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TRENDS & DIGITAL STRATEGY: Is Your Technology Spending Keeping Pace with Competition? – Shazurawati Abd Karim

August 30, 2021

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Shazurawati Abd Karim
Executive Vice President of TM One

Digital transformation, a means of ensuring business resiliency, has driven recent global technology spending to new highs. From being a mere buzzword, it has become the top priority for technology initiatives and Chief Information Officers (CIOs) across various industries. Global Information Technology (IT) research house Gartner forecasts that worldwide technology spending will grow by 9% in 2021 to reach an astonishing USD 4.2 trillion. This phenomenon reflects a tactical switch from defence to offence, as CIOs of the world’s biggest tech companies recover from the pandemic and look to extend their technological edge over the competition.

As global lockdowns cripple a plethora of industries, CIOs and Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) are more pressured than ever to hit the mark on their strategic investments. We at TM One are fully aware of the exacerbated need for enterprises to increase their digital capabilities and are well prepared to play our role as a digital technology partner. We believe there are four (4) key pillars to guide companies in ensuring a sound IT investment strategy:

1) Benchmark IT spend with industry standards and leaders

Regardless of which industry you operate in, market competition in today’s digital battleground strips away any luxury of taking technology investments lightly. This further magnifies the need for an incisive tech vision, one that has the backing of necessary dollars to turn it into a reality. With that in mind, Flexera’s 2020 State of Tech Spend Report states that companies from different industries, on average, spend 8.2% of their revenue on IT.

It is common to see technology spending hover around 17% of total operating costs in the banking and financial services industry (BFSI). According to Broadridge’s Next-Gen Technology Adoption Survey, this might well reach 20% by 2023. JP Morgan, for instance, is one of the top spenders, with 15% of its 2020 operating costs devoted to IT spending, which amounts to about USD 11 billion . Other large BSFI institutions such as the Bank of America (18%), Goldman Sachs (16%), and Citi (20%) reported higher proportions of operating costs spent on IT. However, this reflects an overall lower absolute value.

As the pandemic continues to immobilise healthcare institutions around the world, technology is desperately needed to reinforce vital lines of defence. Currently, the global healthcare industry on average spends 4% – 8% of revenues on technology, mostly on maintaining existing infrastructure. Industry leaders are starting to shift IT spend towards introducing new business models with digital health solutions and boosting hospital operations through big data analytics and cloudification.

With the retail and e-commerce space transforming into the forefront of new digital innovations such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality (AR/VR), technology spending becomes a key differentiator. Amazon, now known as a tech firm rather than a retailer, spent USD 43 billion or 12% of total operating costs on IT-related expenditure in 2020. With global customers demanding enhanced user experience and on-demand customisation, there are expectations for average technology spends as the portion of revenue to grow from 6.2% to 8% , especially as the competition for e-commerce leadership amplifies.

2) Maintain optimal allocation between growth spend and maintenance spend

Today, the technology stack in companies increasingly provide vital sources of economic moats. CIOs desperately need to rethink their IT spending strategy and effectively prioritise between value creation and value preservation. For many companies, huge chunks of IT budgets go towards maintaining their current business operations, which are becoming intricate due to the intertwining of new technologies. These budgets leave little to no room for innovation investments that allow CIOs to contribute directly to top-line growth, such as introducing futuristic enterprise applications or enabling analytics-driven decision making.

By and large, CIOs report less than 15% of their technology budget have an allocation for fostering innovation. We recommend successful companies set aside at least 20 – 25% of IT spend to reimagine value creation and discover new ways to disrupt the status quo in various industries creatively.

As part of our core principle, we believe that only by employing a growth spending mindset can the returns on these digital investments be seen.

3) Measure effectiveness of technology spending

Besides having to deal with strategically allocating adequate capital towards IT investments, CIOs often face one critical question – what are they getting out of the money they invest and spend? And the truth is this; most can’t give a straight answer to such a seemingly important question.

As companies compete against time to launch more and more digital initiatives, CIOs need to establish clear-cut performance metrics that can evaluate and measure digital progress effectively. With the old saying of ‘you can’t manage what you can’t measure’, tech spend on different areas need to be attributed to tangible returns. This could range from lowering sale costs/the cost of sales, new customer acquisition, revenue streams, improved customer experience, and other value adds.

