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2021: Smoothing the Transition to Smart Manufacturing in Malaysia

March 10, 2021

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Government initiatives to encourage smart manufacturing include the international trade and industry ministry’s (MITI’s) Industry4wrd policy. This framework includes three core elements and eight core thrusts designed to create a pathway for enhanced productivity, job creation, and growing a high-skilled talent pool in the manufacturing sector.

By Avanti Kumar

Frontier technologies such as AI, machine learning together with more responsive, pervasive cloud platforms, which have triggered mounting disruption of multiple industries and much of our daily life, will continue to accelerate in 2021.

With an eye on the manufacturing sector, a recent online industry debate — the Smart Manufacturing Circuit (SMC) held mid-December 2020 — conducted a reality check of technology-induced benefits and values.

Moderated by Maznan Deraman, head of Innovation Solutions at TM ONE, the enterprise solutions arm of Telekom Malaysia, the leadership panel comprised Eng Chew Hian, Business Development director of Huawei Cloud, and Sudev Bangah, managing director of IDC ASEAN.

Given the rapidly shifting global economic ecosystem, manufacturers are earnestly looking for the right matrix of technologies, people and process changes that will enhance competitiveness and get ahead of the pack, agreed the speakers.

To extrapolate best practices from current industry case studies, the panel distilled several short to long term strategic priorities. The discussion included a deep dive into the challenges faced by the manufacturing business, which largely reflect the overall industry scenario, i.e. keeping abreast of the competition in a fragile and fast-changing environment.

According to IDC’s Asia Pacific Insights Annual Survey 2019, 78% of the region’s manufacturing businesses saw declining sales, while 74% reported demand variability, and 37% pointed to increased competition, and lack of innovation (27.8%), as well as rising internal costs (20.4%).

In addition, 24% of manufacturing costs were attributed to downtime, 90% of maintenance work was categorised as ‘crisis work’ to fix breakdowns, and the amount by which total downtime cost was usually underestimated by 300%

Bracing up for the Next Normal

Addressing these business challenges demands transformative strategies to deliver results, declared all three panellists. These include improved supply chain performance, enhanced operational excellence and operational risks, stronger focus on product innovation and tapping new markets and customer segmentations.

However, the road that must be travelled has to be built on digital frameworks, the panel continued. On 1st January 2021, Malaysia’s government said its 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) will increase focus on new economic drivers such as the digital economy in tandem with the green economy. In line with this, a national digital policy is expected in Q1 of 2021.

Sudev Bangah cited IDC’s studies of organisational recovery, which highlighted an increased prioritisation of business resiliency. “Organisations need to look forward, and it is important for strategic priorities. Moving towards targeted investments — AI, IoT, robotics, cloud, machine learning — are typical areas for investment.”

IDC’s APAC studies confirmed that when building a digital transformation use case, clarifying strategic priorities will better build resiliency, and enhance yield from digital implementations, Sudev explained.

Caption: Sudev Bangah, MD of IDC Asean

Speaking of four value chains of manufacturing, he said: “Across the board, manufacturers are looking towards technology adoption to drive strategic priorities: engineering oriented; technology oriented; asset oriented and brand oriented.”

A major component of digitalisation is cloud computing, Huawei’s Eng pointed out. Earlier in 2020, TM ONE announced an agreement with Huawei as another step in its aim to aggregate partners and solutions to become the country’s first locally owned end-to-end comprehensive cloud AI infrastructure provider.

He outlined several cross-industry use cases which included Alpha Edge implementations such as one that uses drone and AI image processing applications to perform aircraft surface inspections “(This solution’s) emphasis on security, trust, speed and robust scalability,

TM ONE’s Maznan said, “Some of the benefits that cloud delivers to companies include bringing products to market faster; enhancing performance and productivity more efficiently; heightening competitiveness; simplifying and speeding up modernisation plans; as well as more effective collaboration with ecosystem partners.”

“Using digital solutions to achieve enhanced, connected production, real-time manufacturing and predictive analytics is part of the process of the transformation of the ecosystem, which includes people and existing processes.”

