On the 2nd day of AIBP Insights Malaysia – Enhancing ROI of Enterprise Technology Investments, our discussion on Critical Asset Management featured new insights and plans from asset-heavy organizations, Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB), Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Corp and Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) as well as solution providers Tech9 Technologies and Magnifi Machines.
AIBP Insights is a series of country-focused sessions held online which brings together a focus group of ASEAN stakeholders to discuss topics related to enterprise technology adoption in the region. AIBP Insights will be held across Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam in the next 5 weeks. The agenda is available here.
Critical Asset Management in ASEAN
Asset-heavy industries like utilities, oil and gas, logistics and manufacturing depend on assets in multiple locations to run their core businesses. Critical asset management involves identifying and understanding assets to minimize risks to critical assets and determine best practices in connecting and managing them in scale.
Worldwide, the largest listed companies by market capitalization are mostly asset-light. For ASEAN companies however, asset-heavy industries including telcos, traditional banks and utilities are still dominating the market. How can ASEAN’s asset-heavy industries leverage technology to optimize their assets and improve their business models?
What Do Malaysian Organizations Think of Technology Investments for Critical Asset Management?
In the focused discussion on managing assets and portfolio performance in scale, our panelists shared their experiences with identifying problems faced in managing their organization’s assets and addressing resistance to technology adoption. Panelists in the transport and utilities industry also spoke about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and how technology adoption has helped them during these trying times.
Generally, the panel agreed that attitudes toward technology adoption have improved but the issue of justifying the costs and ROI of technology adoption remains.
Impact of Digital Adoption
During the past few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, essential businesses had to adapt their operations, and technology was a key solution for them. While many enterprises were pushed to digitalize during the COVID-19 pandemic, some had already started on various digital initiatives to change their business operations. Sim Ko Sin, Vice President , ICT of SEB and En. Zahari, Chief Engineer, Asset Management at TNB observed that the pandemic has both endorsed digital efforts put in place prior to the pandemic and accelerated digitalization.
Prior to the pandemic, SEB and TNB had already incorporated digital solutions in their operations. For SEB, a key energy provider for Sarawak, technology adoption began with identifying and isolating problems faced. Choung Jung Chai, Assistant Manager ICT at SEB shared that difficulties were faced in estimating conductor health as transmission line operations were ongoing and the required sample size was too large to manually collect. SEB thus explored the possibility of using IoT and data analytics to predict and estimate transmission line health. TNB had also begun installing smart meters to facilitate remote meter-readings and billing.
For SEB and TNB, focus was also placed on enabling employees working from home by implementing technology solutions for employees. Saiful, Head of ICT at MAVCOM shared that the organization was well-prepared for Malaysia’s Movement Control Order since operations, including customer support and airline flight applications, have been cloud-based since its inception in 2016.
Samuel Chan, Director of solution provider Tech9 also observed that from the beginning of this year, clients in the aviation industry have been moving towards consolidating and relooking technologies to save costs and manage assets while preparing for the post-pandemic industry.
Key Concerns for Digital Adoption in Asset-heavy Industries
Key concerns mentioned by our panelists include connectivity solutions and justifying ROI on technology investments.
For utilities, connectivity to customers is vital for their operations. Sim Ko Sin, Vice President, ICT of SEB shared that they have recently begun leveraging private optics for connectivity but are still relying on satellite communications for rural, remote areas in Sarawak. TNB is focused on asset management to ensure cost-efficiency, optimum operations and low System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI), as well as readying their networks for energy integration.
While most agree that businesses must invest in technology, many face difficulties when it comes to the costs and justifications for ROI on technology spending. Both enterprises and solution providers on our panel agreed that initiatives and investments in technology must be aligned with business needs and priorities.
A typical way to measure and justification for ROI on technology spending mentioned was balancing between CAPEX and OPEX. Zahari, Chief Engineer, Asset Management at TNB brought forward an additional factor to take into consideration – the impact of technology investments on labour and jobs. Costs-wise, both Tech9 and Magnifi agree that short term pilots or POCs and subscription-based models may encourage more enterprises to come onboard with digital adoption.
The full discussion can be viewed here.
We will be hosting AIBP Insights sessions for Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam over the next few weeks. To participate in the sessions, kindly register your interest here.
6 October 2020