We believe that using practical and measurable indicators will help narrow down your IT spending on areas of value creation, be it internally or outside the organisation.

4) Balance insourcing and outsourcing of IT needs

Whether you are a Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) or a fast-growing tech company, technology dependence changes dramatically over time. CIOs who want to optimise technology spending must consider the many implications of insourcing and outsourcing their IT needs.

Rather than establishing a fixed spending ratio between buying and building, companies should evaluate the qualitative criteria of technology spend decisions, such as its contribution to overall company growth. Short term cost savings might be attractive in outsourcing, but one must carefully consider the opportunity lost in forgoing long-term digital capabilities. Other key markers to help keep a competitive technology spend are the availability of in-house talents, existing core competencies, security, and technology ownership.

As costly-to-build technological capabilities can sometimes separate winners from losers in today’s digital warzone, taking a hybrid approach could perhaps be the best solution to sustain digital transformation efforts without dissipating technology budgets.

Digital Success Story: How Majlis Bandaraya Seberang Perai is Revolutionising Customer Service

January 06, 2022

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MBSP has been able to reduce processing time for applications and complaints, as well as improve response time to customers. The citizens are now able to obtain the services and assistance that they need in a more efficient manner, which is greatly benefiting them. The call centre also employs trained operators who are able to provide better customer service and this will enable MBSP to resolve the public complaints and enquiries more quickly and efficiently.

The Majlis Bandaraya Seberang Perai (MBSP), which is the largest local authority in Malaysia, has made a great stride forward in its journey to revolutionise its customer service through digital transformation.

Despite limited resources and facing the challenge of covering a large geographic area, the mainland half of Penang, comprising 738 square kilometers with a population of 1,145,200 people, MBSP has set out to successfully slash turnaround times in managing citizens’ voice complaints and complaint collections. Incidentally, COVID-19 related lockdowns further exacerbated pressure on state councils tasked with the problem of effective customer engagement engaging, especially with utilisation of digital channels which had become critical in the ‘new normal’.

Strategically, MBSP also needed to maintain the momentum of synchronising with the enhanced customer-centric goal adopted by the council’s other departments and functions. The first step of MBSP’s journey towards serving the customer faster and better started in 2019 when the “Digital State 2030” was launched.

Consequently, MBSP collaborated with TM One Business Services to benefit from business process outsourcing (BPO) services, which helped to establish a contact centre equipped with world-class solutions to build and improve customer service excellence. As a one-stop centre, MBSP Customer Experience Contact Centre (CX Premier) serves individuals and businesses by providing different services, including business, commercial and individual support, to facilitate the ease of doing business in Seberang Perai. CX Premier also serves as a vital link between citizens and community groups or organisations that work with municipalities at MBSP.

A milestone in MBSP’s transformational journey. CX Premier delivered some immediate wins:

  • MBSP’s range of services is now more seamlessly accessible to citizens. They no longer face the inconvenience of going to different locations to complete one simple task.
  • City council workers are now able to reallocate working hours to focus on the quality of service to meet citizens’ requests.

“The collaboration with TM One through their CX Premier has helped MBSP Call Centre improve the quality of service delivery and no complaints are dropped or missed. It makes MBSP more efficient in receiving complaints and delivering services to solve all the enquiries of the public”

YBhg. Dato’ Sr Hj Rozali bin Hj Mohamud
Mayor of Seberang Perai

A Seamless Customer Journey

Given its motto of ‘Seberang Perai Aspiring City of Tomorrow’, MBSP is naturally committed to provisioning a first-class customer experience in line with expectations of today’s digital first-world.

Despite the pandemic, MBSP must remain digitally connected to customers to help address their issues. Additionally, MBSP needs to integrate its array of different services under its umbrella into one single channel, which is more customer-centric. This entails a more strategic approach in interconnecting with other departments and functions within the council. Part of the journey entails overcoming security, training and business continuity hurdles in order to unlock operational benefits.

Unlocking Operational Efficiencies

When MBSP made the strategic decision to turn to CX Premier to prevail over its operational challenges and to empower an effective, seamless digital experience for their customers, it was ideally positioned the council to facilitate seamless communications with the public within a new normal of pandemic related restricted social interaction.

