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Cloud ⍺ Series #2: The New Normal, Curbing COVID-19 by Working from Home

AHMAD TAUFEK OMAR

AHMAD TAUFEK OMAR Executive Vice President | Chief Executive Officer

May 01, 2020
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Overnight, companies have dropped resistance to remote working and indeed are beginning to realise finally that productivity gains and cost savings outweigh concerns about employee engagement.

While COVID-19 outbreak is wreaking havoc globally, massive changes are afoot in the way we live, work and play.

At the time of writing, the COVID-19 pandemic is spurring governments around the world to enforce different levels of counter measures not seen since the Second World War to better safeguard their national health and economy.

Malaysia’s current Movement Control Order (MCO) since 18 March 2020 was preceded by a rising tide of event cancellations and global travel bans. Businesses of all sizes – and indeed many of us – are dialling up our use of digital tools. Meetings – both business and social – are now virtualised.

Overnight, companies have dropped resistance to remote working and indeed are beginning to realise finally that productivity gains and cost savings outweigh concerns about employee engagement. In fact, employee engagement can continue even during a lockdown!

In addition, working from home – #WFH – is refreshing our appreciation of the real values in life.

Could Remote Working be the New Normal?

A scan of surveys and media reports in the last couple of years was already showing deep interest in remote working.

According to Buffer’s annual report The State of Remote Work (2019), showed 99% of respondents said they would like to work remotely for at least in some time throughout their careers.

“This is a notable stat to have discovered; while remote work is sometimes portrayed as a trend, these results seem to infer that this current way of working is here to stay. Out of all the data we collected, no response was as powerful as this one,” suggested the report.

The 2020 edition of the report confirms that remote workers “almost unanimously want to continue to work remotely (at least for some of the time) for the rest of their careers.”

In addition, 97 percent of the respondents would recommend remote work to others. However, the current enforcement of remote working due to the pandemic is facing some resistance: most are unused to the new domestic pressures of being indoors and coping with demands of their children and so forth.

The Future of Work

TM ONE’s recently put out a call to see how people were finding WFH on LinkedIn and Twitter. The LinkedIn poll drew an immediate flood of comments, many of which favour WFH and even WFA (work from anywhere). However, the same straw poll on Twitter instead shows an almost 50-50 split between favouring WFH and the workplace. Overall, we found that 56% still prefers being at the workplace, 37% thinks WFH is great for every day, while 7% don’t think WFH is for them.

These findings and feedbacks suggest the new normal in Malaysia would involve reduced days in workplaces or shift of supervisors and employers’ mindset towards WFA.

Moving forward, the COVID-19 crisis is going to leave many aspects of our lives changed.

The new reality is that connectivity has become an essential resource. Whether for news, shared experiences, or maintaining business – connectivity joins the list of shelter, food and clothing for most of us, commented TM ONE’s Executive Vice-President & Chief Executive Officer, Ahmad Taufek Omar.

“Indeed, the new reality of WFH could perhaps become the new normal for many of us – even after we have beaten this COVID-19 pandemic. Much of our daily lives, how we work and play could well be permanently changed – and we may find a much healthier balance in the new era,” he added.

For now, the mission for most of us is to stay at home. Malaysia is waking up to the reality of why becoming a truly digital nation is the next big step ahead in the journey. Stay safe, everyone – and stay productive!

TRENDS AND DIGITAL STRATEGY
The Bank of Tomorrow – Hizam Ghazali

July 28, 2021
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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.

Accelerating MyDIGITAL with Cloud

July 26, 2021
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Mohamad Rejab Sulaiman

Mohamad Rejab Sulaiman
Head of Product and Innovations at TM ONE, the enterprise and public sector business solutions arm of Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM), discusses how the public sector’s journey to the Cloud will unlock the much needed value and how TM ONE’s expertise and comprehensive set of digital services is taking transformation forward for the government sector to empower public service delivery excellence.

