LEAP Summit 2022 unpacks the future of Digital Malaysia

LEAP Summit

Renowned for sharing digital growth insights from local and global innovators, this year’s TM One LEAP Summit 2022 held in late October in Kuala Lumpur also featured two major 5G-related announcements.

Hosted by TM One, the enterprise and government sector business solutions arm of Telekom Malaysia (TM), the fifth edition of this popular event, which drew more than 350 leaders, was anchored on what was next in Malaysia’s economic recovery through digitalisation.

Enabling Digital Malaysia is one of TM’s key motivators, and it is interesting to scan themes from previous LEAP summits. These include unleashing the power of creative disruption, embracing partnerships as a path to growth, and jumpstarting the economy with scenario planning, and the importance of human-centred transformation:  – all pinpointing timely strategic thrusts for top executives looking to gain maximal returns from their transformation initiatives.

Imri Mokhtar: Humanity now sits at the bell curve

LEAP Summit Digital Malaysia
Imri Mokhtar

In his welcome, Imri Mokhtar, Group Chief Executive Officer, TM, notes the mass adoption of digital has changed daily life permanently. “Digital adoption and transformation is no longer a question of whether we are ready or not, like it or not, or prepared or not.”

“Humanity now sits at the bell curve where we are no longer merely adopting new technologies but where digitalisation is a way of life,” he added.

“Globally, technology today has radically changed four key areas: (a) the customer experiences and proposition that enterprises and public sectors deliver, (b) business models, (c) day-to-day operations, and (d) the talent within the organisation.”

It’s widely acknowledged that the pandemic years have accelerated new digital opportunities, he continued. “As a result, enterprises and public sectors are now embracing digital innovation at speeds like never before – moving to virtualised, cloud-based services, as well as virtualising digital networks. For businesses, success now lies in our ability to understand the shifts in human needs and realities, with data and analytics now providing us with the insights to make better, more relevant decisions.”

The need to rapidly innovate and digitalise has propelled TM’s own transformation from “a Telco to a TechCo, which also hinges on a human-centred approach, focusing on fundamental shifts such as a digital way of working, outcome-based mindsets, and digital upskilling to deliver exceptional customer outcomes through connectivity and innovative digital solutions.”

Adding Credence to TM’s digital offering

In a further move to help local and global enterprises advance on their own digital trajectories, TM earlier this year launched a new entity Credence.

Helmed by industry veteran Krish Datta, Credence offers unique sets of skills and a range of capabilities to help enterprises, potentised by a partnership platform comprising both TM’s own partnerships with global and local tech companies as well as new collaborations with other transformation players.

At Credence’s launch, Krish highlighted: “We offer organisations the ability to embark on their digital journeys 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.”

Meanwhile, Imri ended his welcome with the reminder that: “All the technology we need is now within reach and I am confident that, together, we will co-create incredible milestones in Malaysia’s enterprise and public sector digital transformation.”

Mitch Lowe: Life lessons from Netflix

Mitch Lowe

Keynote speaker Mitch Lowe, co-founding executive of Netflix, shared lessons learned during the company’s 25-year evolution from a mail-order DVD rental startup to a content streaming OTT (over the top) giant.

“Customers always want more – higher quality and better prices, which means we must transform and innovate continually to evolve the channel,” said Mitch.

Today, Netflix uses AI and machine learning to fine-tune ‘the science of recommendation’. In addition, AI is used to digitally monitor every frame to deliver maximal quality regardless of the device.

“The lesson of forming new ideas needs patience and the need to be brave. And don’t forget internal innovation from your own team, especially non-development members of the team,” said Mitch, adding that customer experience is built up from innovating the little simple moves sometimes, citing examples such as skipping intros, and seamless playing of the next episode automatically and so forth.

Acknowledging that Netflix faces ‘very aggressive competitors’, he surmises that increased content convergence, gamification and reduced attention spans are among upcoming trends. “The next generation of consumers are gamers, demanding interactive entertainment, and gaming in the cloud; and we will need to be more succinct with our content.”

The compelling need to constantly innovate and transform in today’s world formed the foundation for the summit’s subsequent sessions with industry leaders – comprising two panels and a ‘fireside’ chat.

Summit leadership panels: Successful models

First of two leadership panels

In the first of two leadership discussions, Ching-Fong (CF) Ong, managing director and senior partner, Boston Consulting Group moderated a hybrid panel on ‘Mastering Evolution in the New World’ featuring Paul Nicholls, Digital Transformation practice leader at Australian telco Telstra Purple; Matthew Pearson, CEO and founder of electric flying car company Airspeeder; and Jeremy Chong, director of global footwear services and finance director of 125+-year-old shoe manufacturer Bata Global.

One major emphasis in these discussions of successful use cases is that innovation and transformation are aptly enabled by partnering with telcos. Additionally, Paul Nicholls noted that ‘composability’ – a term adopted from the software world – offered a holistic model that is flexible, enabling agile, quick changes. “The foundation for agility is a composable model. For example, cloud allows you to adopt new technologies faster and at scale.”

Interestingly, most speakers pointed to talent and that ‘great people are essential to help run the business’ as part of a composable technology approach.

The second panel, moderated by research firm Twimbit’s founder and CEO Manoj Menon, on succeeding in the new abnormal. Joining him were Fabian Bigar, CEO of MyDigital, the agency tasked with delivering the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint; Effendy Shahul Hamid, CEO of CIMB Digital Assets, CIMB Group; and Ir Dr Lim Eu Shawn, chief global solutions officer for Malaysian drone technology and enterprise solutions provider Aerodyne Group.

