Authored by: Jasbir Singh, VP of Applications Sales, Oracle Malaysia
The ongoing economic and humanitarian crisis has caught everyone off guard. The global lockdown in some of the largest economies has led to an unforeseen break in economic activity. While governments are taking cautious steps with gradual lifting of lockdowns, we are confronted with a new normal. Over the next few months, we will witness the unveiling of this new normal and its impact on businesses. However, one thing is clear, the new normal is going to be far more digital, it’s going to elevate individuals’ and corporations’ transacting models to an unimaginable level.
The territory ahead is unchartered, so it becomes imperative for organisations to understand and develop ways to create value out of every organisational function. Expertise and acquired skills can help alleviate risks and rebuild efforts for businesses and communities alike. At the same time, the situation presents significant opportunity for companies to: rethink and reconsider; to challenge conventional thinking; to encourage innovation and creativity. All businesses rely on the effectiveness of their Business Continuity Plan (BCP) to maintain essential functions during and after any crisis situation. If an organisation does not have one, it is time to go back to the drawing board.
I have been talking to many customers over the last few months and have observed that now, more than ever, organisations are realising the need for a strong digital foundation. They are reimagining business resiliency and fine-tuning business continuity plans based on strong foundations provided by new-age digital technologies. Take the financial services industry that is deemed as ‘essential services’. In a very short time span, a large number of banks in India successfully empowered their employees to work-from-home – an unknown attribute in the banking industry, minimising inconvenience to their customers. Businesses are progressively looking to digital technologies like cloud and artificial intelligence to ensure business continuity.
For example, Malaysian telecommunications provider, Net2One, an Altel Holdings company, upgraded its legacy Oracle eBusiness Suite system to Oracle Cloud ERP, modernising and streamlining its financial and procurement business processes and gaining business insights to support decision-making, improved agility and a long-term reduction in cost.
Now is an opportune time for companies to take a pragmatic view of their IT infrastructure and assess whether they have built a resilient business model that can quickly adopt to future disruptions. Switching to an OPEX model is inevitable, leading to increased usage of cloud-based services. Consumer demand for digital solutions has never been greater, however with the overall transaction volume low, the opportunity to build improved digital platforms has never been greater.
Nonetheless, before fast-tracking their digital transformation, business leaders need to take a step back and re-evaluate their road maps as well as beliefs about their underlying value and feasibility. These beliefs need to be based on current and still emerging customer behaviours, supplier dynamics, and regulations. According to a Mckinsey study, digital interaction with B2B customers is now two times more important than traditional channels—more than a 30 per cent jump since before the crisis.
In conclusion, I’d like to leave this thought – the future is unknown, but not dark. We have seen some remarkable instances of human resilience over the past few weeks. Amidst us are data visionaries who are finding ways through analytics and automation, to use new types and sources of data to generate value. Recovery may still be out of sight, but it will come and businesses who will be best prepared for this digital future will have the best chance for not just survival, but a brighter future.