As an example, Maznan detailed the company’s Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) — a tool for manufacturers to tackle efficiency and productivity gaps without human intervention. “OEE helps to reduce common causes of equipment failure, maximise workforce effectiveness, and gives the capacity to visualise overall performance more easily.”

Transition to Industry 4.0

Tackling the bigger picture, the panel agreed that, to varying degrees, pandemic-related lockdowns procedures have indeed accelerated digital disruption. “People and businesses have had little choice: to take control of their transformation or bow out of the arena.”

Government initiatives to encourage smart manufacturing include the international trade and industry ministry’s (MITI’s) Industry4wrd policy. This framework includes three core elements and eight core thrusts designed to create a pathway for enhanced productivity, job creation, and growing a high-skilled talent pool in the manufacturing sector.

Atillea Razali from SME Bank Malaysia presented another example, in a separate session, on technology grants such as SME Technology Transformation Fund (STTF), which offers financing up to RM3 million to help in various transformation projects.

Sourcing intelligence

In the concluding sequence, the panel emphasised that, “Understanding and optimising operations is interlinked with the use of data and analytics.”

Bangah commented: “The acceleration of digital transformation is causing a rethink among manufacturers. This may call for a tweak to the 2021 playbook for many manufacturers: as an example, digitalising your supply chain will be one of the most critical areas.”

Bangah concluded by citing one of IDC’s key takeaways for 2021: “Technology is one complementing element, to enable your business to reach a new level on your journey. It is critical to find a partner on this journey who can offer all the support to enable a smoother journey.”

Maznan’s concluding summary included TM ONE Alpha Edge offerings to manufacturers to smooth the transition to smart manufacturing In tandem with the uphill recovery this year. “This is coupled with an ongoing partnership, as well as industry-specific solutions that offer a more holistic collaborative path to manage the transformation effectively.”

This article was first published on Disruptive.Asia (

Forging a New Future for Malaysia’s Manufacturers

How Maybank is Leading Digital Transformation in Banking Sector

July 29, 2021

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Maybank, changing the face of traditional banking

Malayan Banking Berhad (“Maybank Group” or “the Group”) is the largest financial services and banking group in Malaysia. The Group serves its 22 million customers through a robust portfolio of financial products and services, including consumer and corporate banking, treasury activities, insurance, and asset management. These contributed to the Group’s annual revenue of MYR 51 billion in 2020. For the same year, Maybank Group had an operating income of MYR 6.48 billion and was the winner of the world’s best consumer digital bank in Malaysia and Indonesia. 

Despite topping local and international market charts with notable digital milestones like QRPay and Maybank Trade, the Group’s M25 plan persists on digitalisation as a key-value driver. The strategy is similar to its Digital Bank of Choice strategy set in 2020. With customers spoilt for choice in today’s market, it is a challenge to reach that pinnacle of customer experience and preserve customer relationships at the same time, especially if a brand doesn’t fully invest in digital roadmaps and collaborations.

“We must always have the user behaviour in mind when we are creating new digital services and/or products. Digital banking providers who provide the best user experience and can solve customers’ problems will continue to be relevant,” said Datuk John Chong, Group CEO of Maybank Community Financial Services.

In this article, you will see Maybank in its journey to improve service delivery capabilities in the era of hyper-digitisation and competition.

Improving the digital banking experience

Maybank takes inspiration from the rapid rise of digital banking and fintech startups in its pursuit to continue enhancing customer experience. The bank’s mission is to provide customers with simple and convenient access to its financial services using ubiquitous digital solutions.

In 2018, the Group revamped the Maybank2U mobile application and website to offer a seamless transacting experience. The mobile application, which now features enhanced payment capabilities and customer personalisation, boasts over 12 million mobile downloads with an impressive 7 million active users (excluding website users) in 2020. New upgrades have allowed customers to generate dynamic PayNow QR codes for on-demand transfers. The mobile app also features a display of remittance options for more transparent overseas fund transfers.  Apart from that, other Maybank2U experience-enhancing functions include Scan & Pay, a personal debit and credit spending tracker, and a customisable savings planner. 