On a broader level, the overall digital solution is helping MBSP to achieve its objectives by delivering the following strategic technological drivers:

  • A highly scalable contact centre solution built with best-in-class CX services, which ensures that volume growth is managed appropriately by anticipating and mitigating unexpected complaint spikes. As CX Premier can be scaled up or down at any time by maximising the utilisation of resources, MBSP benefits from overall productivity gains and reduced operational costs.
  • MBSP also has the ability to turn on or off CX Premier features from the Omni Cloud CX, which ensures faster enablement of its digital interaction journey. Cloud CX helps MBSP provide greater insights into operations, which in turn helps develop strategies in key areas and achieve operational excellence. An Omni-ready platform is essential as customers today expect seamless and consistent communication.
  • Cloud CX also supports the practice of Work From Home (WFH). This is another strategy that TM One optimises to manage day-to-day operations, capacity, and business continuity planning throughout the pandemic period. With Cloud CX security, MBSP is assured of the data privacy and security aspect of going digital.
  • Moreover, TM One’s extensive knowledge management and training strategy ensures that all contact centre agents are correctly oriented and given a superlative understanding of MBSP’s services and customer needs. Consistent use of these knowledge management tools empowers a highly effective role in resolving customer issues rapidly, and improves overall productivity.

Moving Forward: Unleashing Fresh Benefits

TM One has played an important role as the data aggregator for MBSP by sharing business-related insights through quarterly business meetings. This information has benefited MBSP to improve the back-end operation towards improving their complaint resolution timeline through focused improvement strategies.

MBSP has been able to reduce processing time for applications and complaints, as well as improve response time to customers. The citizens are now able to obtain the services and assistance that they need in a more efficient manner, which is greatly benefiting them. The call centre also employs trained operators who are able to provide better customer service and this will enable MBSP to resolve the public complaints and enquiries more quickly and efficiently.

CX Premier is delivering exceptional customer service with performance levels exceeding previously committed targets. In addition to taking good care of voice transactions, CX Premier is also at the helm of managing digital transactions, which include e-aduan on a web platform, emails, e-pintas and itegur apps, among others. As well as expertly assessing and implementing the most appropriate technologies and processes, TM One addressed key areas connected to a more effective Service Level Agreement (SLA) to resolve complaint cases.

Today, 93% of the customer’s calls to CX Premier will be answered within 20 seconds. TM One has also actualised MBSP’s digital interaction journey by managing a total of seven (7) different channels six (6) of which are digital channels such as email, social media, mobile applications, and web portal inquiries. An exceptional customer journey has been innovated on an integrated interactive platform of telephonic and digital channels.

Apart from this, our recent WFH strategy has helped MBSP sustain its customer service operations without any interruption throughout the pandemic period. The strategy has ensured the customer operation functions without interruption even after adhering to 60/40 workforce conditions by Majlis Keselamatan Negara Malaysia (MKN) & Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM). This approach has also improved the productivity of the agents with a safe and comfortable working environment.

With TM One Business Services taking care of operational aspects of MBSP’s one-stop centre, MBSP is now ideally positioned to focus on serving the people faster and delivering superior levels of performance. This success story is another stride forward in revolutionising MBSP’s efforts to achieve its Digital State objectives, which is pivoting on putting its customers’ interests at the heart of all of the city council’s services.

Deep Dive: Into the Human Heart of Malaysia’s Digital Transformation

December 14, 2021

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TM One Leap Summit focuses on leveraging digital capabilities to meet customer needs. Learn what it takes to drive change and how you can stay ahead.

To successfully achieve a productive balance in today’s new, AI-powered highly challenging era, human-centred technology needs to be at the top of the planetary agenda. This was the consensus of top industry experts at the recently held LEAP 2021 summit in Malaysia, organised by TM One, the business technology solutions arm of Telekom Malaysia.

Indeed, adopting a human approach is rapidly becoming a core driver behind numerous digitally powered growth and recovery strategies across many forward-thinking countries amid today’s rapidly shifting Covid-19 scenario together with other dynamics.

Malaysia’s own digital economy, boosted somewhat by a lockdown-related 68% surge in eCommerce, will grow to RM80 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) by 2025, according to the ‘e-Conomy SEA 2021: Roaring 20s — The SEA Digital Decade’ report by Google Inc, Temasek Holdings and Bain & Co. This report also notes growth other sectors — such as food and transport increasing by 35%, and online media by 14%. The e-Conomy study also highlights the dramatic growth of digital consumers, currently 94% prefer digital transactions — on average 4.2 times more than in the pre-Covid era.

