Malaysian Businesses Must Accelerate Its Digital Transformation to Keep Up

Changing with the times is now an absolute necessity

Business transformation has always been about doing more to improve processes at all levels and engaging a broad swath of factors. This, oftentimes, will take technological advancements into account as they are used to start or spur major changes for the positive livelihood of all.

Just look at how the personal computer, and later on the mobile phone along with the smartphone after, disrupted their respective industries and made it better for everyone.

Road to Digital Development

When Malaysia established a true and proper technology regulator 20 years ago, it had multiple objectives to achieve. Chief among them is the ultimate aim of updating the country into a technological powerhouse. Its role is so crucial that it had been designated as the innovation trailblazer that all must follow. Fast forward to 2017 – having gone far to close the digital divide – the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) continues the drive the innovation and technology empowerment agendas.

Previously known as the Multimedia Development Corporation, the recently rebranded regulator has raised the ante in bringing Malaysian businesses to the global stage.  While it originally started out as an effort to create and grow a tech ecosystem that thrives on innovation, it soon became an acceleration platform that is fully focused on propelling Malaysia into becoming a driving force for the digital economy.

This can be seen in the initiatives that MDEC has introduced over the last year such as Malaysia Digital Hubs and Malaysia Tech Entrepreneur Programme (MTEP). There are even other collaborative efforts that contribute to the progress of the digital economy. Among the big achievements are the re-domiciling of a global talent development brands and attracting venture builders who are keen to use Malaysia as a regional staging ground.

As Malaysians become more technologically savvy and this nation transforms itself into a critical driver for innovation and digital economy, it is only a matter of addressing what it is lacking now to enable its full immersion with innovation. This also includes boosting process improvements and efficiencies at all levels. Current statistics show that most Malaysians have an aptitude for the digital realm, like how most who are on Facebook have 60% more friends than the global average or Uber registering 160,000 drivers in the Malaysian towns it is operating in since it started up.

The Big Push

Going by these statistics alone, Malaysians are more than ready to join the digital era.

While businesses are in the know, there are still many – comprising mainly the small and medium-sized ones – that do not understand how critical it is to ready themselves for the 4th Industrial Revolution. They need to learn and adapt quickly so they can embrace this transformative shift.

Technology, long before it became mainstream, has always been seen as an add-on component that introduces enhancements meant for improving processes. That mindset, which always focused on optimisation, must change. Current progress clearly indicates that more needs to be done to encourage the growth of the digital era. In making the switch, most focuses should be directed fully on tackling key issues that have plagued the drive for innovation all these years.

In fact, being able to take on current and oncoming disruptions is the end-goal for businesses as they move to be more accepting and understanding on the need for becoming more technology savvy.

Immediate Changes Needed

In this era of disruption and constant marketplace transformation, businesses and industry leaders have to take the lead and be the change agents. They are the ones who will augment the way companies interact, communicate, and understand the potency for digital transformation. When properly implemented, improvements will occur at almost all levels.

Current advancements seen to-date for Malaysia are a mixed bag of potential results as large enterprises are slow on the up-take. Thankfully, most are already considering plans for digital transformation with those operating at smaller scales being quicker to adapt and plan for deployment.

Undoubtedly, being able to unlock the true value from this next-gen economy model is far from being fully exploited. This factor nicely ties into the necessary paradigm shifts needed to introduce and accelerate the expansion of the digital era. This includes public policy changes playing a key role along with how companies understanding and being quick to realise that they cannot fall back on archaic practices and old school thinking.

Things must change, clearly.

Both factors, and needing to act on them, have to be primary focuses for Malaysian companies if they are to keep up and remain globally relevant. If done right, they can reap the maximum benefits from updating themselves and reading their processes for the digital age.

© 2017 Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation Sdn Bhd (389346-D). All rights reserved.