Week in Review: More brick-and-mortar companies adapting to digital

  • Indonesian tycoon says there is no choice but to adopt tech
  • Malaysian property developer adopting business model around IoT

Week in Review: More brick-and-mortar companies adapting to digitalONE is an 88-year old scion of one of Indonesia’s wealthiest families; the other is in his early 40s and no doubt hoping to be as successful with his three-year-old property group.
Both are making their fortunes in the brick-and-mortar world, and yet both accept that adopting technology is crucial to their continued success.
I am talking about Mochtar Riady, founder and chairman of the Lippo Group; and Murly Manokharan, group chief executive officer of Penang-based developer Aspen Group.

“The rule nowadays is simple: A sunset industry is one that does not recognise and embrace IT processes in its business,” said Mochtar, speaking at a conference earlier this week in Jakarta.
Over in Kuala Lumpur, I attended the event where Murly signed a collaborative agreement with Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) as Aspen Group’s partner to roll out smart city services for its US$2.5- billion GDV (gross development value) Aspen Vision City.
“[The] IoT is not in the future, it is already here,” he declared.
Of course, you will get enough experts telling you that mass deployment of the IoT is still years away and dependent on various challenges being overcome. But the point is, Murly sees the value and relevance of the IoT in our lives and is now changing his business model and is willing to invest US$49.5 million over the next 10 years to make it happen.
As one property developer told me over breakfast recently, while there will be scepticism over his move by his peers, they all will no doubt be watching this development closely and will no doubt be quick to adapt if Murly is successful with his bold move here.
This one move by Murly will do more to move the IoT cause forward than all the hype spewed by every tech vendor in town!
And speaking of tech, Lippo’s Mochtar also said, “We are no longer in the dynamo economy era, where every machine and device needed a dynamo to run.
“Now, it is all in chips, tiny little things that run the world today. That means we are already in a digital world – this world is faster, sometimes meaner, but leaves us with no choice but to follow,” he cautioned.
Reading what Mochtar had to say and talking to Murly reminded me of my key takeaways from our What’s Next 2015 conference when we had Tony Fernandes as our keynote speaker.
The AirAsia supremo, who is also a DNA Digerati50, is no tech expert but he clearly recognises the power of technology to enable him to better compete in the business world.
And that’s all today’s brick-and-mortar leaders need to realise … and fast! Competition is coming hard and fast from not only startups, but also from their brick-and-mortar peers.
I wonder what my chances are of inviting Mochtar to speak at What’s Next 2017?
Have a restful weekend and a productive week after.
Editor’s Picks:
Digerati50: Creating a global tech hub (and playground)
Go digital or go bust: Indonesian ‘old-school’ tycoon Mochtar Riady
A services-based business model – from a property developer?
Barghest wants to help buildings go green, and has more up its sleeve
Indonesia's PesanLab connects consumers to medical labs
Malaysians don’t just compare, they want to buy financial products online: Report
Outsourcing Malaysia programme to widen GBS talent pool
Previous Instalments:
Week in Review: Buying or adopting tech should come later

Week in Review: Legalising Uber and Grab the easy part, what of Airbnb?
Week in Review: Go-Jek’s US$550mil funding sparks intriguing scenarios
Week in Review: Adapting to the new reality of a world going digital

Week in Review: A trend emerges with bricks-and-clicks model

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