Week in Review: Everything is interlinked
By Karamjit Singh January 23, 2015
- Geopolitical fissures, macroeconomic forces hit tech budgets
- Technology part and parcel of building any business today
THOMAS Friedman may have connected the dots with his World is Flat bestseller in 2005 and if you attended Wednesday’s DNA-TeAM Disrupt Hot Enterprise Tech Trends 2015 panel discussion, you would have received a reminder.
On the panel were Cheah Kok Hoong, Hitachi Sunway Information Systems group chief executive officer (CEO) and director; Victor Khor, executive vice president and head of Group Transaction and Alternate Banking at the Alliance Banking Group; and Andy Tan, Group chief information officer (CIO) of RHB Banking Group.
If you presumed the conversation would have been filled with tech jargon and buzzwords, you were in for a surprise. Instead, what we got from these three high powered panelists was a lesson in connecting the dots with macroeconomic theory meeting geopolitics with even a linkage to future prosperity and the IS movement in Syria-Iraq.
IS of course stands for is Islamic State. I won’t dwell into this, as you just had to be there to take in and digest the religious polarization threat and its link to tech investment.
At its crux, the panellists pointed to a depreciating currency against the US dollar, and lower oil prices hitting overall economic growth in Malaysia, hitting government coffers and thus its spending, as the twin factors that have combined to create a greater drag on business confidence and spending. Add to this the timing of the implementation of GST (Goods and Services Tax) in April and you have a hat trick of negative forces at play.
Now why does this impact tech budgets you may ask? To me, the direction of the conversation on Wednesday just reinforced the fact that technology is no longer some magic solution that creates a winning edge for those bold enough to implement it. It is part and parcel of the fabric of creating a business of any sort.
A minimum level of investment is needed for any business. And if you happen to be in a sector where the minimum level is already very high, as in the telco or low-cost airline sector, then so be it. It is the norm in that industry.
Only if you go beyond that normal, investing in specific areas, say big data and analytics, to give you a competitive differentiator in your market where no one else is, will you see the strategic value of technology.
Interestingly enough, Tan of RHB, who is group CIO responsible for operations in nine countries, says that strategic IT projects will likely not be cut, as long as the return on investment is there.
But do read the article from that discussion, by A. Asohan, our executive editor and the article our contributing editor Edwin Yapp, wrote on the likely impact on the tech sector from the government’s recent announcement of a further RM5.5 billion (US$1.53 billion) cut in its expenditure.
While the government is cutting its expenditure, one area that it is still pushing is the increased digitization of its various services. We have a solid piece from Goh Thean Eu on what MyEG Services Bhd founder and CEO, TS Wong says about how and why they are handling the online foreign worker work permit rollout. Wong is also a DNA Digerati50.
Finally, this week’s most popular article was Facing backlash, MyEG defends deal with Malaysian govt.
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