Telekom Malaysia Group’s creation of a new cloud and digital services company, Credence, could prove to be the national connectivity and digital infrastructure provider’s eureka moment on the path to growth and transformation into a human-centred technology company.
This reflects the growing realisation by leaders that investing in digital is a surer path to survival and even growth amid today’s global geopolitical crosscurrents.
Credence launched by TM Group CEO
During the launch event earlier this year at the EQ hotel KL, attended by partners and customers, TM Group chief executive officer Imri Mokhtar introduced Credence’s new leader, industry veteran Krish Datta.
Mindful of enterprises’ need to refresh their capabilities and offerings in today’s increasingly digitalised world, Imri said: “TM will empower organisations in the private and public sector to transform with greater efficiency and flexibility while offering a superior return on investment. We recognise that now is an opportune time to leverage on our strengths, address market needs and launch a dedicated company – Credence – that is focused on technology and digital innovation.”
“TM will offer a differentiated advantage in how we bring end-to-end digital solutions and services to customers through Credence. Leveraging local and international technologies as well as expertise, Credence will provide greater and faster time-to-value by understanding local customer requirements and challenges.
“Through our foray into the digital services market, we aim to improve TM’s growth trajectory and unlock significant value for both our customers and stakeholders,” Imri said.
The ability to address and exceed customer and stakeholder demands calls for a different approach to connecting to the right digital infrastructure and digital services, one which enables new ways of delivering the goods, and maximising the returns from digitalisation.
Getting transformation right
However, we need to recognise the complexities involved. Organisations ramping up digitalisation face higher failure rates. According to the Boston Consulting Group, 70% have not achieved their objectives.
Failing to take into consideration more holistic, human approaches could account for some of the failures arising from insufficient engagement within the organisation. Analyst firm McKinsey said ‘70% of transformations fail’.
A growing trend in post-pandemic strategising by business leaders is grounded in a people-first approach to digital initiatives. Credence and other TM experts aim to help organisations sidestep common pitfalls and challenges such as:
Writing in the official TM Blog, Credence CEO [Krish Datta stresses the importance of adopting a startup mentality to incubate and innovate] digital businesses. “Incubating a digital business is a daunting task – the technology scene can be ruthless in identifying hollow ventures; only those with the right ingredients will survive the intense competition. Many companies who have tried incubating digital businesses fail before they even begin.”
“Think of incubating a business like raising a child. As they grow older, two facets determine how well they develop and mature. On the one hand, you have the internal factors; the parents, family and the home environment, while on the exterior, you have schools, teachers and friends. Large companies with a mission to incubate a digital business should follow this bifocal principle as the digital space gets more crowded each day.”
Infrastructure to insights
Indeed, according to various commentators, human transformation is the heart of successful digital transformation, which is enabled by the adroit design and implementation of digital tools and services.
Both Imri and Krish’s remarks included terms such as – ‘transformation done right with simplicity, and elegance’. Another part of the message delivered during the official launch of Credence: To have at your hand a team of tech and consulting professionals who understand your particular business.
“Credence aims to deliver outstanding experience for our customers. We are the only company that is able to offer our customers the full end-to-end solutions from infrastructure to insights (I2I). Our approach is to meet customers where they are, discover what their mission-critical goals are, and work with them to address their needs and priorities.
“We are platform and technology-agnostic – which puts us in a strong position to offer solutions to customers without vendor bias,” said Krish.
During the launch, Credence announced key partnerships with VMware, AWS and Huawei, which enables a broader range of customised options for enterprises.
Krish added: “We are pleased to announce that Credence is working with VMware to deliver their first sovereign cloud service in Malaysia, keeping in mind the data sovereignty of customers in Malaysia.”
The perfect storm
Leveraging TM’s established resources, infrastructure, and strong links to enterprises and the public sector, Credence is well-positioned to accelerate Malaysia’s digital transformation journey.
“We offer organisations the ability to embark on their digital journey with better predictability, lesser concern and disruption while choosing the best tech solutions that suit their needs and priorities, enabling them to focus on their core business,” said Krish.