In his welcome keynote to industry leaders at the 4th edition of TM One’s annual flagship event for public and private sector leaders, themed Human-Centred Technology: Taking Transformation Forward, Imri Mokhtar, group chief executive of Telekom Malaysia (TM) said industry studies clearly signal a sea change in human behaviours.

In his welcome keynote to industry leaders at the 4th edition of TM One’s annual flagship event for public and private sector leaders, themed Human-Centred Technology: Taking Transformation Forward, Imri Mokhtar, group chief executive of Telekom Malaysia (TM) said industry studies clearly signal a sea change in human behaviours.

The Power of Knowing

“The accelerated adoption of technology in the post pandemic era shows the world is ready for this change in the norm of how we work and live. Customer expectations have evolved to the point where the ultimate experience is typified by a seamless digital journey,” commented Imri.

“To drive this forward, requires the right organisational DNA including agility and a collaborative, human-centred approach,” he said, when outlining some of the milestones for the TM Group. “As a national institution, TM has evolved into a human-centred technology company, inspired by this dynamic evolution of customer needs and desires. Our capabilities to address human needs and easing processes is demonstrated in multiple areas.”

Examples included making unmanned platforms a reality in the O&G (oil & gas) sector, which reduced exposure to risk while maintaining productivity, while in manufacturing, the use of advanced automation is making light work of formerly resource heavy processes. In TM itself, the use of AI to enhance operations has already automated 230,000 work hours, which can be pivoted to empower employees with higher quality work and help them take control of their time.

However, the key to achieving such milestones lies in the power of knowing, and to recognising opportunities in the face of adversity, he explained. “The power of knowing requires balance between human and technological intelligence in order to delight the customer. The next wave of innovation, arising from digital technology and human skills, requires collaboration, innovation and an open coalition to benefit all Malaysians.”

Human-Centred Transformation

Following TM One Leap’s tradition of drawing global thinkers, the next keynote speaker, an advocate for human led innovation, Shivvy Jervis, Founder of FutureScape248, and award-winning futurist, echoed Imri’s thoughts, commenting that the current challenges faced by leaders in Malaysia have much in common with the rest of the world.

Malaysia’s experience is common, and I welcome the country’s proactive approach in finding fresh ways to build a hybrid scenario and to see digitalisation’s role grow as a lifeline for citizens through public services.

Commending the country’s digital prioritisation and TM’s leadership as a change driver, she added that delegates at the event constituted a “collective of the brightest minds in the country’s industries and government, and are the change drivers for Malaysia in these times, when we must become future ready by creating meaningful changes, and to making digital transformation truly human.”

“The future is far more hopeful than you and I think,” she said, when explaining her interest in areas including scientific advancements, brain chemistry and digital breakthroughs.

Shivvy cautioned that the failure rate for transformation projects was high. “Firstly, we need to break down the idea that digital transformation is just a technological challenge to be addressed by the digital people; 60 to 70% of organisations treat transformation exercises solely as technological.”

“Human-centred technology can revolutionise services, but only if the people rolling out these initiatives understand human expectations and balance this with technological advances,” Shivvy continued. “You need to build fluidity into the digital value chain, rather than just a linear project planning approach. You should also ensure you have the right skills and talent into place, decision-making requires a more holistic approach, balancing board level expectations with the IT leaders; everyone needs to be at the table and move forward with clarity and a moral code.”

Humanity 5.0

A moral code is more than just a philosophical concept, it is a set of ethical values, she explained when giving examples from her client roster. “Our Humanity 5.0 Guide suggests that organisations have a responsibility to their workforce and to their communities. This approach ensures a stronger path to successful transformation; such organisations can attract three times more talent than their peers.”

Turning to some innovations and concepts that would build ‘future readiness’, she said the world will be largely influenced by adaptive artificial intelligence (AI).

*Adaptive AI *is a term coined by her lab, which had for five years been tracking the ways to bridge the gap through design between man and software. “This was to understand the human way of thinking, and these tools essentially give social intelligence to coding, and has resulted in up to 30% cost savings.“

Considering Malaysia’s 5G plan from the end of this year, Shivvy said. “Low latency and higher firepower will strengthen many tools such — as AR, robotics, and advanced data science — and open up new abilities and uses – especially towards an ‘internet of senses’ — connecting us to bodies, skills, people, and things: the internet of things is evolving in to the internet of senses.”

