By Rosalind See
Aug. 25, 2016
"Digital technology helps us become better but it also disrupts," acknowledged Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) chief operating officer Dato' Ng Wan Peng in her keynote address, adding that CIOs had a vital role to play in digital adoption.
In the past, an organisation's focus was on enterprise IT. Whilst cost containment continued to be an important part of improving productivity, it was disruptive technology and innovation which would have a major impact on business going forward. "As part of the connected economy, you have to be aware of the constant evolvement around you," she said. "To future-proof your business, you need to understand how technology can help you, and you need to understand the disrupters which are out there."
Citing changes in the transportation industry as an example, Dato' Ng warned, "You must take action to stay ahead. If your business remains static, if you just focus on the status quo, others will come up with better and different products."
She urged organisations to consider building a medium-term digital strategy. "Technologies such as the Internet of Things will have significant impact across industries. Data analytics can help you make decisions more effectively but for this to happen, data needs to be shared and this may require a mindset-shift," she said.
The changing face of banking
The financial services industry had already seen the impact of disruptive technology at play.
"Emerging financial technology companies are changing the way consumers consume banking and financial services. These fintech companies provide services like a bank but are not banks," said Standard Chartered Bank chief information officer Dato' Arif Siddiqui. "They are less regulated, bear less transaction costs and can offer services through a more direct route."
Bank Negara Malaysia had also drawn on technology to make changes to national payment systems which had contributed to reduced cheque usage and moved payments from cash and paper-based transactions to online-based systems. The national bill payment scheme (JomPAY) and the Financial Process Exchange (FPX) were examples of consumer-friendly payment platforms which had been introduced.
"With the huge mobile usage in Malaysia, further changes linking your mobile number to your account to facilitate payment are being studied," added Dato' Arif. "Such disruption of established technology and processes has resulted in changes in the financial services world. Banking is changing. The challenge is in how it evolves."
He continued, "For banks, the battle is already underway with the shift from transaction-based focus to customer focus with video banking and voice biometrics recognition easing customer dealings with the bank. Every bank faces a challenge of how to remain relevant, how to retain its customers and how to encourage new customers. It is all about customer service."
Aligning business to customer behaviour