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The State of Enterprise Mobility in Southeast Asia – Where does Myanmar Stand?

The Asia Pacific region is set to become the world's center for digital transformation and innovation. According to IDC's prediction, mobility spend in APAC excluding Japan is set to become the largest in the world with growth from $514 billion in 2015 to $578 billion by 2019. Their 2014 enterprise mobility survey found that 70% of the respondents stated that mobility is one of their top ICT priorities.

With the increased need to assess information around the clock and collaboration with others, having a clear enterprise mobility strategy is essential. Some of the top factors contributing to this demand are: improving customer experience, to gain competitive advantage and improving employee productivity. However many of the strategies tend to more reactive than proactive. Customers and employees are the focus of mobile strategies and BYOD is an important area. However a survey by VMware revealed that over a third of employees in Southeast Asia are using unapproved personal devices for work, and a further 38% failed to comply with their company's IT policies or do not know them at all.

The Enterprise Mobility Security Question

The Ponemon Institute has published a State of the Endpoint report since 2010 and their 2016 report showed that many enterprise mobile security concerns stems from the BYOD trend. When asked "What are the biggest threats to endpoint security in your organization?", the most prevalent answer was people, in the form of "Negligent or careless employees who do not follow security policies." Similarly the leading response to a question on "Where are you seeing the greatest rise in potential IT security risk?" was "Mobile devices such as smartphones."

With more than half of Southeast Asia's population now using the internet, and mobile internet use driving much of this rapid growth, the opportunity to incorporate these digital users with an enterprise mobility strategy is a lucrative one.

Banking and financial services institutions are leading the pack as they seek to generate new revenue streams through their mobility strategy with 2 in 5 organizations allocating budget to pursue a mobile strategy.

The Enterprise Mobility market in Myanmar

According to the Myanmar Telecommunications Ministry, over 90% of Myanmar adults have access to mobile phones in 2016 with smartphone penetration approaching 80% of all mobile phones. As IMF's world's fastest growing economy in 2016, Myanmar has a latecomer advantage and can leapfrog quickly into the technology era. "The consumer market in Myanmar has essentially bypassed the development stages seen in other economies and moved straight to digital and mobile, creating huge potential for internet-enabled businesses', said Mika Artaut, Head of digital marketing at Wave Money.

Big organizations like KBZ Bank, Awba and City Mart has embarked on their digital transformation journeys with solution providers like Microsoft, VWware, SAP.

Nang Kham Noung, Executive Director of KBZ Bank, identified the unbanked comprising 95 percent of the country’s population as a key opportunity. Their collaboration with VMware will provide the Bank’s employees with a digital workspace and the freedom to work on any device, giving them more opportunities to collaborate internally with others at the Bank.

The Security Roadblock in Myanmar

However Myanmar remains vulnerable to cyber attacks. In Microsoft’s 2017 report, Security Intelligence Report Volume 22, has revealed that Myanmar is now the 4th most exposed country in Asia Pacific to malicious programmes, among Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam. (Read the article on cyber security in Myanmar.)

With Myanmar expanding internet penetration and a lack of of understanding of the risks of being online and how to protect themselves, the security gap is hampering the adoption of digital services .

This is especially important to the banking sector and the push for mobile financial services- without a strong security, many people lack trust in online banking services.

Myanmar's cyber security in their ICT Master Plan

The need to maintain the availability of services, integrity of systems and protect information against attacks will become a central issue to the Government of Myanmar’s internet governance policy. One of the high priority items under the 2011–2015 ICT Master Plan’s Infrastructure component is the establishment of a Cyber Security Centre and the intention to build a Cybersecurity Protection Agency to protect Myanmar's critical information and infrastructure and to enhance Internet security and create a safe Internet environment.

Cybersecurity is currently managed by a single organisation called the Myanmar Computer Emergency Response Team (MMCERT), under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (Now Ministry of Communication and Transport).  MMCERT exists to disseminate advice and best practices regarding cyber security, provide technical assistance through workshops and seminars, and to cooperate with law enforcement officials on cyber-crime or security issues. However it lacks the funding, sponsorship, and support needed to adequately address cyber-security threats in Myanmar’s rapidly evolving ICT sector.

Moving forward

As mobile phone penetration and internet users continue to increase in Myanmar, the opportunity to target this population with digital services offers huge incentives. (Read Fintech in Southeast Asia.) Initiatives like DAWN Microfinance also helps to improve the livelihood of citizens by utilizing digital financial services.

What can the Ministry of Communication and Transport do to accelerate this development?

Find out more at our 18th edition of the Asia IoT Business Platform being held at Yangon, Myanmar on 23 & 24 November 2017.

Speakers include:

  • U Soe Thein, Director General, Post and Telecommunications Department, Ministry of Transport and Communications
  • Daw Nwe Ni Soe Yin, Director General, E-Government Department, Ministryof Transport and Communications
  • Lars Erik Tellmann, CEO, Telenor Myanmar
  • Vikram Sinha, Acting CEO, Ooredoo Myanmar
  • Yoshiaki Benino, COO, MPT-KSGM
  •  Utpal Bora, Chief Information Officer, KBZ Bank
  • Mike Phone Myint, Head of IT, Yoma Bank
  • Minn Wint Oo, Deputy Managing Director, AYA Bank
  • Aung Min, Director of IT, First Private Bank
  • Myo Win Than, Digital Banking Head, Asia Green Development Bank

By Yue Yeng Fong | November 3rd, 2017

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