As the Group recognised the growing importance of digital products and services, it launched MAE (Maybank Anytime, Everyone) by Maybank2U in 2020. This complimentary mobile banking and e-wallet application seamlessly integrate online banking with one’s lifestyle needs. MAE not only allows customers to have full access to their savings accounts, pay bills and transfer funds. It also offers newer fintech solutions such as expenses monitoring, in-app virtual debit cards and ‘Tabung’, an individual and group-goal based saving feature. 

Maybank Group received numerous feedbacks from customers with negative experiences from self-service options, such as chatbots and FAQs. Looking to offer a better solution, the Group implemented E-CLEVA, an integrated live video chat solution. With this new capability, insurance claims teams could provide real-time assisted claims support for motor and fire insurances, allowing the bank to process claims digitally and within 15 minutes. 

Building operational efficiency with digitalisation

As customers stay at home during the movement control order, Maybank Group saw a significant surge in the number of digital transactions and users on its platforms — zakat payments before the festive period, for example, has increased by 227% year-on-year (Y-o-Y). At the same time, QRPay saw a transaction volume growth of over 650% Y-o-Y. With active mobile users expanding by 34%, Maybank Group had to deploy cutting-edge technologies to maintain its business outcomes at a rapid speed. 

The Group placed a heavy focus on automating its back offices, namely to streamline back-end processes by implementing machine learning for processing credit applications, branch operations, remittances and trade services. It reinvented the technology stack to support every layer of banking operation by adopting technologies like robotic process automation (RPA), ICR/OCR (Intelligent or Optical Character Recognition) and application integration for certain ‘open’ operations. 

Other digitalising efforts include migrating transactions from branches onto the online payments platform and implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Anomalous Parts Detection for vehicle claims submission. The Group also launched a fully digital Know Your Customer (KYC) capability, enabling a customer to onboard through app-integrated video calls. 

Maybank Group measures the success of all digital initiatives through two (2) measures — straight-through processing (STP) rates and customer turnaround times. These measures allow the bank to track and analyse the efficiency of its services, enabling more productive service delivery capabilities across various operations.

Enabling convenient, safe and secure transactions

The rise of digital banking is analogous to a double edge sword — on one end, you have greater convenience at your fingertips. But on the other side, digital vulnerabilities and frauds can now affect us more than ever. Maybank Group mitigates these risks by internalising a robust cybersecurity infrastructure that covers internal governance, human knowledge and network capabilities. 

The Group employs a best-of-breed Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) technology that enables continuous real-time monitoring of any internal or external cyberattacks. Coupled with its Regional Security Operations Centre, which centrally manages the operational level of system security, the bank’s security specialists can quickly and continuously detect and respond to malicious activities using the Splunk Enterprise Security platform. 

Driven by the surge of digital transactions, Maybank announced in April 2021 that it is discontinuing the SMS TAC (transaction authorisation code) for approving online transactions on both its apps. The bank intends to protect its customers with improved online banking security. Customers will switch to Secure2U as the preferred authorisation method for most transactions, excluding Financial Process Exchange (FPX) and Direct Personnel Expense (DPE). This alternative feature adds an extra layer of protection. Transactions can only be approved within 50 seconds on a registered device using Secure Verification (one-tap authentication) or Secure TAC (a six-digit TAC number generated on the mobile app).  

This new ability creates a safer and more conducive way for customers to transact. At the same time, Maybank Group can build a digital ecosystem that enables safe and secure transactions continuously, fostering digital trust with its users.

Accelerating growth through key partnerships

As non-banking institutions with digital banking licenses flood the market, Maybank Group ensures business competitiveness by engaging in strategic partnerships to introduce new products while enhancing existing offerings. The bank focuses on creating close C-level collaborations with technology disruptors to foster customer stickiness by integrating lifestyle propositions with financial services.  

At a time where customers are increasingly adopting digital products in their lifestyle, Maybank Group joined hands with the ride-hailing company, Grab, to drive the acceptance and ubiquity of cashless payments further. By integrating the two payment systems, customers of Maybank and Grab can choose between using their GrabPay or Maybank QRPay mobile wallets at the merchants they support. Direct cash top-ups on the GrabPay mobile wallet via Maybank2U enrich the online experience between these two digital apps.

