Microsoft study shows 89% of Thailand’s business leaders recognize digital transformation as key to success

 |   Thornthawat Thongnab

TMB Bank heralded as digital transformation role model as survey highlights technological opportunities and key obstacles to change

Bangkok, 30 March 2017 – A Microsoft study covering business leaders in Thailand and Asia has revealed a clear sense of urgency in embracing the digital transformation journey with 89% of Thai business leaders believing that they need to transform their organizations into digital businesses to enable future growth. However, only 29% of those surveyed indicated that they have a full digital strategy in place, while 41% are in progress with specific digital transformation initiatives for selected parts of their business. 30% of respondents have very limited or no strategy in place.

The Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Study[1] surveyed 1,494 business leaders from Asia, including 117 from Thailand. All respondents were pre-qualified as being involved in shaping their organizations’ digital strategy.

“Technological advancements have led to the fourth Industrial Revolution, where cutting-edge technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), advanced data analytics, and mixed reality are powered by cloud computing to create limitless new possibilities,” said Sean Loiselle, Enterprise & Partner Group Lead, Microsoft (Thailand) Limited. “The Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Study shows that business leaders have started to act on the need for digital transformation to address new challenges and opportunities in the region. At Microsoft, we believe that this transformation must cover four key pillars – empowering employees, engaging customers, optimizing operations and transforming products, services or business models – all of which are enabled by data and the cloud.”

Microsoft has defined what it means to transform in four key pillars:

  1. Engage customers: Consumers are savvier than ever before, with access to data ensuring they are often educated on a product or service before engaging. To stand out, organizations will need to deliver a new wave of deeply contextual and personalized experiences, while balancing security and user trust.
  2. Empower employees: The nature of how we work—and the workplace itself—has undergone a dramatic evolution. Organizations can empower their people and help them do their jobs better with the power of mobility, which allows employees to collaborate from anywhere, on any device, and access apps and data they need, while mitigating security risks.
  3. Optimize operations: Technology disrupters such as IoT are accelerating the potential for businesses to optimize their operations. This can be done by gathering data across a wide, dispersed set of endpoints, drawing insights through advanced analytics, and then applying those learnings to introduce improvements on a continuous basis. Organizations in manufacturing, retail, and even healthcare can shift from merely reacting to events to respond in real time, or even pre-emptively anticipating and solving customer issues.
  4. Transform products & business models: The opportunity to embed software and technology directly into products and services is evolving how organizations deliver value, enabling new business models, and disrupting established markets.

TMB Bank: Shaping the future of banking in Thailand

In Thailand, Microsoft continues to work with organizations of all sizes to drive digital transformation. Building upon more than three years of collaboration and five decades of experience in the Thai banking industry, TMB Bank has emerged as a leading financial institution under a strategic intent to provide world-class, customer-centric products and services that empower our customers to live their lifestyles to the fullest.

“Our digital transformation journey with Microsoft began in 2014 as we identified the need to make more comprehensive use of customer data and insights while also encouraging employees to become more productive and collaborative than ever before,” said Lorenzo Tassan-Bassut, Chief Operating Officer of TMB Bank PCL. “As the first bank in Thailand to adopt Microsoft’s cloud-based Office 365 productivity suite, we are now able to offer a true anywhere-anytime working experience to employees where it matters most.

“We have also adopted a self-service approach to big data. Instead of keeping all data in a central silo, each portion of data is owned by people who can use it best, and others are provided access as they need it. This way, all of our 9,200 employees are equipped with the data they need to make the difference for customers, and PowerBI empowers us to extract useful insights from customer data and better respond to their needs and interests.”

In addition to big data analytics and mobility with Office 365, TMB Bank employs SharePoint, Yammer, OneDrive, and Skype for Business in an end-to-end collaboration platform that simplifies mobile productivity, allows the dissemination of information across multiple destinations, and encourages increasing use of visual information in communications while also reducing paper usage.

“On the infrastructural level, we rely on Windows Server and Red Hat Linux, the latter of which operates in virtualized instances on Microsoft Azure,” added Mr. Tassan-Bassut. “Today, the majority of the bank’s applications are running on the public cloud thanks to the world-class security and compliance standards of Azure. We are also using Microsoft’s cloud platform as the basis for new intelligent capabilities such as photo recognition, which can provide our customers with greater convenience than ever before.”

Through digital transformation, TMB Bank has enjoyed considerable success in fulfilling its vision for customer-centric banking. “With the flexibility and extensibility of a cloud-based infrastructure, we are able to take our services to customers instead of waiting for them to come to our branches,” said Mr. Tassan-Bassut. “As a result, the number of mobile banking transactions has surpassed those of ATM and branches without any decline on the latter’s part, and the overall number of financial transactions has increased by a double-digit margin.”

Emerging technologies in demand

In a reflection of TMB Bank’s success story, the Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Study shows that 83% of business leaders in Thailand recognize how cloud computing and decreasing device costs have made it more affordable for companies of all sizes to transform digitally, and a majority of those surveyed (82%) regarded cloud computing as essential in their digital transformation strategy.

In the next 12 to 18 months, business leaders in Thailand are interested in exploring a range of emerging technologies to accelerate and achieve digital transformation – including artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.

While blockchain technology has been widely touted as the next frontier of technology adoption for financial institutions, the Microsoft study showed that only a third of FSI respondents saw blockchain as a relevant emerging technology for their organization.

Mr. Loiselle added: “There is a misconception that blockchain represents a threat to banks. In reality, this is not the case. Business leaders in the financial world need to recognize that blockchain offers the opportunity to modernize legacy infrastructure and take transaction security to the next level.”

Barriers to Digital Transformation in Asia Pacific

While there is no doubt that digital transformation will bring significant benefits for both businesses and employees, the path to digital transformation has been slow, given that only 29% have a full digital strategy in place.

According to business leaders in the study, the top barriers to digital transformation are the lack of a digitally-skilled workforce, lack of digital transformation leadership, and cybersecurity concerns.

Increasing security threats in today’s digital economies is real and cannot be ignored. There is a continued perception among business leaders that the cloud is less secure. However, they may be less privy to the advances being made in the cloud on security and privacy and need more exposure on how, with the current threat environment, it will be safer being in the cloud than relying on tradition forms of IT. In fact, a recent Microsoft Asia Pacific survey of 1,200 IT leaders[2] showed that 93% of IT leaders in Thailand believe that in the longer term, the cloud will be safer.

To find out more about how Microsoft is enabling digital transformation for organizations, visit

[1] The Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Study was conducted between October to November 2016 involving 1,494 business leaders in 13 Asia Pacific markets. The 13 markets include Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. All respondents were pre-qualified as being involved in shaping their organizations’ digital strategy, and are working in firms with more than 250 employees.

[2] Microsoft Asia Pacific survey of 1,200 IT leaders across 12 markets to understand how they are evolving their IT infrastructure strategies to meet the needs of a digital business.  Read more here: