What’s Next 2017: Enter the incumbents and their digital strategies moving forward

  • Despite Malaysia’s DPI score of 1.7 it is not all doom and gloom
  • Hong Leong Bank, Maxis, Bukit Kiara Properties have their own unique digital strategies


What’s Next 2017: Enter the incumbents and their digital strategies moving forward


THERE is a lot of talk about going digital and by now every company knows that it must adopt a digital-first strategy.

But the question is how effective is your company in their digital strategy? That question was answered at the recently concluded “What’s Next 2017: The Business Impact of Disruptive Technology”.

Taking 28 of the top companies in Malaysia across nine different industries, Accenture Malaysia released the findings from its Digital Performance Index (DPI) in September 2017 and the score of 1.7 out of 4 clearly shows that corporate Malaysia has a long way to go.

Accenture Strategy’s managing director Lim Yin Sern explained that the objective of the DPI was to provide a more holistic measure of a business that doesn’t just take into account the customer-facing side of the business but also the inner workings like its talent and culture.

Despite the low score, Lim acknowledges that there has been a lot of good progress made by Malaysian companies particularly with the intent of rotating their businesses towards being more digital.

In fact, Accenture found that banks and telcos are the leading industries right now in terms of digital transformation, scoring between 2.2 to 2.3 on average.

Getting everyone on board

It so happens that two of the panellists come from those very industries. Hong Leong Bank general manager and Customer Experience head Loo Jian Sern explained how the over 100-year-old bank has realigned to put digital at its very core though the journey has not been easy.

“The vision sounds simple but it is difficult to execute. We needed to know where to begin and there was also the matter of convincing our own people to embrace a digital-first approach,” he said.

Part of that strategy was to adopt a human-centric design thinking that meant putting themselves in the shoes of the customer and delivering what they would want, be it online or offline.

This led to Hong Leong putting in place measures to get immediate feedback from its customers in the form of real-time social media monitoring, surveys and speech analytics to hear calls so that they could act on the complaints. This line of sight between customers and the bank itself goes all the way from management right down to the service people.

This is approach is very much in line with several imperatives that Lim believes companies need to have in order remain competitive. Companies must create experiences that are hyper-relevant to the customer.

It is only after they understood the needs and wants of their customers that technology came into the picture. This included efforts to embrace different kinds of technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI) by being the first bank to launch an AI advisor and use AI to power back-office operations.

To Loo, cutting-edge technologies help people to make better decisions while increasing their productivity and providing better customer experiences.


What’s Next 2017: Enter the incumbents and their digital strategies moving forward


Telco Maxis also embarked on a digital transformation journey in 2014 when chief executive officer Morten Lundal started on a four-year vision to transform the entire company into a digital company.

Having been at Maxis for many years, head of business solutions enterprise division Claire Featherstone knew that entrusting the transformation of the company to a “digital department” wasn’t going to work as the buy-in has to occur across the board.

Accenture’s Lim couldn’t agree more as having digital at the very core of the company’s strategy is essential, as is creating flexible work structures that break down silos.

“We are in a very challenging market so we had to look at how we offer our solutions to our customers and explore non-traditional lines of business,” she explained.

This led to the creation of new products like the Maxis One Prime plan that combines the telco’s home and home broadband offerings into a single package while selling trendy lifestyle products like smartphones, TVs and game consoles together.

Even property players like Bukit Kiara Properties are looking at non-traditional methods of engaging with its customers. It's group managing director N.K. Tong jokingly calls the company a dinosaur but is pushing his company into the digital space to better interact with potential customers.

“I kept pushing my team that we need to have a closed Facebook group for our customers for each of our projects. Naturally, I faced a lot of resistance but the idea finally went through in 2013,” he said.

Tong saw the immediate benefits of adopting social media into the company’s customer service as the closed group created a sense of community among its members and they were able to receive customer feedback and send quick responses at the same time.

Of course, with the good comes the bad and since the groups are mostly unmoderated, there have been troublemakers spreading fake news in the past. Still, the positives outweigh the negatives in Tong’s opinion as he is able to gauge what is trending and monitor the company’s customer service wherever he goes.

Beyond using technology to interact with its customers, Tong believes that the company’s mountain of data from interviews with candidates it screens can be used to analyse the key traits of a potentially good employee.

“We have over 400 data points of people who have come and left the company. I would like to see what are the traits of employees who have worked five years and more and what keeps them working for us.”

What’s Next was sponsored by big data and analytics specialist, Fusionex International, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Maxis Bhd and Anaplan. Accenture Malaysia was Knowledge Partner, iTrain as Training Partner, Leaderonomics as Leadership Partner, Ansible Malaysia as Digital Partner and Valiram Group as Lifestyle Partner. BFM was the Media Partner.


Related Stories:

What's Next 2017: Banks waking up to disruptive nightmare from outside the industry

 What’s Next 2017: Malaysia Reimagined

What’s Next 2017: Getting the ball rolling for SMEs


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