Despite the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, organisations in South East Asia remain confident that they will be ready to function in the ‘next normal’ and are focused on ‘accelerated growth’ in the upcoming months, according to global market intelligence firm IDC.
In a statement to Business Today Malaysia, IDC Managing Director (ASEAN) Sudev Bangah (left in pic) said that organisations have come to realise that technology is key for operations to continue functioning during and post-pandemic.
“The year 2020 proved to be a shock to the system for many organisations across Asia Pacific, especially those from emerging countries in South East Asia such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam,” said Sudev. “It soon became apparent that organisations that invested in ‘going digital’ initiatives prior to the pandemic faced significantly fewer issues in terms of business continuity, employee productivity, and operational functions.”
Sudev was speaking on the side lines of a recent virtual roundtable hosted by SAP for various C-suite leaders from across South East Asia.
He explained that many organisations had to change the way they functioned quickly, and the ICT/digitalisation initiatives helped to enable the change required in a short-time frame. At the same time, there was a need to identify new business revenue streams, maintain or even improve customer retention/engagement, as well as capture and analyse the data to help drive the right interactions to instill loyalty and market expansion.
“Aside from hardware swaps (desktops to laptops), cloud-based platforms, and communication and collaboration applications, analytics and visualization tools were critical during this period of the pandemic, so that various lines of business (LOBs) had access to what was required for them to execute their jobs,” said Sudev.
Investments in digital platforms for internal and external engagements were also prioritised.
“Come 2021, the majority of organisations remained optimistic for further recovery, economically and from a business viewpoint. Harder-hit sectors such as aviation and real estate have begun to diversify to other businesses to stave off the effects of the prolonged pandemic; however, they too remained optimistic of a change in business sentiment towards the latter part of 2021,” said Sudev. “Hence, there is a need for the ‘disruptive CIO’ to continue to drive organisational innovation and digitalisation. Investments should be well-thought-out, outcomes should be established ahead, and plans should remain consistent.”
IDC believes that there are several main areas of focus in the upcoming period:
· Firstly, building digital resiliency and agility to ensure that business can continue, infrastructure is modernised, data is attainable, and tools are available.
· Secondly, re-inventing the IT division to be a beacon of innovation within the organisation and to drive digital initiatives to the fore.
· Thirdly, ensuring that the proper tools, applications, and policies are set up for employees to work from ‘wherever’ and ‘whenever’ as part of the ‘new work experience’.
· Finally, consolidating, breaking down silos, and enabling LOBs to deploy technology and digital tools required for the business. Data integration should be enabled, standardised, and utilised.
SAP Malaysia Managing Director Hong Kok Cheong (right in pic) said that it is noteworthy that business continuity is a key priority for organisations that had to endure ‘start-stop’ operations throughout the pandemic.
“During the start of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns imposed by governments throughout the region, organisations across South East Asia began re-organising themselves with a view of ensuring business continuity. Business continuity remains a top priority in the present,” said Hong.
He added that, due to the pandemic, many organisations have come to view technology as a necessary enabler for businesses to continue functioning, no matter the circumstances.
“In Malaysia, the movement control order (MCO) with restrictions in place has changed the way businesses operate, with greater prioritisation on the accuracy and accessibility of data, information management, and reporting analysis. Regardless of industry, businesses must embrace true business transformation into intelligent enterprises while keeping in mind that customers are the lifeline to survival and sustainable growth,” said Hong.
“More than anything else, technology enables business continuity for organisations – more so due to MCO restrictions – and empowers them with the ability to respond to individual customer needs, engage talent in new ways and create disruptive business models that are critical industry imperatives.”