Local companies finds it easier to innovate during pandemic

SIGNIFICANTLY more organisations in Malaysia have found innovation to be easier since COVID-19, according to a study done by Microsoft and International Data Corporation (IDC) Asia Pacific.

Microsoft Malaysia managing director K. Raman said that based on the research, 65% of organisations in the country have found innovation to be easier, a drastic shift from 24% before the pandemic. 

“During the pandemic, organisations were forced to innovate, and in doing so, they learned it is not as hard as they had anticipated. With this new confidence, firms in Malaysia have been rapidly embracing a culture of innovation to ensure business continuity and future relevance,” he said in a statement today.

Furthermore, 77% of the decision-makers surveyed in Malaysia say that innovation is now a “must” for them to respond quickly to market challenges and opportunities as the country adapts and builds business resilience in the face of uncertainties.

 The study, titled “Culture of Innovation: Foundation for business resilience and economic recovery in Asia Pacific”, polled 223 business decision-makers in Malaysia within a six-month period, before and since COVID-19.

The Malaysian study was part of a broader survey among 3,312 business decision-makers and 3,495 workers across 15 markets in the Asia-Pacific, conducted over the same period, to uncover how organisations can successfully fuel business resilience and performance through innovation. 

It also revealed that almost eight in 10 Malaysian organisations (77%) are speeding up digitalisation in a variety of ways to adapt to the new reality. This includes launching digital products and introducing digital payments to embrace e-commerce and automation. 

Further to this, close to 28% of Malaysian organisations believe that their current business model would not be competitive within the next five years.

The statement said one of the organisations that have been prioritising innovation is Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB).

It quoted TNB president and CEO, Datuk Seri Amir Hamzah Azizan, as saying that the utility giant is committed to providing its customers with the best experience through innovation in its solutions, which extends beyond kWh (kilowatt-hour) offerings.

He said during the peak of the movement control order (MCO), about 75% of TNB staff were working from home on short notice and TNB continued to ensure reliable electricity supply to 9.25 million customers across Peninsular Malaysia, especially for places that needed it the most, i.e. hospitals and clinics. 

“We encouraged our customers to use the myTNB app, which was ready for a time when customers could not go to Kedai Tenaga to manage their electricity account(s), and we were able to handle the sudden volume surge.

“This is in line with our aspirations to inculcate a culture of innovation among our 36,000 employees, which focuses on realising TNB’s purpose to be a leading provider of sustainable energy solutions in Malaysia and internationally,” Amir said.

Meanwhile, PLUS Malaysia Bhd managing director Datuk Azman Ismail said PLUS, Malaysia’s largest expressway service provider, began its digital transformation (DT) journey with Microsoft since 2019 with the integration of Microsoft’s Azure cloud system into its highway toll network. 

He said in 2020 alone, the company implemented and completed 58 digitisation initiatives via Office 365. PLUS was the first in Malaysia to leverage future-ready technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data analytics and cloud computing to transform and modernise the Malaysian highway experience.

“It is about our Warga PLUS who have embraced and changed their way of working through greater adoption of technology, in particular digitisation and digitalisation.

“We progressively and diligently embarked on many such internal-facing DT initiatives for efficiency at work as well as external-facing DT initiatives to increase our customer experience and satisfaction,” he added. – Nov 16, 2020

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