“Other examples include e-learning platforms that will better adapt to individual needs, and many tedious processes will be removed from our plate, although there is a caveat: we have to be mindful of ethical oversight. Mindfulness of data privacy. The evolving technology is reading us better and decoding our moods better.”

The broad benefits include the building of everyday ecosystems – cities – “where we are developing the ability to prevent issues that could become serious problems, including pollution”, she said, adding that another emerging innovation lies in digital twin models. “An exact digital replica of our body can help with virtually test experiences of the impact from citizen services, traffic, and so on.”

This is an example of what Shivvy calls the ’tactile internet’ and which has opened up uses such as a remote arm for surgeons to enact some procedures. “Another near future example is the use of digital pills containing tiny sensors, which can be injected into the body and then transmit key data to our phones, could help warn us hours in advance of serious episodes,” she said. “We could track trends in the population — with user permission, of course — such as disease waves, and mitigate these before they escalate into pandemics.”

“Let me end with a shout-out to TM One; they are at the vanguard of taking transformation forward. Empowering the digital journey and humanising transformation. Hidden opportunities.”

“The future is now – and it is human-led,” she concluded. “Keep the human spirit at the front. Market dynamics are changing across the world. Review and refresh and how we will adapt to change. Collaboration with the right partner is possibly one of the key factors to be future ready.”

Panel: ‘Design is how it works’

‘Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works,’ so said Tim Kobe, founder & chief executive officer of Eight Inc, quoting Steve Jobs of Apple.

Renowned as the mind behind the design of Apple Store, Tim Kobe, was participating in a panel session – themed critical design aspects of everyday things – with other experts Shamsul Majid, chief technology & innovation officer from national regulator MCMC (Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission), Sudev Bangah, managing director of IDC ASEAN, and with Manoj Menon founder & manager director, Twimbit, acting as moderator.

Photo: from left to right: Manoj Menon, Tim Kobe, Shamsul Majid, Sudev Bangah

Sharing from his 12 years’ experience working with Steve Jobs, Tim revealed that one of the strongest learnings is to think with both the left and right sides of the brain, “with both an analytical and intuitive perspective. Nine times of 10 though, Steve will trust his intuition. The Apple culture was borne from defining the culture you want to be known for, setting up a system to support this, and the team of teams that can help you deliver that.”

Talking to the concept of human centric technology, he elaborated that this was “a return on experience. Many people look at it from a business perspective. But the return on experience is the fundamental factor of the success behind Apple or Virgin. It is the design defines human progress In terms of the way we think and do things.”

“Steve taught that design is not just what something looks like, design is what it does for people: design is how it works,” he said. “When designing for people, you have to understand the types of things that influences behaviour, and this includes looking at the more primitive aspects of the brain {the non-verbal aspect}. Experience is a powerful aspect which influences behaviour. Experience is holistic — an expression of a core set of values that people feel. For example, communicating the values of what Apple stands for.”

Analyst findings that Tim cited include:

  • 80% of CEOs think their product is differentiated, but only 8% of consumers agree (Bain).
  • What makes you stand out? 50% of purchases are based on word of mouth. And 80% of word of mouth is generated by direct experience (McKinsey)

Tim said the key is to move beyond thinking about transactions, and look at relationships with a product or service. “Ultimately, great human outcomes lead to great business outcomes. A value creation engine is about human outcomes, which leads to the strategy and the tactics. The secret to value creation is human experience creation. In a meeting, Steve would ask what would competitors do; and then say, let us not do what they would do; let’s go in a different direction: this was a strategic decision.”

Companies that have taken that risk include Apple Global Retail, which grew from USD2 billion to 2 trillion in USD market value. Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic Airways, is consistently in the world’s top 5 listing for over 10 years, despite not having the same capital or lucrative routes of the bigger companies. Globe Telecom grew from 23% to 56% market share by shifting from ‘selling pipes to delivering emotion’.

Asean perspectives

“Emulating this approach in ASEAN may be more difficult because you don’t have the same competitive pressures in the public sector; though I understand some cities in Australia see themselves in competition with other cities in the country,” opined Tim.