Q The Government, through MyDIGITAL, is shifting towards a Cloud-First strategy, targeting the migration of 80% of public data to a hybrid cloud system by the end of 2022. What are the benefits of shifting public sector services into the cloud?

The shift towards a Cloud-First strategy by the Government is indeed a welcomed and timely move. There is a broad range of advantages and efficacies linked to the shifting of public sector services into the Cloud. Thanks largely to its ability to handle large volumes of information, Cloud services will enhance the efficiency of data collection and management as well as enable advanced technologies – such as Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and other applications – to be used to strengthen the delivery of Government services to all Malaysians.

Cloud’s greater computing and storage capabilities compared to on-premise-based technology infrastructure opens up the space for greater innovation and the rapid deployment of more cost-effective processes. It enables the flexibility to scale up or down on-demand without the need for big capital investments, and executable in much shorter deployment timeframes. These benefits will enable the Government sector to quickly expand new smart services across different agencies at significantly lower implementation costs.

Q At the end of the day, the Government aims to enhance the wellbeing of all Malaysians through digital transformation. How can the benefits of cloud computing be enjoyed by the Rakyat?

Digitalising existing manual services enhances the speed of service delivery to the Rakyat while enabling more Government services to be provided online. It means greater convenience. Cloud computing will also enable more innovative public services to be developed and implemented to deliver better access and inclusivity of essential services. For example, in healthcare, telemedicine, which involves appropriate remote care and consultations, is set to grow. AI-enabled diagnosis tools allow doctors to make faster diagnoses resulting in faster treatments for patients. Meanwhile, in education, we have witnessed the benefits of cloud-powered applications through, for instance, the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (STPM) examination results announcement portal; home-based teaching and learning applications for schools and Learning Management Systems at institutions of higher learning have ensured that students are able to continue learning, sit for exams, and obtain exam results – despite the pandemic.

Q What is the role of TM ONE in supporting MyDIGITAL initiatives?

With our comprehensive array of digital solutions, TM ONE is ready to support the Government in realising MyDIGITAL’s aspirations and thus to take the Government’s digital transformation forward. Our Cloud α (Alpha) services provide full-stack cloud capabilities while our TM ONE Cyber Defence Centre (CYDEC) provides a wide range of world-class managed security services, including Global Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI) services, Active Cyber Defence (ACD) and 24/7 Global Cybersecurity Operations Centre (G-CSOC) to protect the Government and public data.

The combination of these two services, plus our comprehensive Cloud and Cybersecurity Professional Services will ensure that Government institutions can migrate seamlessly to the Cloud and unlock its benefits while having the added assurance of knowing that public data is kept secure and in full compliance with regulatory requirements.

Under the Cloud Service Provider (CSP) initiative, TM ONE delivers these services through our strategic partnership with Cloud Connect Sdn Bhd as the managed services provider (MSP). Together, we are fully set to further facilitate the Government’s Cloud First Strategy towards accelerating Digital Malaysia.

This article was written in collaboration with The Edge.

CELEBRATING SUCCESS: Tech Competition – Huawei Spark Malaysia, Powered by TM ONE α Edge (Part 2)

June 30, 2021
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Building on from last month’s Celebrating Success article of our Tech Competition series, here we share the success stories of the top three (3) winners for the Huawei Spark Malaysia Competition. Five esteemed judges from TM ONE, MDEC, Huawei, and TusStar, alongside special guest, selected these three (3) winners among 140 entries in the competition.

The competition gave the winners the benefit of participating in a six-month-long Accelerator Programme along with cloud credits to build their tech stack. As a special recognition, the champion of the Huawei Spark Malaysia Competition had the opportunity to join the Spark Fire programme.   

Discover the Top Three Winners of the Huawei Spark Malaysia Programme in Part Two of our Tech Competition series below:

1st Place – Innov8tif OkayDoc

George Lee, Innov8tif’s Chief Executive Officer (3rd from left) says, “Devil is in the details”. By examining the subtle details of an identity document image, we are on the mission of using AI to create a safer digital world for real-time online transactions.

