DNA on BFM: The real challenge is within

  • CEOs trying to execute on digital adaptation need to strike balance
  • iPay88 welcomes Japan’s NTT Data as majority shareholder

DNA on BFM: The real challenge is withinONE of the things I like about being on BFM Radio live is that sometimes, something clicks when I am talking about the stories DNA has run, and I can draw a link between otherwise separate stories.
And this can happen as sometimes in conversation, chief executive officers (CEOs) share personal anecdotes with me, and those can be hard to weave into my articles. But the spontaneity of live radio affords me the opportunity share these anecdotes.
That happened again today when I was able to make a spontaneous link between how Hong Leong Bank Bhd (HLB) and AmMetLife Insurance Bhd were moving their respective digital agendas.
That was because I realise that both Hong Leong Islamic Bank CEO Raja Teh Maimunah and AmMetLife CEO Ramzi Toubassy have to balance how aggressive they can be in their digital adaptation, versus the reality of working in traditional, structured organisations – as most CEOs do.
Nothing new here, but what was interesting is that they shared their challenges and experiences at DNA’s What’s Next conference on Sept 29, and for Maimunah, at a separate interview I had with her last week.
What came out was the balancing act CEOs that have to maintain as they build out their still healthy businesses, run on traditional channels, while diverting some resources or getting budgets for new resources to build out their digital channels, and establish a strategy that is fluid – all while trying to create a new culture that is suitable for the digital age we are entering.
Quite a mouthful! Now just imagine being in the trenches trying to execute.
At What’s Next, Ramzi joked about how he would be escorted out of the building if he ever went to his board and said he was going to invest full scale in a digital initiative, advising them not to expect any immediate returns and to be prepared for the fact that the whole initiative could even fail.
You can listen to the podcast to hear more, as well as about the biometric feature that HLB has launched.
We then spoke about a startup with a name that both I and BFM presenter Freda Liu struggled to pronounce, Positunity Sdn Bhd.
Its founder Alex Phang has identified a pain point in current hiring practices and has unveiled his ‘wowintro’ online video impression platform, targeted specifically at Generation-Y and Generation-Z jobseekers. Interestingly, neither Liu nor I felt that this was such a differentiating feature.
We also spoke about a mature startup, iPay88, which has a new majority investor in the form of Japanese tech giant NTT Data.
Why would a company with 77,000 employees and with annual revenue of US$12.7 billion take a stake in a Malaysian-based regional online payments system company with 2013 revenue of RM3.7mil?
Listen to the podcast below to find out!

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