Photo - Malaysian CIOs prepare to listen to a keynote at CIO Conference 2017 in Kuala Lumpur, Hotel Istana, 30 March 2017.
The emergence of a new generation of consumers is forcing traditional enterprises to widen their customer engagement strategies. At the same time, new enterprises are adding to the competitive frenzy by grasping the opportunities opening up in this changing market. 'Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Transformation' - the theme of CIO Conference 2017 - focused on how enterprises are applying the next level of digital transformation to meet these new challenges as market disruptions continue unabated.
Jointly organised by Executive Networks Media (under the CIO Asia brand) and IDC, CIO Conference 2017 was held at Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur on 30 March 2017. In addition to keynote presentations, one hundred and thirty delegates participated in 12 interactive executive networking table sessions led by subject matter experts, where they shared the experiences and concerns facing their own organisations. Their feedback via electronic real-time voting also provided an insight into the on-going digital transformation and measures Malaysian enterprises had undertaken.
"Digital transformation is about attaining the macroeconomic skills and impact industry leaders need to operate in the digital economy. Every growing enterprise, regardless of industry or size, will want to be a digital native enterprise," asserted IDC Asia/Pacific Group Vice President, Practice Group, Sandra Ng in her opening key note address.
IDC defined a digital native as a person born or brought up during the age of digital technology, and was therefore very familiar with computers, the internet and digital tools from an early age. A digital native enterprise was one where its executives and employees believed, thought and acted like a digital native.
"Becoming a digital native enterprise accelerates your progress and makes you relevant in a digital economy. A digitally disrupted economy is about changing preferences which directly hits your business. To be relevant in a competitive marketplace, you need to identify the new business models coming into your marketplace today, understand where you are now, and where you want to be," said Ng. "Having a strong organisational structure, or a dream team, for digital transformation is critical. You need a cross-functional team at the highest level for effective execution."
Creating a balanced enterprise innovation portfolio was equally important. "Innovation is compulsory. To succeed, you need a balanced portfolio of disruptive, incremental and adaptive innovation. Unfortunately most organisations focus on disruptive innovation which is the most difficult to implement," said Ng. "Incremental innovation, where you optimise the business environment and processes, and adaptive innovation, which enables you to respond to competition and change in the marketplace, are just as vital."
Ng believed that digital transformation successfully carried out within the IT environment itself would serve as a strategic example. "CIOs who optimise their own IT environment provide a strong argument and establish trust in their ability to bring transformation to an organisation-wide level. Carry out incremental initiatives which show early successes," she suggested. "Work with business to show how digital transformation can increase delivery performance, generate growth, build new revenue streams and engage new customers over the long term."
The new normal
"Large traditional businesses are not only feeling the disruptive impact of the internet economy, but are seeking opportunities from these digital disruptions. This is the new normal. The choice is to disrupt or to be disrupted," said Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) Vice President, Growth Ecosystem Development Division, Norhizam Kadir
"Such disruptions create a positive impact where digital adoption will lift the Malaysian economy," continued Norhizam. "A McKinsey report showed that the digital economy currently contributed towards 17.8% of GDP. This number can grow with contributions from all organisations, not just technology-based companies."
The scope of disruption is wide with MDEC itself having facilitated the use of technology in sectors such as agriculture, transportation and manufacturing to bring about improvements in productivity and quality. "Start-ups as well as small and medium enterprises are changing the landscape of technology. The essence of disruption is the transition of influence from traditional technology companies to hyper-growth internet companies, which are doubling their revenue every few years," said Norhizam. "The new technology platform is giving new companies the ability to expand quickly."
The new technology platform is itself undergoing changes as it adapted to the new environment. Take software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN), which is used to connect enterprise networks over large geographic distances.
"As application needs have changed, so too has network requirements as traffic grows and more applications are launched," stated Silver Peak Vice President of Product Management, Rolf Muralt. "Significant changes in application and traffic patterns to the cloud are driving the need for enterprises to re-evaluate networking requirements to address access, performance, security and visibility."
He added, "Today's enterprises need to deploy applications quickly but securely. A secure network gives you better control with a single point of management and decouples control of network from individual devices. It allows you to dictate policy at a higher level for automated distribution and minimises manual intervention. It also provides you with better visibility so you can distinguish between your different applications and understand the pattern of application usage. After all, you can't improve what you can't see."
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.