Established in 2011 in Kuala Lumpur, Innov8tif is a certified Artificial Intelligence (AI) company specialising in three (3) key areas: low-code process automation, digital customer onboarding, and biometric authentication. It is best known for providing Electronic Know-Your-Customer (eKYC) solutions for banks, telecommunication companies, e-wallet providers, and insurance firms. The company’s customer base has since expanded to several ASEAN countries, including Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand.

OkayDoc – Innov8tif Winning e-KYC Tool

Its winning solution, OkayDoc, is part of a wider flagship offering called EMAS eKYC. Other components include OkayID, OkayLive, and OkayFace, which handle the biometric authentication and document retrieval features for the company’s e-KYC solution. These components operate the key processes involved in integrating an e-KYC solution for Innov8tif customers.

The OkayDoc component primarily acts as a document verification tool during the eKYC process. This offering assists back-office operations to reduce ID examination work. Powered by AI, OkayDoc automates the authentication process to check for visual compliance and prevent fraud during the eKYC check. This feature uses machine learning capabilities. Innov8tif has developed nearly 12 sets of algorithms to cater for its OkayDoc platform.

Challenges faced during the eKYC process for document verification

Every Identity Card (IC) comes with key features to help detect fraud through the naked eye. Our MyKad, for example, has specific landmarks placed as visual elements. These include the chip’s position, the placement of our iconic KLCC Tower, and the text layout. However, pictures sent using a smartphone blur the specific positioning of these visual elements, making them difficult to be spotted. It then becomes a challenge for companies to verify a customer’s authenticity.

Telecommunication companies face this very issue, doubled by the need to tackle massive amounts of SIM card registrations by ID verification. This immense load is a prime reason why large numbers of frauds go undetected, despite the simplicity.

How can OkayDoc help?

Through OkayDoc, the computer vision algorithm automates the verification process via visual zone inspections and content tampering checks. By using this algorithm, OkayDoc can run advanced tests to check for landmark placings, microprint checking, and font-size checking. The AI-driven vision reduces human error by a magnitude of 70%, allowing human staff to be available for tackling more complex and threatening fraud issues.

The company’s solutions proved to be a necessity during the MCO in 2020. Telecommunication companies within their clientele reported more than a 280% increase in monthly prepaid SIM card activation through their eKYC platform in April 2020. The automated verification process was crucial for equipping companies with the right tools at the right time. Companies could capture the influx of sales coming in securely, irrespective of the circumstances at play.

2nd place – DoctorOnCall (Transforming Healthcare for The Future)

Quoting Maran Virumandi, Managing Director & Co-Founder of DoctorOnCall (picture on the right), “Online or digital health is poised to continue growing in 2021, offering greater access to patients.  DoctorOnCall as a provider will continue evolving our ability and meet technology requirements such as data exchange in a seamless manner and privacy while focusing on meeting the growing needs of our insurance, hospital, clinics and pharmacy partners.”

Founded in 2016 by two former consultants, DoctorOnCall is a tele-healthcare provider that aims to provide patients with immediate access to doctors, medication, and other healthcare services. Driven by local factors such as rising healthcare costs and busy lifestyles, decreasing clinic visits due to COVID-19 and insufficient rural health infrastructure, DoctorOnCall started offering medical teleconsultation via chat, phone, and video calls. Since its inception, it has grown into the largest online doctor consultation platform, with over 250,000 subscriptions, 100 registered doctors, and more than 200,000 medical consultations facilitated. With a vision to build a more robust healthcare system, DoctorOnCall plans to expand regionally to Thailand and Indonesia.

How is DoctorOnCall digitalising healthcare?

DoctorOnCall offers end-to-end healthcare services, including same-day medication deliveries, health-related educational content, doctor appointment bookings, and professional home diagnosis. Buying medication under prescriptions on the platform will allow patients to save 30% to 70% on the cost compared to purchasing from private hospitals or clinics.

