutions could increase SME productivity by up to 60 percent.

Moving forward as an intelligent nation

The Malaysian government, understanding the urgent need for all sectors of the economy to digitally transform, recently launched the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint or MyDigital. The blueprint serves as a roadmap to improve the country’s readiness to embrace the digital economy in the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), and also as the foundation for Malaysia’s transformation into a “regional digital pulse” by 2030. It leans on latest technologies such as 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, Cloud computing, advanced analytics and Big Data, to support and drive digital transformation across sectors and industries in Malaysia.

The fourth industrial revolution (4IR) readiness will encourage more businesses to embrace advanced technologies to upgrade and increase their productivity, flexibility, efficiency, and resilience. It will also further accelerate the transformation of local businesses into being “smart enterprises”, which will give them a more competitive edge and increase their contributions to the economy.

Digital shifts across various sectors

Well before the pandemic, some larger companies have been pushing to digitalise their operations in recent years.  

In Malaysia, businesses across a variety of sectors and industries have teamed up with technology companies like Huawei to leverage their enterprise technology for their digital transformation efforts.

For example, in 2019, Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB), teamed up with Huawei Technologies (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd to leverage Huawei’s expertise in the latest ICT solutions such as Cloud, IoT and Enterprise Intelligence, to improve MAHB’s operations and services, and ensure a better airport experience for customers and passengers.

In 2018, Hong Leong Bank Berhad collaborated with Huawei to use Huawei’s big data solution FusionInsight Intelligent Data Lake to improve the speed and efficiency of its service systems. FusionInsight was able to cover the entire life cycle of big data processing — from data collection, storage and processing, to analytics — which includes mapping solutions for typical financial application scenarios such as transaction history, real-time credit investigations and customer behavioural analysis.

A collaboration between Pos Malaysia Berhad and Huawei saw the deployment of Huawei’s Cloud Campus Controller which serves to manage Pos Malaysia’s offices, as well as the roll-out of the next generation of Wi-Fi, known as Wi-Fi 6 to support unmanned warehouses using a single dashboard — which helps to monitor and better manage overall operational efficiency.

Huawei has also been working closely with the Sarawak State Government since 2017 for its Smart City initiative, as part of the state’s Digital Economy Strategy to accelerate the adoption of digital technology throughout Sarawak. Leveraging its expertise, Huawei now contributes innovative solutions for Sarawak’s Smart City’s Intelligent Operation Centre (IOC) through the collaboration. To date, Huawei has provided smart city solutions for more than 200 cities in over 40 countries.

Change that will last

Just like MAHB, Hong Leong Bank, Pos Malaysia, and the Sarawak State Government, many other leading companies and bodies across the globe have been working to align their digital and corporate strategies in recent years, even before the pandemic. Covid-19 has just made this unavoidable. 

The pandemic has served as a widespread test case for the effectiveness of digital solutions — which were in pre-Covid times, a mere consideration — and today, permanent fixtures that will lead to long-term changes for businesses.

A recent study by McKinsey & Company found that organisations that experimented with new digital technologies during the crisis and invested more in digital technology compared to their peers, reported larger revenue growth than those who did not. This shift has also brought on a turnaround in mindsets towards the role of technology in business, the report showed.

Today, more companies than ever before are investing in technology and leaning on the in-depth and proven expertise of industry leaders like Huawei to refocus their businesses around digital technologies to gain a competitive edge in an increasingly digital world.

Collaboration is key

Therefore, in order to see lasting change and sustained transformation, collaboration between enterprises, as well as between enterprises and the Malaysian government, are key. This is also emphasised in the government’s MyDigital blueprint, which highlights collaboration with the private sector as pivotal in building an agile and competent digital talent pool, among others.

Collaboration can act as a force multiplier, where the parties are greater than the sum of their parts. It can help organisations tackle significant challenges as working with others brings in new ideas, drives innovation and creates space for better ways of working.

Huawei believes in the importance of collaboration, and we remain committed to openness, collaboration and shared success. We are proud to say that we work with over 20,000 sales, solution, and service partners, all over the world, and we are always open to new collaborations.

When it comes to ecosystem and industry development, we have three guiding principles:

  • Growing the industry and enlarging the market: This is more important than increasing our own market share.
  • Cooperation is more important than competition: We enable others, we till the soil. We will not compete for profit with our partners and we will stay committed to openness, collaboration, and shared success.
  • Sharing value with others: As we move towards a fully connected, intelligent world, Huawei aims to be the glue that holds ecosystems together and the catalyst for ecosystem success. Sharing value means that we can unite as many people and companies as possible, to speed up the process of industry digitisation.

We hold on to the fact that the key to success in this digital era is to enable and empower everyone to leverage their own strengths to create a whole that reaches the unreached, ensures that no one is left behind and benefits all.

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