He explained that Credence will provide capabilities from tech infrastructure to business insights, cloud advisory, IT landscape migration, SaaS, managed services, and analytics & insights. Already staffed by industry professionals both from within the TM Group and across different sectors, the company is continuing to seek out talents to further strengthen its skills portfolio.
Despite today’s global macroeconomic crosscurrents, Credence has entered a market with profound potential.
The newly released e-Conomy SEA 2022 report by Google, Temasek Holdings and Bain & Company posits that Southeast Asia’s internet economy will reach US$200 billion in the total value of transactions expected this year – three years ahead of earlier projections.
Heightened digital adoption
Furthermore, digitalisation is acknowledged by cross-sector leaders as the compelling component of surviving and thriving in today’s world. Heightened digital adoption – such as cloud and digital services – is reflected in multiple analyst reports, for example:
- Top ICT Predictions for 2022 and Beyond at IDC FutureScape 2022, IDC forecasts that by 2023 digital will ‘rule’ in Southeast Asia, as 1 in 3 companies will generate more than 15% of their revenue from digital products and services, compared to 1 in 6 in 2020.
The market drivers for cloud services in Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia include infrastructure modernisation; more options for cloud regions/datacentres; in-house development capability; low-code/no-code to drive development efficiency; digital economy and tech startups; customer experience, and cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP).
Additionally, government policies and initiatives are important drivers for the development of the cloud market in Malaysia, and to support Malaysia’s digital economy roadmap.
Advocating Malaysia’s next-gen citizen services and sustainable growth, Dharmaraj advises that, “Malaysian organisations should continue to view cloud adoption as a foundational pillar for collaboration, innovation, and transformation. The portfolio of mobile and digital application capabilities, artificial intelligence (AI), intelligent automation, and big data and analytics (BDA), is primed for the cloud. organisations should look towards leveraging microservices, containers, and new orchestration tools to make their applications true cloud-native to achieve a significant competitive edge. Consider cloud for an efficient way towards enterprise intelligence, data-driven innovation, and ecosystem collaboration.”
Credence complements TM One
TM One executive Vice President Shazurawati Abd Karim welcomed the launch of Credence, affirming that a human-centred approach to technologies is fundamental.
“This is to develop a matrix of trust with AI-driven smart services and other technologies to augment human life. One of the central aims for smart services is the enhancement of customer experience and to transform the way we work, live and even the way we innovate.”
TM One’s professed aim is to build connected and intelligent ecosystems, transmitting data in near real-time, to form a crucible for generating new revenue streams, greater efficiencies, and empowering people.
The following slide illustrates the complementary nature of the focus areas from TM One and Credence:
The trend of telcos transforming into tech companies has to be amplified by the human approach with the motive of benefitting people and enriching daily life, she said, in an interview at the outset of 2022.
More recently, at TM One’s annual flagship gathering of leaders, LEAP Summit 2022, she noted that the digital journey includes strengthening essential infrastructure components, and ongoing advancement. “It is all about innovating to the next, and to the next, and to the next.”
Shazurawati also outlines three factors important for businesses to succeed, which are detailed in her article Going Beyond the Pandemic: Top Business Priorities for a Smart Rebound for TM’s official blog. This includes: “TM One fully embraces the value of building strong partnerships and ecosystems. Over the years, we have built a chain of invaluable partnerships to ensure we build fit-for-purpose solutions for our customers, aligned to their strategic objectives.”
The ineluctable quest for resilience, agility
According to IDC’s Future Enterprise Resiliency Survey (FERS) 2022, the top three areas of improvement for ASEAN (inclusive of Malaysia) organisations – because of DX (digital transformation) investment – have been increased business agility and resilience, and a reduction of business risk.
The same survey states that these three areas continue to be the top business priorities for ASEAN organisations in 2022.
