Microsoft: Companies have to transform digitally or will be left behind

 |   Rashi Mehrotra

The Star featured a report on the recently launched Microsoft Digital Transformation Study in Malaysia.

Norhizam (L) believes that companies should look at how digital transformation could help solve existing problems and improve operating efficiency. Looking on is Golebiewski. — Microsoft

Companies should embrace digital transformation to stay competitive and relevant in the rapidly changing business landscape, according to Microsoft.

Its Asia Digital Transformation Study which surveyed 1,494 business leaders from Asia Pacific found that 80% of respondents agreed that every organisation needs to transform into a digital business to enable future growth.

“We have learnt that organisations that do not evolve fast enough will be less competitive or even obsolete as they face disruptions in every industry,” said Microsoft Malaysia chief marketing and operations officer Michal Golebiewski.

“We urge organisations of all sizes to digitally transform themselves amidst changing demands externally and internally, to stay relevant.”

The study also found that only 34% of business leaders surveyed have a full digital transformation strategy in place.

On the other hand, less than half (47%) are in the process with specific digital transformation initiatives for selected parts of their businesses.

Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) vice president for growth ecosystem development Norhizam Kadir said that the digital economy is expected to contribute 20% of Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020, up from the current 17.8%.

For that to happen, he said that there is an urgent need for companies to start embarking on digital transformation and to continuously reskill and upskill employees, for example by focusing on data analytics to stay relevant in the digital age.

Earlier this year, the government announced the plan to produce 20,000 data professionals by 2020. Among the barriers that are hindering digital transformation are the lack of digitally skilled workers.

The survey also found that 28% of business leaders believe that there is a lack of government support for digital transformation.

However, Norhizam disagrees, saying that there is only so much the government could do as companies should not rely solely on the government to provide incentives for every sector of the economy.

“Instead of relying on the government assistance to start the digital transformation, companies should look at how companies could benefit from digital technology.

“Digital transformation is actually about what kind of problems you are going to solve, how effective are your manufacturing lines or whether automation will be a better option for production,” he said, adding that there is a need to continue to change the mindset of the key decision makers in large companies.

The study also highlighted most relevant emerging technologies that will drive digital transformation namely artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), next generation computing experiences, quantum computing and wearable technologies.

The survey was conducted in 13 Asia Pacific countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Thailand involving organisations with more than 250 staff. The respondents are decision makers that are involved in shaping the organisation’s digital strategy.