The partnership with Grab doesn’t stop there. Maybank Group unveiled a new dual-faced credit card that enables customers to seamlessly collect GrabRewards points that they can then use to redeem vouchers and other rewards. Aiming to serve younger consumers further, the Group also teamed up with an e-commerce powerhouse, Shopee, to offer a lifestyle and e-commerce credit card. Similarly, users obtain rewards – Shopee Coins which they can spend on future online or offline purchases.

The Group also partnered with various property leaders including, UDA Holdings, Tropicana Corp. and i-City to offer “HouzeKEY”, an alternative home financing solution for first-time home buyers. Another partnership with Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) saw the launch of ASNB e-channels on the bank’s platform.  The collaboration enables cross-system transactions and the viewing of account balances via Maybank ATMs or the Maybank2U app. 

Maybank is poised to conquer the fast-growing digital banking space with its wide range of digital products and services, seamlessly integrated into a customer’s everyday life. The Group continues to defend and grow key customer markets in the era of digitalisation without losing sight of its core principle; humanising banking.

Is Open Banking Set to Revolutionise Financial Services?

July 28, 2021

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The COVID-19 pandemic redefined how the financial services industry operates. It also created great momentum for innovations within the industry as consumers increasingly reached out for digital financial solutions. This growth has caused banks around the world to seriously look into Open Banking, a concept that was introduced just a few years ago. 

What is Open Banking?

Open banking is undoubtedly a huge leap towards digital transformation for banks globally. To define it, open banking is simply the practice of enabling Third Party Providers (TPPs) to have access to banks’ data through open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). These TPPs range from e-wallets, microloans, FinTechs and many more.

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)

  • Broadly categorised into private, partner, and open APIs
  • Open API is an application interface that allows access to third-party developers without the need to establish a business relationship with the API publisher

Third-Party Providers (TPPs):

  • An authorised online financial service provider
  • There are two (2) types of TPPs:
    • Account Information Service Provider (AISP)
      Authorised access to account data provided by financial institutions and banks
    • Payment Initiation Service Provider (PISP)
      Authorised access to initiate payments in and out of a user’s account

How is Open Banking beneficial?

The Open Banking revolution is bringing many new opportunities for innovators to create services and for customers to enjoy these services. The benefits of Open Banking is not just limited to consumers, but it extends to service providers as well.

Benefits to Consumers

i. Hyper-personalisation
Open Banking allows banks to collaborate with FinTechs and businesses from various industries. Data-sharing agreements with FinTechs and other non-financial companies open up the potential to develop new, innovative services as they utilise the vast data available. A more expansive source of data could potentially change the face of more traditional industries such as travel, retailers and insurance.

ii. Enhance the customer-centric approach
Banks gain access to user’s data from other participating financial institutions through Open Banking. This capability gives banks the means to leverage that data and create their integration-based financial offerings. As banks increase their database of customers and curate products accordingly, they are able to strengthen their “customer-centric” approach to business.

Where is Malaysia today in the Open Banking space?

In June 2016, Malaysia’s central bank and principal financial services regulator, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), established a Financial Technology Enabler Group (FTEG) to support innovations within the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) sector. The FTEG plays the role of developing new policies and enhancing existing ones related to the adoption of new technologies in the sector.

Consequently, in 2017, FTEG launched a FinTech Regulatory Sandbox framework to test new and applicable technology, including Open Banking.

In March 2018, BNM made their biggest stride yet by establishing an Open API Implementation Group. This was to develop standards and regulations around open data, security, oversight arrangements for TPP, and rights of access. The group was also accountable to review the existing regulations regarding controls on customer information.

As of 2021, BNM is taking a phased approach towards Open Banking; they are cognisant of the security threats and governance measures that would need to come along with it. The central bank is also welcoming additional proposals from the BFSI, FinTech community and any interested parties that would benefit from standardised open APIs.

What does the future hold for Malaysia and Open Banking?