Sharing his thoughts on the Asean perspective of human-centred experience, IDC’s Sudev said that the Southeast Asia region had shown considerable interest with 60% of organisations reporting that they are increasing investment in technologies to enable CX and UX to drive better customer engagement and loyalty, which they felt they had lost since the start of Covid-19.

“However, my concern is that much of these investments still seem to be around technology rather than on forwarding human/emotional related discussions is relatively low,” he continued. “For example, Malaysia is one of the countries where the ownership of UX, and its expectations, are by technology teams.”

There is more positive UX development in Indonesia, for example, especially among insurance companies, he revealed. “Design thinking is increasing in that country and with putting people at the centre of things. Non-MNCs are still too focused on technological aspects, even though 73% of consumers want a differentiated product/experience. We see much imitation and not much of human-centred initiatives. On a positive note, TM One is one of the organisations out in front.”

In the discussion about how super apps could transform the citizen journey, MCMC’s Shamsul pointed to MySejahtra, which connects users with Covid-19 information, data, health, vaccination, and mitigation management.

“All Malaysians were scrambling for a single trusted point of information and help, and MySejahtra has filled that role. Looking to the future, we held a national super app survey, as part of understanding citizen needs. 84,000 respondents favour a national super app, provided data privacy concerns have been addressed. In 2022, MCMC will reveal more about our increased focus on a human-centred approach.”

Shamsul, together with Sudev, Manoj and Tim, urged thinking ‘outside the box’ by “looking outside your industry into any other industry. Moreover, break down silos within the organisation. Try different things, and be open-minded.”

Tim’s concluding remark summarises many of the panel’s key rejoinders: “If you are not focusing on the outcomes you are creating, you are probably leaving money on the table. Look at focusing on outcomes at the primary level.”

“If you look at history, tech tends to improve things and delivers on value to people, whether they knew they required it or not. Look for the gaps: for example, passports, which is definitely outdated technology, is screaming for a solution!”

Demystifying digital services

Eyeing the coming new year in her closing keynote, Shazurawati Abd Karim, executive vice president of TM One, reiterated today’s themes of the power of knowing, a human-centred approach to transformation, and powerful design thinking.

“To stay ahead of the game, we have to continue to transform and embrace new frontiers. Bringing about the quantum leap for our digital services rests firstly on AI, which is definitely our BFF! AI is a competitive necessity for all businesses, driving new levels of efficiency for businesses of all sizes. According to IDC, 40% of SEA firms have adopted AI to some extent, with another 37% planning to in the next five years.” – Shazurawati Abd Karim

TM ONE Leadership - Shazurawati Abd Karim

Furthermore, she said the adoption of AI, if properly implemented, could add US$1 trillion by 2030 to Southeast Asia’s GDP, according to a Kearney study.

“Already AI is part of our everyday daily life,” said Shazurawati, citing examples including navigation apps such as Waze, Google Maps, Food Panda, and pandemic related apps. AI is also key in detecting malicious cybersecurity threats.

She also expects that the coming of 5G will engender a further boost to machine learning and AI capabilities, enabling faster predictive analysis and decision-making. “IDC research suggests that with investments in IoT, enterprises can yield improvements in business operations by at least of 30%, and the enhancement of employee safety and security with better monitoring of health and safety targets.”

Many of the benefits are applicable across multiple sectors. In Smart agriculture, the use of sensors on farms to monitor growth metrics such as temperature and moisture levels are driving significant improvements in yield.

Another key for enterprise is the use of mobile apps, which have achieved ‘fashion necessity’ status, Shazurawati said. “Mobile applications now every aspect of daily life. According to Statista, worldwide mobile app downloads are increasing to 161 billion by 2023. Mobile phones currently account for 70% of all user traffic.”

“Today, 42% of adult population have used at least one on-demand service — for food, groceries, medicine & parcel deliveries, and on-demand B2B services. In 2022, we will embrace more on-demand services — and businesses must adapt to this dynamic demand in digital services.”

Moving forward, Shazurawati urged enterprises to fundamentally manage change in digital services by (a) adopt scale agile practices, processes and mindset, and (b) to embrace digital coalition and co-creation, and to be responsive to change and to pivot to a cloud-first principle to be future ready.

