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Digital transformation a continuum of actions

Nurdianah Md Nur | Feb. 23, 2016
As part of its digital transformation journey, NTUC leveraged mobile, social and cloud technologies to better serve its union members.

According to Dr Kwong, the rapid consumer adoption of social media has propelled NTUC to "transform the way it communicates with its members and the public", encourage user participation and foster a vibrant and active online community.

The organisation created an official Facebook page in early 2011 with the aim of sharing relevant and timely content, as well as to better engage with its audience. Dr Kwong said that NTUC has also integrated their Facebook posts with their customer relationship system (CRM) to enable its CRM officers to better track responses and understand their customers.

Reaping the benefits of digital transformation
Digital transformation requires organisations to transform both their front-end and back-end infrastructures, said Dr Kwong, because the back-end IT infrastructure supports the delivery of the front-end digital customer experience. With this in mind, NTUC started adopting cloud services in 2011.

"We first replaced our legacy finance, human resource, and payroll system with a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution to enable us to integrate our finance system with our e-services in a short amount of time. Thereafter, we deployed other SaaS for CRM, email collaboration, office productivity, and to manage the usage of mobile devices within the organisation," said Dr Kwong.

"To date, NTUC's entire back-end IT infrastructure is in the cloud computing environment and this has enabled us to deliver cheaper, better and faster services, while catering to growth and ad-hoc use," she added.

According to her, productivity levels of NTUC's employees and unions have also improved as processes that were traditionally paper-based are now conducted online. "Digital transformation has caused us to re-engineer our business processes for the better, and enabled us to automate our workflows. These have led to greater processing efficiency and cost savings. In the case of the cloud, we're now spending less on our capital expenditure, and this savings enable us to further invest in new technologies." 

Embarking on a DX journey
The biggest challenge to NTUC's digital transformation journey was a people-centric issue, in which NTUC's leaders and employees were apprehensive about deploying digital technologies, said Dr Kwong. "Digital transformation is not just about exploiting new technology. It is linked to a mindset shift on the part of NTUC's leaders and employees and their readiness to embrace those technologies," she explained.

To achieve leaders and employees buy-in and organisational traction for digital transformation, CIOs should understand the business needs and goals before crafting a digital strategy aligned to them, advised Dr Kwong. "With technologies at the forefront of business, CIOs ought to play a critical role in business management and an influential role in business. This can only be achieved by aligning the IT strategy with business goals."


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