The Nordics in Europe and the UK are at the forefront of building a world-class Open Banking digital ecosystem. These countries have their framework and API standards in place to facilitate the process. They also have a vast digital infrastructure that enables the widespread use of Open Banking.

The global acceleration of Open Banking will be a catalyst towards Open Banking in Malaysia. Malaysia will be able to learn from the best practices of countries around the world and avoid the mistakes that they may have made while adopting Open Banking. With the right governance, regulations and security checks in place, Malaysia will soon follow suit with these leading countries in implementing Open Banking.

Open Banking will also gain traction in the country, thanks to its rapidly advancing FinTech ecosystem. The FinTech community in Malaysia is hungry for innovation and is also open to collaborating with banks to create new products and services. Moreover, Malaysia is home to the most digital natives in Southeast Asia, with 83% in digital consumers. These modern consumers are imperative in ensuring Open Banking is a success.

The increasing prominence of fintech companies alongside the high digital readiness of consumers proves one valid point – Malaysia has an emerging market with a vibrant digital ecosystem; one that is ripe to accept Open Banking. This digital transformation might just be the right enabler that unlocks opportunities in the banking space, ultimately revolutionising banking itself.

The Bank of Tomorrow – Hizam Ghazali


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Banks have been at the forefront of digital transformation. They have always been the leading adopters of technology and have led the way to show how customer journeys can be digitalised.

As consumers, we seldom have to go to banks now and the banks have come to the consumer’s smartphone. Add to this the plethora of new innovative financial services made available by start-ups and tech giants alike. Consumers are besieged with choices.

Despite all the progress, this is still Day One for the banking industry. The per-capita consumption of financial services in our country and globally is still at low single (3 to 4 services) digits. Financial services are the backbone of every personal life, and every business and industry.

“There are huge opportunities to improve this consumption by taking away points of friction and improving accessibility. TM as a digital enabler to the banking industry, we see there are four (4) distinct innovation opportunities as we look into the next decade”, says Hizam Ghazali, Head of Digital Services, Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM). 

Some of the potential innovative services opportunities are:

#1 Invisible banking
Most of us are not excited about making a trip down to the bank. It is often considered a waste of precious time. Bill Gates famously quoted way back in 1994, “Banking is essential, but banks are not.” The vision is to help us consume banking and financial services without visiting the bank or even transacting over the banking app. Akin to the famous “Intel Inside” campaign, can banks enable us to live better lives but still be invisible, make it so easy to consume that we are not even aware of its existence? The key is to embed the services seamlessly into the existing customer journeys, be it shopping or furthering your education. The more the invisibility, the greater the ease of consumption. It has taken us over two and a half decades to understand the vision that Bill Gates espoused.

#2 Ecosystems
Ecosystems are a way of organising the business to enable a high degree of collaboration between various stakeholders (customers, partners, employees, investors, government). It is a new business model which harnesses the idea of co-creation by the various industry stakeholders. Almost all digital-native businesses that we know such as Google, Amazon and GRAB are examples of the ecosystem in action. Banks have this incredible opportunity to build their own ecosystems as well as become part of others to drive growth. Through the use of Open Banking Application Programmable Interface’s (API’s), banks can now enable third-party fintech companies to access their core banking capabilities and develop innovative products to serve customers. The biggest benefit is the ability to innovate and take new services faster to market. The ecosystem owner focuses on the user experience and relies on the stakeholders to help drive innovation, market outreach and other capabilities. While GRAB started with the Mobility Ecosystem, they saw incredible growth during the pandemic in their Delivery Ecosystem and their future growth agenda is with the Financial Services Ecosystem.

#3 Hyper-personalisation
A critical pillar of differentiation for banks moving forward will be their ability to personalise services for the customers. Open Banking is an enabler for hyper-personalisation. This allows customers to opt-in and allows the bank have oversight of their financial investments across all providers. Then, through the use of big data and Artificial Intelligence (AI), they can be in a good position to generate customer-specific insights and offer very personalised solutions. These personalised solutions can be an aggregation of the bank’s products as well as third-party providers. Enabling this frictionless, personalised user experience has been the strategy adopted by several of today’s banking leaders in response to the competition from big-tech. Offering this at a large scale requires tight integration of technologies and partnerships.