Indeed, digitalisation has forged new ways of continuing business and conduct much of daily life globally. And Malaysia is clearly prioritising transformation in its national development plan (RMK12) with the country’s government envisions that the digital economy will contribute 25.5% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025.

The provisioning of enough of the right skills and talent will also be critical. According to Corsera’s 2021 global skills report, Malaysia is considered competitive on a broad level with 57% proficiency, ranking 46th globally and fourth in Southeast Asia. But we have a lot more work to do as the report also reveals that Malaysia lags neighbours such as Singapore (#10), Vietnam (#20), and Indonesia (#45).

Digital technologies have a pivotal role in shaping a future that must be tempered by human needs and aspirations. TM One’s efforts to enable Malaysia’s trajectory into a future-ready nation calls for the delicate balancing of a human-centred focus with applied digital technologies, such an approach will prove vital to empower robust recovery and growth.

This feature article was first published on Disruptive Asia.

UX: The Design of Everyday Things

December 13, 2021

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TM One LEAP Summit is a platform that offers leading industry insights and lead action-oriented conversations. In 2021, the panel discussion put forward three esteemed speakers, Tim Kobe, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Eight Inc., Shamsul Izhan Abdul Majid, CTO & Information Officer, MCMC and Sudev Bangah, Managing Director, IDC (ASEAN).

Manoj Menon, Founder & Managing Director, Twimbit ignited the discussion for the panel members around emerging technologies, evolving digital landscapes, and most importantly, human centricity, placed at the core of it all. 

Here are key highlights from the discussion:

#1 Providing a human-centric experience is the fundamental key to success across industries

Kobe beautifully explained the leadership styles of Steve Jobs and Tim Cook who emphasised and focused on the human outcome. As such, it is crucial to understand — what drives human behaviour?

Kobe mentioned that the right strategy behind building an emotional connection with people can result in exponential business outcomes. But ultimately, the tactics you apply narrow down to the experience your customer has with a product or service. According to McKinsey, 80% of “word of mouth” is generated by experience. The human outcome should therefore be at the top, even before you strategise. By doing so, you can instil your values at every touchpoint with clear communication, create greater engagement for your brand and, in turn, develop a positive emotional connection with your customer.

He highlighted that an essential aspect of human centricity is in differentiating your products; not to emulate what the competition is doing.

In the Malaysian context, Shamsul shared that citizens will soon be able to enjoy human-centered experiences in the form of unified public services via a national Super App. ASEAN companies have a greater focus on investment in technology as opposed to non-technological aspects like emotions and human behaviour.

#2 Building trust is a powerful way to deliver frictionless services

According to Steve Jobs, ‘Brands are only about one thing, and that’s trust.’ Apple is a great example that has demonstrated this trust with how it secures people’s information. Embracing an innovation led business model requires companies to enable the democratization of data. But this needs to be done with a strong emphasis on aspects like data governance and security.

Sudev highlighted that be it the governments or the organisations that possess data in abundance, planning for innovation should have security as high priority. Governments in many countries, including Malaysia, aim to unify services from all departments in one place. Thus, it becomes vital to have a technology capable of building trust to deliver frictionless services. The government of Malaysia is planning to roll out a biometric-based national digital ID for its citizens. This will give rise to many data sharing needs, which will bring security to the forefront.

#3 Workforce upskilling in transformative times need permanent conditioning of the human behaviour

We are living in a very fast-paced transformative time. It is essential to train the human brain to be able to accept changes with an open mindset. Indeed, there is a need for upskilling and reskilling, but what should be the approach for doing it right?

  • Look at the current capabilities; from there, you can see opportunities to proliferate with the current skillsets. It is equally important to be future-ready and evolve those skill sets into new, incoming technologies.
  • Leadership plays an essential role in creating space for the upskilled to use their talent immediately. Leaders should also monitor to ensure that upskilling efforts do not dissipate.
  • There is a need to inculcate dynamic stability, which means that created skills should be able to respond to a rapidly changing world, rather than being fearful of those changes.

#4 Organisations need to think about a next-generation operating system for effective collaboration across teams

Even today, the operating systems, i.e., organization structures of companies are disconnected from the latest working styles. They are still limited to function-based models, working more like traditional industries. Companies need to look outside their industries to build these next-generation operating systems. The ability of a business to break its shell and look at where the world is heading is crucial for it to have the edge over its competition.

