By Saqib Sabah, Managing Director, SAP Malaysia
In 2023, the Malaysian government revved up its efforts to grow its digital economy, one of the fastest growing sectors in the country. In the third quarter of 2022 alone, the sector received an impressive US$15.7 billion of investment.
As a key pillar of the recently unveiled New Industrial Master Plan 2030 (NIMP 2030), digitalisation and automation has never been more important to Malaysian businesses as it transforms into a digitally driven, high-income nation and a regional leader in the digital economy.
Here are some of the biggest trends that SAP Malaysia expects will unfold in 2024.
1. Specific AI use cases will emerge and vary according to industry
In 2024, businesses will no longer ask if businesses will adopt AI technology, but rather how quickly they can deploy it and realise its benefits. Businesses leaders will look beyond the industry buzz for solutions that deliver real-life, AI-based use cases. They’ll also see first-hand that AI is only as effective as the quality and availability of their data.
But fundamental differences in how every industry adopts and implements AI will emerge.
Predictive analytics for example, is already playing a key role in retail and manufacturing by providing businesses with valuable insights and trend forecasting . In the year ahead, organisations will have better insight into consumers’ preferences and shopping habits, allowing them to make more personalised recommendations and increase sales.
In financial services, for example, AI-driven chatbots and applications will provide consumers with personalised financial advice and stock-price forecasting, changing the way consumers, investors and brokers manage finances.
In logistics, AI will take supply chain resiliency to the next level, enhancing organisations’ ability to sense, recognise, and react to disruptions and opportunities in new and exciting ways.
The key common thread running through all these business uses cases that is necessary to unlock all of these benefits: connected data across the enterprise.
Organisatios data is notoriously complex and often sit in multiple systems and siloes, resulting in a high risk of losing valuable context when they are extracted and combined. Companies that can best combine their own business data with generative AI to provide the strongest context to the models will have a significant leg up on the competition.
Business leaders must ensure AI is built-in, relevant, and responsible to achieve measurable business outcomes.
With the huge number of data and transacLons running through SAP’s systems and business network, the company is uniquely posiLoned to help organisaLons access the data they need, visualise it, and take decisive acLon to drive their success.
2. AI will further accelerate development of new skills and talent
Conversations around job displacement are common whenever new technologies gain traction. To address concerns on the effects of digitalisation on the workforce, it’s vital to pair thoughtful implementation with workforce development programs and safety nets to ensure a balanced approach that benefits both businesses and workers.
A World Economic Forum study found that the majority of those impacted by digitalisation and automation are the semi-skilled or low-skilled employees such as technicians, service workers and domestic workers. On the other hand, the shift towards Industry 4.0 will result in increasing need for data scientists , cloud professionals and cybersecurity experts.
Jobs are already a priority under Malaysia’s digital economy push. For example, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) aims to attract RM1 billion worth of digital investments and generate 49,000 employment opportunities across nine promoted sectors by 2025 under its Malaysia Digital Catalytic Programmes (Pemangkin).
As Malaysia conLnues to accelerate the development of digital skills, expect the advent of AI will empower even more Malaysians to kick-start their careers in the digital economy. AI will further level the playing field, giving anyone with an internet connecLon with equal access to tools and information they need.
Some of the future jobs that AI may create include specialised Generative AI Prompt Engineers, for example. Just as a sommelier is better at describing and pairing wines than the average person, a generative AI prompt engineer has expertise at prompting large language models (LLMs) to achieve better business results that are relevant, reliable, and responsible.
One crucial way workers can enhance their employability in the digital economy is through acquiring trusted industry-recognised cerLficaLons. SAP, for example, has a certification programme that validates real-world skills with certifications that are recognised across the world.
3. Growth takes centre stage for more SMEs
Small and medium entities have traditionally been unable to embrace modern technologies quickly due to budget and resources.
In 2024, double-digit growth will become a reality for more growth-focused companies, as they turn to the democratisation of AI to innovate, scale, and streamline operations faster and more efficiently than ever before.
We already see this already in action. We launched GROW with SAP in Malaysia earlier this year, which combines a comprehensive suite of integrated modules covering critical functions like finance, sales, marketing, procurement, and HR into a single platform. These modules, based on industry best practices, give growth focused companies access to powerful tools to streamline operations, eliminate data silos, and get the holistic view of their business that many business organisations struggle with.
GROW with SAP users will be able to tap on new generative AI capabilities are they’re introduced by SAP, further supercharging their growth.