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An industry take on transformation challenges in Malaysia: interview

AvantiKumar | April 13, 2017
Open source industry perspectives are shared in this Computerworld Malaysia 'rapidfire' interview with IT veteran Chew Kai Peng.

What kind of digital transformation challenges are you seeing companies grappling with?

 With today's wave of technology transformation, businesses in traditional industries are looking at the best ways that they can use to join this rapid innovation cycle - as they do not want to be left behind. That is the real challenge as well as the main opportunity for Malaysian companies.

From my perspective, open source innovation in the community tends to be extremely fast-paced, focused on driving new capabilities rather than on ensuring the attributes that businesses need of technology - reliability, performance and security.

Being the largest open source software company in the world, Red Hat bridges the divide between the Community and the Enterprise, helping businesses get access to the much needed innovation from the open source ecosystems, while at the same time providing the enterprise the required attributes to adopt these technologies.

Open source breaks down the barriers of legacy organisation challenges by empowering businesses to engage innovation partners and fostering a collaborative and open ecosystem, along with other benefits such as lower investment costs, faster implementation and improved agility.  

You mentioned security as an essential aspect of IT planning and implementation, could I invite your opinion on a question particularly of interest in the community whether security adoption could also be a strategic business driver / enabler?

 As businesses embark on a transformation journey, there are bound to be queries around the security of solutions being deployed.

I can of course offer Red Hat's view: security is written into the software. We take time to understand the security concerns of our customers and work towards building in the security capabilities they need into their IT infrastructure.

To complete this 'rapidfire' interview, what are your plans in your new role?

 I am indeed thrilled to play a part in helping businesses here in Malaysia unlock their business potential through the adoption of open source solutions. Some of the local customers we are working with includes Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) and Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM).

Open source is being seen increasingly as an enabler as it essentially symbolises the future of IT - delivering the speed, flexibility, and innovation needed to thrive in today's business landscape where customers take the front seat.

When working with businesses, we first understand their IT initiatives and business objectives. Following that, we merge both together to ensure the solutions recommended and implemented ultimately achieve their business goals and create high-value experiences for their customers. When working on various projects, some of the key aspects we have helped and will continue to help our customers with are:
1) Updating and modernising key legacy solutions
2) Integrating back-end systems and applications with customer facing mobile and web systems
3) Consolidating customer-facing systems to create a single customer view
4) Increased mobility for workforce efficiency and business improvement

 Another final point: Businesses in Malaysia and the region are starting to recognise the need to embark on digital transformation to remain relevant in their respective industries.  
However, many struggle to define a digital strategy to facilitate their transformation journey. It is crucial to understand that digital transformation is not about taking current business models and processes and automating them. It is about adopting an entirely different approach and mind-set. This is where many traditional organizations struggle to shift from digital transformation intent to reality, causing confusion around determining the way forward.

A digital strategy should allow the organisation to focus on strategic objectives for digital transformation, whether harnessing cost efficiencies, driving digital innovation, or a combination of both. Ultimately, the benefits from a successful transformation journey will allow businesses to innovate quickly, compete more effectively, and achieve their desired business outcomes whilst being agile - enabling them to adapt and thrive in an environment of near constant change.

For the latest edition of this article, please visit Computerworld Malaysia.


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