#4 Security
While we saw a massive uptake of digital banking in the last 18 months, it has brought about a huge spike in cybercrime. Banking related phishing attacks have seen a twenty-fold increase in the same period of time. The situation is aggravated as the less digital-savvy population, which is the most vulnerable, starts adopting digital banking services. Banks are responding to this challenge with increased measures to authenticate users and add additional layers of security. These additional security measures are impediments to the greater use of digital banking. We believe there is an opportunity for banks to use some of the latest technologies including biometrics and AI to enable a secure yet frictionless experience.

Research firm, twimbit has estimated that the per capita consumption of financial services is set to explode and reach about 15 to 20 services by the end of the decade. While the competition is intense, there is enough opportunity for all market participants, simply because of the growth in innovation.

“I am excited about how the financial services industry is going to evolve in the coming decade. The convergence between these four (4) innovation opportunities will open a plethora of new possibilities. We are seeing more banks, e-commerce businesses and other financial institutions adopting digital components such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to enhance its daily operations, processes and of course, customer experience. We look forward to partnering with the industry to enable this new vision of possibilities,” Hizam added.

Enterprises Taking Transformation Forward

July 27, 2021

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Q The Government’s initiatives under JENDELA, Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) and MyDIGITAL, are imperative building blocks to drive digital transformation in the country. However, 70% of digital transformations fall short of their objectives. What makes digital transformation challenging for enterprises?

According to IDC, 55% of Malaysian organisations do not have an integrated enterprise-wide digital transformation strategy, and 91% of Malaysian enterprises are either on stage one or two, of a five-stage IDC maturity curve. Many of the challenges faced broadly falls under access and complexity.

The lack of access to the required skills is a large challenge, especially talent steeped in what IDC terms as third and fourth platform technologies and technology delivery models. These include cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT) and mobility (underpinned by 5G), and big data analytics and machine learning, all of which need to operate in a secure environment. Implementing digital transformation requires multi-domain expertise spanning business and technology, which is hard for enterprises to acquire. Emphasis is often placed on processes and not outcomes. Employees often need to be retrained. Business continuity takes precedence over targeted investments.

Q How are enterprises creating    more    value   by leveraging on technologies to ensure successful transformation?

In the journey towards establishing a Digital Nation, the private-public and people are embracing technologies hence accelerating digital transformation efforts.

BFSI: Techwire Asia found that more than 70% of Malaysians are looking forward to a digital banking revolution. Malaysian banks are transforming digitally to align to customer needs, improve operations, meet compliance, enable open ecosystems by leveraging emerging technologies to address new opportunities.

Healthcare: The healthcare sector is turning to digital solutions to realise the promise of connected digital healthcare. Enhancing patient experience, increasing diagnostic accuracy, and improving patient care are some of the goals that the healthcare sector is hoping to achieve as a result of digital change.

Q Why  TM  ONE   is  the  right partner in supporting your transformation journey?

Emerging technologies are shaping the industries from continuous remote diagnostics, conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI), distributed cybersecurity, industrial robotics and automation and more.

To facilitate and accelerate digital adoption, TM ONE has built its offerings along four (4) technology pillars of digital transformation – Cloud, cybersecurity, smart services and professional services. Cloud carries the weight of digital change squarely on its shoulders. TM ONE Cloud α empowers enterprises with a comprehensive, customised, end-to-end, cloud solutions that deliver agility, innovation and growth. It is complemented by TM ONE cybersecurity solution, known as CYDEC (Cyber Defence Centre), which offers the best continuous, real-time and predictive protection spanning private and public networks, data, identity, and devices and infrastructure–to mitigate attacks on brand and reputation, online fraud, and mobile channels. Smart services are the most visible ambassadors of digital transformation, taking Malaysia a step closer to the Digital Malaysia aspiration. Whereas TM ONE Professional services help leaders create vision and roadmaps, enabling predictable, business-aligned digital transformation.

This article was written in collaboration with The Edge.

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