Digitalization for Improving Customer-Centric Experiences – Day 2 Key Takeaways from the 36th edition of ASEAN Innovation business Platform (AIBP) Conference & Exhibition

The 36th edition of the ASEAN Innovation Business Platform (AIBP) Conference & Exhibition continued today, 18 October 2022, in Royale Chulan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

Day 2 of the conference presented us with insights from leaders from both the public and private sector, sharing their insights and initiatives on digital transformation.

Meeting Customer Needs in Banking and Financial Services

The day started with the presentation on Driving Customer Centricity with Technology Innovations by Kashif Khan, Vice President – Transaction Banking, Digital Channels & Global Banking Technology Service Management from Standard Chartered Bank. During the presentation, Kashif discussed and highlighted the importance of centering business decisions around customer’s perceptions and expectations – “Customer centricity is not only a strategy; it is a culture”.

In addition, Kashif also pinpointed that it is highly crucial that necessary changes in digital structures, processes and tools should be done to improve customer touchpoints and subsequently, generate positive customer experiences. This idea was echoed by the members of the panel discussion on Spearheading Customer-centric Innovation: Raymond Lee, Head of SME-Wide Ancillary & Transaction (SWAT) Sales, Enterprise Banking from Affin Bank Berhad posited that attaining and retaining customers are two of the most crucial factors in determining the success of customer experiences, and in order to achieve this success, it is vital that firms are to invest on their human capital and community-centric interactions with customers. Similarly, Viral Dhruv, Senior Manager, Technology Consulting, Deloitte and Calvin Wong, Head of Digital, RHB Bank both agreed that the technology aspect is not necessarily the most important one in shaping positive customer experience, but rather, the improvement of current touchpoints and messaging to customers to be more targeted towards specific consumer needs. Calvin further elaborated that time and efforts are required to engage customers and have a better understanding of their needs, while Sandeep Singh, Head, Ecosystems, Labs & Partnership, Digital & Innovation Office, Hong Leong Bank also agreed that digitalization of touchpoint systems and being able to leverage touchpoints’ strengths to cater to consumers’ needs will prove to be important in generating positive customer experiences. 

We continued on the theme of customer-centric experience in the following session, with a deeper focus on the retail sector. The session kicked off with a presentation from Paul Davis. Vice-President Sales, APAC, Scandit on the endless possibilities to leverage on smart data captures and other technologies to redefine in-store and omni-channel experiences. The session continued with a panel discussion centered on how enterprises in the retail sectors have utilised digitalization to forge meaningful relationships with consumers, with the participation from panellists representing AEON Group, AirAsia Super App, and Lazada Malaysia. 

Despite the differences in goals that each panellist aimed to achieve in their respective organisations, all of them shared one common goal: to be able to further leverage on the power of data to understand customer decisions and thus, improving customer experiences in the retail space. Low Ngai Yuen, Chief Merchandise & Marketing Officer, AEON Group aimed to extend AEON’s physical retail impacts by striking a balance between ensuring efficiency and improving customer experiences through data. More specifically, the usage of data, according to Ngai Yuen, would help AEON to have a better understanding of crucial business decisions, namely pricing sensitivity and analysing consumer behaviour and purchase patterns. On a similar note, Syarif Lee, Chief Customer Officer, Lazada Malaysia stressed the importance of investment on logistics and technology to ensure the O2O (online-to-offline and offline-to-online) synergy between consumers and retailers and keeping up customer satisfaction. Lim Ben-Jie, Group Head of Delivery (Food/Ride/Xpress), AirAsia Super App also agreed on harnessing the power of data to improve customer-centric experience, citing the example of AirAsia leveraging on data to maximise the potential of the popular Kuala Lumpur-Penang flight route. In addition, Ben-Jie also cited the importance of investing on human capital via upskilling of manpower so that firms will be ready to have a better understanding of consumer’s needs. 

Citizen-Centric Smart City

To wrap up the conference, the final session further dove into the topic of improving customer-centric experiences, in the context of Smart City development. The session started with a presentation by Mohamed Azrin bin Mohamed Ali, Head of Solutions, Retail Division, Tenaga Nasional Berhad, on the topic of Accelerating the Adoption of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in Malaysia. During the presentation, Mohamed Azrin bin Mohamed Ali pinpointed the various reasons behind the rise of EVs in the past few years, as well as the adoption of technologies to progressively address some of the concerns around implementing EVs in Malaysia. For instance, technology can be implemented in order to facilitate easy charging of EVs at home, as well as in the public. 

The session concluded  with a panel discussion on the topic of citizen-centric smart city development. Maimunah Jaffar, Director, Technology & Innovation, Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) said that “smart city tools can be used to accomplish sustainability and balance between economic and social development of Malaysia”. In greater details, Maimunah Jaffar gave the example of Smart Integrated Mobility Management System, a project spearheaded by IRDA which utilised data to plan optimal routings for public transport systems in Malaysia. Leveraging on the power of spatial data and mobility data, the routings were made possible. Echoing this sentiment, Ang Kah Heng, Head, Innovation & Industry Development Department, Cyberview also opined the importance of data mobility in ensuring greater flexibility on determining which elements of smart city development that the organisation should focus on. Prof. Jugdutt (Jack) Singh, Chief Scientist & Chief Advisor, State Government of Sarawak also joined to share his insights on some of the current gaps in technology that can hamper the usage of data in facilitating Smart City development. For example, Prof Jack stated that data readiness and technology literacy level in the organisation are some of the potential problems that can be addressed to further promote the growth of Smart City. As a result, improving the current infrastructure to ensure that it is capable of supporting Smart City data infrastructure will be crucial as Malaysia continues its journey towards Smart City development.

Wrapping up the 36th edition of ASEAN Innovation business Platform (AIBP) Conference & Exhibition

It has been an eye-opening journey across the two days of the 36th edition of AIBP Conference & Exhibition in Malaysia, as we learn how  digital innovation and cybersecurity is shaping multiple sectors of the economy, including but not limited to, government agencies, manufacturing, retail, banking, and smart city. Some of the common challenges that organisations face during digital innovation are lack of fundings and supporting infrastructure (in terms of both technology and human capital infrastructure); nevertheless, there are multiple solutions to address these challenges, including but not limited to, transparent conversations with government agencies for financial assistance, and more importantly, changing in terms of mindset – digital innovation should be integrated, not an add-on, to the operation of the organisation. Ultimately, changing mindset and improving on human capital will prove to be a long-run solution in promoting digital innovation in Malaysia.

We will be continuing the AIBP Conference and Exhibition journey across ASEAN region in the next month, in:  

  • Jakarta, Indonesia (1 – 2 Nov)
  • Manila, Philippines (15 – 16 Nov)
  • Bangkok, Thailand (29 – 30 Nov)

If you are interested in participating in these activities, contact us at [email protected]!


18 October 2022