In addressing the new ‘abnormal,’ current conditions are a maelstrom of challenges, Manoj elicited insights from the speakers and their various sectors on how to generate and nurture all essential drivers of innovation. These include the proviso to “Do what you can do better than someone else”.

Summit fireside chat: Mastering digital with Petronas

Datuk Bacho Pilong and Shazurawati Abd Karim

During a ‘fireside’ chat, Datuk Bacho Pilong, senior vice president, Project Delivery and Technology, Petronas, spoke with Shazurawati Abd Karim, who helms TM One as its executive vice president, about how the national oil and gas company is learning to master and fully harness the potential within digital transformation in partnership with TM One.

Datuk Bacho acknowledged that since its set up in 1974, “The company has come a long way, founded by young talent. Back then it was oil and gas, now we are transitioning into an energy company.”

His own experiences overseas mirrored the company’s expanding footprint – now in 100 countries – and how the data-driven path is creating new opportunities. “Our anchor is a belief in data as an asset, and that digital is an accelerator.”

“I’ll be candid: We started the digital journey just five years ago and it wasn’t always smooth sailing: but the journey is worthwhile,” he reveals, adding as an example: “When we went into the coronavirus lockdown in 2020, we were ready. Over a weekend, we were able to roll out plans to continue working globally, all enabled by cloud.”

Cloud as common platform

Indeed, the cloud proved to be the common platform that allowed all the teams to become borderless, he said. “What we used to take two years to do, we now achieved in six months. We are 60% on the cloud and by year-end, we should close that gap.”

In addition, the use of robotics and automation has enhanced staff safety, and productivity, and addresses the silo mindset, which he describes as a common human trait.

And the digital journey to strengthening essential infrastructure components continues, especially as Malaysia is committed to becoming a carbon-neutral nation by 2050

“It is all about innovating to the next, and to the next, and to the next,” said Shazurawati. “TM One’s LEAP Summit is part of our continuous commitment to enable organisations to prepare for their next advantage, today and tomorrow. With one of the common challenges faced by organisations being how to start or even expand their innovation and transformation journey, we connect them to world-class leaders to open up new ideas and possibilities that enterprises can put into motion.”

LEAP Summit brings major 5G news

TM One 5G Sphere inauguration

The LEAP summit also heralded two major announcements, signalling TM One’s preparedness for the acceleration of 5G rollouts throughout Malaysia.

In her closing remarks, Shazurawati first pointed to MyDigital’s aim to cover 80% of Malaysia’s population by the end of 2024 with 5G connectivity, saying that 5G is another “key to bringing us all to the Next”.

With data as an essential asset of a digital economy, 5G will deliver faster throughput in real time right to the computing edge, she explained. This will result in real-time detection and the potential for instant analysis and action. Other benefits include enhanced safety, reduced down-times, and the ability to scale up at speed.

On that note, Shazurawati’s second announcement was the unveiling of the TM One 5G Sphere programme – an alliance of industry ecosystem partners, smart solutions and technology partners to create an ecosystem to support the next phase of enterprise innovation and transformation, leveraging 5G.

Furthermore, TM One’s 5G Sphere offers the opportunity for enterprises to springboard their transformation through actual case studies and proof of concepts that address their unique business challenges.

“To date, we have 37 partners with us,” Shazurawati said.

Demos of 5G-powered applications

Also at the summit, in-class showcases demonstrated 5G-enabled applications for Smart Healthcare, Smart Industry and Smart Cities, along with several digital solutions and services, demonstrating the latest end-to-end technologies available to enterprises and the public sector to spur their digital growth.

Digital doors with growth potential

TM One’s new digital doors are timely, and despite numerous various macroeconomic and geopolitical headwinds, there is significant growth potential.

Shazurawati explained, “The next phase of smart innovative transformation will be 5G-driven opportunities, with capabilities such as video monitoring, logistics, fleet management, and private 5G networks powering manufacturing, transport, factories, and campuses already on the horizon.”

Speaking to the wider context, Shazurawati cited various analyst reports:

  • 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
  • A recent Kroll 2022 Cyber Risk and CFOs study of CFOs in Asia Pacific highlights that 84% confirmed they had more than three cybersecurity incidents in the last 18 months
  • A study by cybersecurity company Surfshark ranks Malaysia in the list of the 11 most invasive and highly threatened countries in the second quarter of 2022

Shazurawati also emphasized that transformation is a journey of many small steps – and security must be given priority

Indeed, according to the latest e-Conomy SEA report by Google, Temasek and Bain & Company, eCommerce generated $340 million in the first six months of this year. Southeast Asia’s internet economy will reach $200 billion in the total value of transactions expected this year – three years ahead of earlier projections. Furthermore, Malaysia’s digital economy grew by 13% year-on-year this year reaching $21 billion gross merchandise value (GMV).

Human aspects of digitalisation

Forward-thinking and acting telcos are fast becoming tech companies. In an interview at the beginning of this year, Shazurawati amplified the human aspects of digitalisation and on tapping technology to benefit people and enrich the ways we live and work into the future.

“Moving forward, optimal 5G business solutions will arise from smart collaborations and coalitions among industry leaders, accelerating the next phase of technology adoption by both industry and the country as a whole, and enabling our aspirations for a Digital Malaysia.”

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