Breaking silos could create more room for collaboration. For example, job descriptions that are just restricted to a particular set of responsibilities, will never create an opportunity for collaboration.

To build effective collaboration across various teams, there is a need for effective two-way communication. Organisations should be able to communicate the value they are delivering successfully. The next-generation operating models should also unfold improved models for hiring people.

UX: Human-Centered Transformation


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During the ‘TM One 2021 Leap Summit’, we invited the founder of forecasting lab Futurescape248 and futurist for leading conversations around human-centred innovations, Shivvy Jervis as a keynote speaker.

Here are the 4 major key takeaways from her presentation:

Elements for digital transformation to thrive

Shivvy Jervis highlighted that 60-70% of digital transformation programs fail. Therefore, it becomes necessary to understand the factors that can help implement a successful human-centred business.

To achieve digitalisation, the organisation must go beyond just relying on the tech team. Going digital is beyond an IT challenge; organisations looking to adopt it must bring leadership from different business lines together. This will enable the technical leadership to understand the bigger agenda of the organisation. Also, the people implementing it must feel equipped with all the resources required to deal with those digital developments.

Secondly, organisations should invest in upskilling people. It must focus on finding the right talent capable of scaling the digitalisation.

The moral economy, as the name suggests, is all about an organisation’s morals, ethics and code of conduct towards its employees and communities in which they operate and society at large. Organisations acknowledging all their stakeholders have a better success rate as they do not miss on reassessing the values they stand for, particularly generations that make up the current talent. They also tend to attract top talent compared to their competitors.

Jervis advised, key decision-makers to consider looking at a non-linear timeline. Having a non-linear timeline allows you to plot the short and long term in parallel. It allows you to factor in multiple variables during the digital transformation, enabling you to predict and anticipate future scenarios.

Adaptive AI: Giving social intelligence to coding

Giving social intelligence to code simply means giving digital tools a sense of how humans behave or think. In other words, it is about equipping digital tools with cognition capabilities that understand human needs. For example, e-commerce bots or virtual assistants would understand the situation context of what we want.

Over the coming years, we can witness more and more use cases of adaptive AI emerging within digital tools like Alexa, Siri, Google Cortana, data science dashboards.

The level of complexity of these use cases is also going to evolve. For instance, it could be as advanced as a business intelligence tool learning about your working style, the integration of adaptive AI into road safety software that can read our levels of distraction and fatigue to keep us safer behind the wheel, or an integration in upskilling and e-learning platforms that adapt to each of our unique ways of learning.

While adoption of AI is great, Jervis suggests the industry be mindful of digital integrity and data privacy when designing these digital tools.

Next-Gen IoT: An internet of senses

Combining 5G capabilities such as high-speed connectivity, low latency with different technological advancements like immersive reality will unlock the full potential of 5G. This will lead to an evolution of connectivity called the Internet of Things.

The use of IoT in cities is fascinating. Breakthroughs happened through connected sensors capable of tracking air pollution, the gathering of live data from traffic, and helping road users to increase safety and also give them warnings of hazards in advance.

The digital twin model is like having a digital replica of our own body where you can test all sorts of health and fitness endurance activities on it before we do them in reality. The digital twin model, therefore, if applied to cities, can indeed have a transformative impact. The replica for cities can be created down to the last detail, with information feeding into those servers and systems that are coming in live from all the servers that are connected to different sources of information. It can then virtually test how certain changes would affect the city in real life.

Robotic surgery is another use case that demonstrates the use of sensors by the doctor at one end, and the exact procedure replicated by a robotic arm at the other end.

Next, is the internet of bodies which safely connects our bodies to internet connectivity. An example is digital pills with connected sensors that are swallowable and made of digestible material. These indeed are seeing development and the approval of the FDA. The digital pill via sensors can give you any warning signs (such as heart attacks, seizures) to our devices. This will allow us to take preventive action to mitigate serious illness.

Digital transformation should be an inclusive process

Finally, when we examine the impact of the fourth industrial revolution, Shivvy believes that we are currently at more than halfway through. Organisations should create people-oriented programmes during the transformation process. They should focus on society’s expectations and profit moving at the same pace to fix pain points before to manage roadblocks to digital adoption.

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