What’s Next: Who's to say the ‘big fish’ can’t be fast and nimble?

  • Ideal platform to exchange ideas on how different industries adapting to digital disruption
  • Older generation in Brick & Mortars do face challenge understanding digital innovation


What’s Next: Who's to say the ‘big fish’ can’t be fast and nimble?


THE disruptors are already here and they are increasingly getting access to more funding from venture capitalists who are not afraid of taking long term positions nor put off by the losses startups incur in their early years.

To wit, Singapore-based gaming company, SEA (formerly Garena) has just listed on the Nasdaq market. This is a company (Khazanah Nasional Bhd is an investor as well) described as the most valuable startup in Southeast Asia at around US$4 billion (RM16.9 billion) but it had a net loss of US$165.2 million in the first half of 2017 on revenue of US$195.5 million. [US$1 = RM4.22]

Yet one VC shares that investors are betting it can become the dominant player in its space and recoup all the money it has lost. And really, this is what all Brick & Mortar companies are up against, especially if they find that their market has attracted the interest of startups that feel they can do a better job of delivering value to customers in that market. And the confidence of those startups is matched by investors who are raising more and more money to be pumped into disrupting the status quo in Southeast Asia.

 So what are the Brick & Mortar players doing to ensure they not just retain their customers and revenue base, but also grow this base in the face of a type of competition they have never faced before?

You can head over to What’s Next on Nov 9 to hear from some of them about their experience in managing the digital disruption that has hit their sectors.

While it is sexy to talk about how fintench will disrupt banking and take away large swathes of business from incumbent banks, the banks themselves would beg to defer on the gloomy scenario painted about their futures.What’s Next: Who's to say the ‘big fish’ can’t be fast and nimble? 

Come listen to what the leading banking group in the country is doing to adapt its strategy to meet this disruption. As a speaker at What’s Next, Maybank’s Chief Strategy Officer, Michael Foong (pic, right) is looking forward to the conference.

“I think What’s Next will be a great opportunity for companies to understand how disruptive technology is continuing to change the way we work, and learn how it is re-shaping both the present and the future. I also see it as an ideal platform to exchange ideas and thoughts on how people from different industries are confronted with similar issues but are adapting in different ways to the digital disruption, and uncovering opportunities that are unique.”

Foong also has his point of view in regards to Catcha Group chairman, Patrick Grove’s belief that we are in an era where the small fish will beat the big fish simply because the small fish are faster and more nimble. 

“My view is that it takes a lot more than just being fast and nimble to succeed. And who’s to say the big fish can’t do that either?” says Foong whose talk is How Does a RM100bil Company Unlock Value?

Foong agrees that there will always be some small fish that are more nimble and will grow bigger, and there’ll be the big fish that die by the side. But there are also the small fish that die, while some big fish grow bigger he says. “Take a look at Ali Baba, Tencent, WeChat, Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple. Do you see any small fish today that’s likely to beat them in the near to mid-term future? I doubt it. What’s Next: Who's to say the ‘big fish’ can’t be fast and nimble?Will there be big fish that grow to compete with them? Of course, just look at the likes of Xiaomi,” he says.

While being fast and nimble are important, Foong highlights that there are also other factors that will determine one’s success such as the ability to innovate, leverage on technology, identify opportunities, manage risks and understand what the customer truly wants. And big companies did not get to become big by not understanding these key factors.

One key factor that all Brick & Mortar companies are facing as they adapt to digital is to reorient the mindset of their people. In this aspect, another key speaker at What’s Next, Muhamed Hassan Kamil, Group Managing Director, Takaful Malaysia Bhd (pic, right) acknowledges that, “Yes, it has been a challenge to shift the mindset from face to face to digital especially for the operations and marketing strategy.”

Not surprisingly, Hassan also sees a generational issue. “The challenge is more chronic for the elder generation who is not quite up to date on digital innovation. At first, my staff thought that digital is merely converting all the papers to digital, but that is clearly not quite right.”

A leading insurance player in the country, Takaful Malaysia is well aware that the whole process needs to be revised to make it simpler and customer friendly. At the same time, one other challenge faced by Takaful Malaysia is that, “consumers think that purchasing online should be cheaper than face to face but this may not be absolutely true,” says Hassan who will share more at What’s Next of what his company is doing to remain relevant and a winner in the digital economy through his talk, Adapt to Disruption Now or Suffer a Slow Death.

So get your tickets now  for What’s Next on Nov 9 at The Saujana Hotel, if you want to listen to some real sharing from corporate players about how they are handling Digital Disruption.

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