Speaking earlier to Disruptive.Asia on Malaysia’s digital-first economy push, Dharmaraj Sivalingam, senior research manager for IDC Malaysia, noted that according to IDC’s Future Enterprise Resiliency Survey (FERS) 2022, the top three areas of improvement for ASEAN (inclusive of Malaysia) organisations because of DX investment were increased business agility and resilience, and a reduction of business risk.
“The same survey states that these three areas continue to be the top business priorities for ASEAN organisations in 2022.”
“However, it was also observed that a whopping 76% of ASEAN organisations continue to tackle DX in a very short-term or tactical manner,” he pointed out. “Therefore, there is great opportunity for ASEAN and specifically Malaysian organisations to accelerate their DX journeys to achieve greater business continuity, resiliency, and cost optimisation. This can potentially open opportunities for greater public and private collaboration to build a robust digital ecosystem, an increase in potential start-ups and unicorns and further upskilling of local digital talent.”
“Malaysian organisations should continue to view cloud adoption as a foundational pillar for collaboration, innovation, and transformation. The portfolio of mobile and digital application capabilities, artificial intelligence (AI), intelligent automation, and big data and analytics (BDA), is primed for the cloud,” he continued. “Organisations should look towards leveraging microservices, containers, and new orchestration tools to make their applications true cloud-native to achieve a significant competitive edge. Consider cloud for an efficient way towards enterprise intelligence, data-driven innovation, and ecosystem collaboration.”
Opportunity to accelerate DX journeys
Therefore, there is a great opportunity for ASEAN and Malaysian organisations to accelerate their DX journeys to achieve greater business continuity, resiliency, and cost optimisation. This can potentially open opportunities for greater public and private collaboration to build a robust digital ecosystem, an increase in potential start-ups and unicorns and further upskilling of local digital talent.
Interestingly, Credence’s offerings align with these recommendations and, as noted earlier, one of the standout phrases from Credence frames these features as ‘elegant transformation.’ The slide below outlines Credence’s portfolio:
Urgent need for agility
A major lesson delivered by the pandemic and other crises to leaders across the spectra is the urgent need for adaptability or agility.
Boston Consulting Group, among other analysts, lists several factors for getting transformation right: an integrated approach with clear goals; commitment from the top; using the right top talent and hybrid – both hard and soft – a mix of skills; inculcating an agile mindset throughout the organisation; measuring performance through defined objectives or steps; modular technology and data platform aligned to the organisation; among others.
To draw on many of the required skills, technological expertise and industry experience, points to the importance of choosing the right partners who share your vision and support your growth and transformation strategies, said Krish.
“We are also enhancing the offerings of TM’s Cloud Alpha Edge to include services, SaaS solutions as well as data insights to be the leading Government cloud service provider.”
Credence’s focus is on tapping technology to make things better for people. In his launch speech, Krish advises: “We are all about intellectual property curation, software acquisition, digitalisation, and the cloud. And the easiest way to build a business is to align with the tsunami, and not to fight it.”
He pointed to some ‘tsunamis’ in the industry that signal great opportunities: the surge in cloud adoption; the widespread trend of digitalisation, which spotlighted that the leading growth companies were those that invested heavily in tech and digital transformation; and essential skills to enable the right decisions along the way.
“When we digitalise, we really take the physical assets and convert them into intellectual assets,” Krish said. “And we don’t want to miss the boat. If you want to make your moves, you can plan them – and make them – today; rather than be pushed into them tomorrow.”
“At its core, however, digital transformation is less about technology and more about people, and the success of organisations depends on developing, cultivating and nurturing the next generation of technologically-skilled professionals,” he said. “Through Credence, we aim to address the current digital and tech skills gap – making strategic hires from the tech sector as well as transferring similar skillsets from TM to spearhead this new digital start-up.
TM’s Imri added this comment: “In this way, we hope to nurture a pipeline of next-generation tech and digital talents, and equip Malaysians for a digital future by upskilling them with digital capabilities and providing them access to the right data and tools. This will not only benefit organisations but our collective progress as a nation, solidifying our Digital Malaysia aspirations.”