IBM at WCIT2022: Digital transformation a ‘phased approach’ involving people, processes and technology

The greatest challenge organisations face today in reaching digital transformation maturity is talent and skills, said IBM Malaysia managing director Catherine Lian.

She noted that digital transformation post pandemic has been a very interesting journey for many organisations.

“Digitally-matured organisations seem to enjoy cost optimisation, a lot easier process in managing tasks, and most of all, an increase in efficiency,” she said during a CEO panel discussion entitled ‘Transforming and Connecting the World’ at the recent World Congress on Innovation & Technology (WCIT).

Digital transformation is a very big change in any organisation – it involves the people, the process, and most of all, the investment, be it on the technology or the people, said Catherine who is also a champion for a more inclusive tech industry which can be read here.

Catherine was also the organising chairperson for the highly successful TechFest 2022 Penang, a 5-day experimental festival held recently when the public could be exposed to innovation, progress and latest technologies influencing lifestyles and businesses. Eighty companies had participated in the event, showcasing their best innovation, technologies and inventions.

She stressed that digital transformation is a journey as “it really depends on where you want to bring your organisation to the next level”, adding that even within IBM, already the world’s largest technology solutions company, digital transformation is still a journey.

“Resiliency – that is what I’ve observed in the overall sustainability of any organisation. Change is a must and change is constant. And the change has to be relevant to the customers’ experience,” she said.

Catherine added that digital transformation has to be a ‘phased approach’.

“The hardest part is to run the first phase – the belief system has to change, the processes have to be revamped, and the people has to be reskilled… The culture (of change) has to be adopted. Organisations have to skill, reskill, learn and unlearn.”

Other panellists include PLUS Malaysia managing director Datuk Azman Ismail and MSM Malaysia Holdings group CEO Syed Feizal Syed Mohammad.

The panel was moderated by Korn Ferry Malaysia managing director and senior client partner Anthony Raja Devadoss, who is also chairperson of OM (formerly known as Outsourcing Malaysia), a chapter under the National Tech Association of Malaysia (PIKOM). Business Today had previously reported about how Anthony is taking PIKOM’s OM chapter to higher levels which can be read here. The chapter has since been rebranded as GBS Malaysia for Digital Global Business Services Council Malaysia.

Azman firmly believes that digital transformation has to start from the top.

“Organisations should have the courage to try something new. Create a sandbox and environment where people can try new things and allow them to fail so they can learn from the failure. And most importantly, continuous learning and improvement based on what you have achieved and how you can do better as you go forward,” he said.

Syed Feizal concurred that digital transformation has to start from the top.

“The leadership should understand that not going digital is not an option,” he said, adding that technology adoption “should not be disruptive to the organisation, but rather augmentative”.

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