This platform combines video and voice technologies with AI and a professional medical knowledge base to offer medical teleconsultation. Notably, it operates a website integrated with Big Data, housing a doctor database of more than 1,500 specialists in over 30 hospitals, with whom users can seek consultation virtually. Recognising issues in poor data quality from legacy healthcare systems, DoctorOnCall also uses data from integrated health exchanges. Substantial information allows well-trained AI machine algorithms to accurately diagnose non-communicable diseases (NCD) based on patients’ symptoms. The platform also implements digital health cards to enable doctors to access information from past consultations.

Expanding its presence in healthcare

DoctorOnCall has a track record of partnering with established names. Recently, it collaborated with the Malaysian Ministry of Health (MoH) to develop a virtual health advisory portal. As a result, the platform was able to address public concerns over COVID-19, provide self-assessments and facilitate online advisory sessions with doctors. It was a timely intervention, as moving consultations online promoted social distancing and reduced congestion at clinics.

3rd place – MHub (Digitalising Real-Estate)

According to Quek Wee Siong, co-founder of MHub, it captured “28.3% of all local primary residential transactions in 2020. To date, MHub has accumulated over 97,000 bookings across 950 projects, valued over USD$ 26 billion.”

Launched in 2015, MHub is a hybrid property tech and fintech platform. One of the four (4) founders who was looking to buy a house, faced difficulties in obtaining a loan, but he was fortunately bailed out by a banker friend. The tumultuous experience inspired MHub to create a platform that could streamline the processes of all real estate and property stakeholders. The platform consists of a suite of client software and services that connect home buyers, property developers, bankers, realtors, and lawyers.

How is MHub digitalising real estate?

MHub offers 10 different solutions that serve multiple stakeholder needs – Customer Relationship Management (CRM) automation, showroom booking, Sales and Purchase (S&P) agreement signing, post-sales finance, and defect handling, among others. The challenges in the Malaysian property market come from inefficient and outdated pen and paper-based processes. These issues result in complex business processes and significant time consumed to complete the transaction. By embracing digital solutions, MHub can reduce the sales transaction period of a typical real estate sales deal by 50%.

The platform operates on a cloud-based architecture for its products, allowing all information to be accessible and integrate seamlessly. AI forms the core of its intelligent matching algorithms; it uses real-time certified data to guide homebuyers on the best financing method. This feature helps in tackling poor credit scores and low awareness of available options. For example, homebuyers from a subscribed developer can conduct their credit assessment, determine their borrowing capacity, and obtain bank loans through this app. With COVID-19 causing buyers to stay away from sales galleries, MHub developed “Showroom for Buyer”, a solution to offer homebuyers virtual walkthroughs of physical units. Users can now view, book, and make payments for property units remotely while being guided by property agents and developers.

Playing our role to support Malaysia’s start-up ecosystem

The winners of this competition reflect the development of the start-up ecosystem in Malaysia. For the environment to thrive, robust support from the public and private sectors are crucial. 

Start-ups often require help beyond funding, such as market access and mentorships that can provide long-term value. Such help is an  essential  aspect behind  a  start-up’s success, especially for those that serve the B2B market. Without market access, these start-ups would not have the visibility to understand and tackle the problems faced by businesses. What happens then is that start-ups often have difficulty finding product-market-fits, leading to a failure in ensuring business values.   

This void by start-ups is the very one that corporates and the public sector can fill. They can provide start-ups with access to their business networks and resources, which are invaluable for testing, developing, and scaling solutions. Events like the Huawei Spark are examples of how collaborations can fulfil the voids. Assistance is not only monetary but through crucial resources like customer access, infrastructure, and mentorship.  

As the business solutions arm for Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM),  TM ONE sees the untapped value in the power of collaboration. With the right plan of action, development can take place through education, innovation, and social initiatives.  

Together, Let’s Create Success Stories

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