“What is IoT” was a question often posed to us in the years we have been hosting our ASEAN enterprise activities. Our answer has not wavered since day 1: to us, IoT is technology that enables businesses to reap the benefit of digitization. In 2017, there has been a greater convergence of multiple technologies in the digital transformation agenda. From AI, to big data to blockchain, these new developments have joined hands with various cloud services and data centre improvements to deliver organizational priorities.
Personally, as the host and chairperson of several of these enterprise discussions, what strikes me the most is how little enterprise decision makers focus on the technology label – the use case is infinitely more important to them.
In a Digital Change Survey commissioned by IFS, 750 professionals in 16 countries and a wide range of industries were asked about their digital transformation strategy and 80% saw themselves as ready to reap the benefits of this technology journey. Almost 9 out of 10 also felt that they had at least adequate funding to embark on digital projects.
In ASEAN, 84% of ASEAN enterprises are currently exploring and/or implementing IoT solutions with Thailand taking the lead at 89% and Industrial IoT applications as the most prevalent (87%). Many of the large Thailand enterprises have a dedicated IT subsidiary looking to leverage technology to further their parent company objectives and we have seen INSEE Digital Company (Siam City Cement) and CPF IT Center (Charoen Pokphand Group) spearhead digital transformation projects.
These statistics are a healthy indication of technology growth but we have yet to realise the full potential of digitization. Currently use cases are centred around three main areas as shown from our enterprise survey:
1) Improving productivity (76.3%)
2) Reduce long term operational costs (69.7%)
3) Improve customer relationship (66.1%)
In the IFS survey, digital transformation was also seen as benefiting internal process efficiencies the most. As more companies embark on digital change, examples like ZPMC who moved from building port machinery to providing intelligent port services will continue to increase and we can witness the full potential of technology disruption.
A common feedback from enterprise leaders in ASEAN is with regards to their main challenge: people – how do they get the buy-in from their staff? With aversion to change as the main barrier to digital transformation, it is important that enterprises are able to communicate the benefits to their entire workforce, shifting the discussion from “technology is taking away my job” to “technology is helping my firm become more competitive so that I can still have a job.”
Anthony Bourne, VP Global Industry Solutions at IFS, said that the three pillars to a successful digital transformation is technology, investment and people. For us, we will like to add one more critical factor: engagement with your customer. It does not matter if you are a B2B, B2C, or B2B2C organization, at the end of the day, all technology should drive greater customer value – and that is the motto of what we seek to do.
As we continue to expand our enterprise IoT footprint, we look forward to sharing these insights and opportunities with you in 2018.
Happy New Year!