Yasmin’s key challenges at MDeC
By Karamjit Singh August 19, 2014
- New challenges facing creative content industry not ICT-related
- With Big Data and IoT trends, positioning and talent will also be a challenge
OF the three main clusters the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) has split its MSC Companies into, the InfoTech cluster is probably chomping at the bit for new chief executive officer (CEO), Yasmin Mahmood, to come on board.
Yasmin (pic) was officially announced as the agency’s new chief on Aug 18 and is slated to start work in her new role on Sept 15.
She takes over the position from Badlisham Ghazali, who officially resigned as CEO on June 20 to join Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB).
That being said, this may be the best time for the Creative Content Cluster to assert itself and demand its own special purpose agency to drive its growth while Shared Services and Outsourcing (SSO) should just maintain their gradual trajectory.
MSC Malaysia status companies are divided into three clusters: The Information Technology or InfoTech Cluster; the SSO Cluster; and the Creative Multimedia Cluster.
At RM14.66 billion, the InfoTech Cluster accounted for 44% of the total revenue of MSC Malaysia status companies in 2012; the SSO cluster contributed 31% or RM10.45 billion; and the Creative Multimedia Cluster recorded revenues of RM6.99 billion or 21% of the total.
The remaining 4% came from Institutions of Higher Leaning and incubators, which recorded revenues RM1.44 billion.
[RM1 = US$0.31]
The Creative content sector sticks out like a sore thumb in MDeC, made all the more obvious by its high profile. And, according to Leon Tan, producer of animated feature film Goliath: War Of The Worlds, the old reasons for keeping it under MDeC are “starting to wither.”
“The concerns today are no longer about tech but skills like scripts and producing and funding and distribution.
“No ICT (information communications technology) elements in these,” says Tan who is a member of the Post-Production, Animation & Creative Content Association of Malaysia, or Postam.
With Yasmins’ hardware and software experience over the past two decades, many can be forgiven for thinking that she will focus more of her energy on that cluster.
The only problem with this thinking is that Badlisham was also from a hardware and software background. And yet, during his first public event with MDeC staff, back in Jan 2006, he declared Shared Services and Outsourcing to be a new focus area for the national ICT custodian.
Similarly, will Yasmin decide to focus on any of the three sectors more than the others? Will she even carve out a new cluster?
Or will she go for some quick wins to reassure the industry that she is up to the job?
Digital News Asia (DNA) reached out the national ICT association of Malaysia, Pikom, for comment but did not get a response as at press time. DNA also spoke to the Technopreneur Association of Malaysia (TeAM) to gauge their views on her top three challenges.
TeAM councilor Azlan Yaacob suggests that Yasmin will face challenges positioning MDeC for the opportunities in Big Data and the Internet of Things as even the likes of SAP and Oracle are struggling with finding the right talent, many of whom are not in Malaysia.
He also thinks that it is a shame MDeC has made little effort in green technology, with a committee having previously been established but since disbanded.
“A shame, because Green ICT is moving rapidly in other parts of the world. And, once the impact of reporting is in full swing, we will be buying Green ICT from foreign companies, again,” he adds.
Within the creative content sector, TeAM member Low Huoi Seong contends that the hiring of a former IT executive to the top seat of MDeC suggests that the old thinking is still in play.
There is nothing wrong with that, however he points out that the media content development goals of MDeC is becoming more incongruous with that strategy.
MDeC, the National Film Development Corporation Malayisa (FINAS) and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) all come under one ministerial roof at the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia.
However these three agencies are not all aligned and there is a lot of pussyfooting when it comes to any exercise in coordination or in trying to set things right.
TeAM feels that Yasmin’s challenge in this area is to decide if MDeC and its Creative Multimedia Content (CMC) division is ready for the big time, to take the lead in sorting the mess out and helping the content industry.
Will she dare? Or is this a Pandora’s Box that she would rather leave untouched?