Authored by: Fitri Abdullah, Managing Director, Oracle Malaysia
After a year of overlapping health and economic crises, the world is starting 2021 on a more positive note with discussions on recovery and transformation. As we look forward to the end of this pandemic, hopefully through effective vaccinations, this is a crucial time for leaders in both private and public sectors, across all industries, to work together in the wider ecosystem to overcome the public health crisis.
In this regard, the innovations in technology is the enabler for our healthcare institutions and general businesses to prompt greater efficiency and productivity through modern solutions in three different ways: 1) Enhancing vaccine distribution process; 2) Promoting positive employee mental wellbeing; and lastly 3) Safeguarding business continuity and resilience.
Ensuring effective supply chain for vaccine distribution
One of the hottest topics following vaccine availability is its distribution process. Locally, Oracle Malaysia has the privilege of being selected as a key player in this area. To get the vaccine to people on the ground, governments need to put the processes and infrastructure in place to adequately and effectively manage the vaccine development ecosystem. The vaccine will need to be distributed via a temperature-controlled cold chain, which are highly sensitive and require constant quality and condition checks.
Leveraging Oracle Fusion Cloud Supply Chain & Manufacturing (SCM), Malaysia’s leading pharmaceutical group Pharmaniaga Berhad (Pharmaniaga) has strengthened its overall logistic processes in preparation for COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Having been an industry leader in Malaysia for more than 25 years, the Group have been delivering vaccines to health facilities via a strong cold chain infrastructure. Despite so, they needed to reduce manual processes to meet the monumental challenge of distributing the COVID-19 vaccine.
With Oracle Cloud SCM, Pharmaniaga can automate planning and execution processes, and can gain real-time shipment insights to improve the efficiency and security of its logistics operation. On top of that, they have also implemented Oracle Transportation Management and Oracle Internet of Things (IoT) Intelligent Applications to enhance the overall real-time decision-making. Deploying Oracle Transportation Management enabled Pharmaniaga to automate logistics planning and execution and improve efficiency, while Oracle IoT Intelligent Applications can help monitor cargo temperature and vehicle routes to validate the quality of products and enhance security.
Promoting positive employee mental wellbeing
Putting physical health aside, the pandemic has also taken a toll on people’s morale and mental wellbeing. In fact, an Oracle’s AI at Work study found that 2020 is the most stressful year in history and negatively affected 78% of the global workforce's mental health. According to Relate Mental Health Malaysia (Relate), the invisible disease has caused medium sized enterprises approximately RM189,068 per annum (RM946 per worker) due to staff absenteeism, presenteeism and turnover.
Employees are the core of every company – they can make or break your business continuity plans. Normal day-to-day work may be challenging during a work-from-home arrangements if your company’s technology limits so. In an event where we can no longer just walk to another department to request for a file, staggered communications between different teams may cause major backlogs in work. As a result of these challenges, HR would need to find new ways to engage with employees during this time to ensure a high team morale. Because of this, companies have to allow flexibility and adaptability in every part of their system and processes to ensure a smooth teamwork across the organisation.
Technologies like AI are a boon to the new ways of working, with 75% of the global workforce saying that AI has helped their mental health at work. The top benefits noted were providing the information needed to do their job more effectively (31 per cent), automating tasks and decreasing workload to prevent burnout (27 per cent), and reducing stress by helping to prioritise tasks (27 per cent).
Safeguarding business continuity during recovery
While some sectors were more impacted by others, what is obvious is that businesses will need to relook, and for some, reinvent their business processes to ensure continuity in all circumstances. Cloud Computing, and indeed the whole concept of ‘Software-as-a-Service’, is continuing to transform the way in which businesses operate in this data age. Not only so, it played a pivotal role in ensuring business continuity for companies worldwide during the pandemic, instilling stronger resilience in their operation muscles.
With over 30 years footprint in Malaysia, Oracle had the honour to work with multiple key industry leaders in their digital transformation process locally. Western Digital, a leader in the data storage frontiers, brought eight manufacturing facilities live on Oracle Fusion Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Oracle Fusion Cloud Supply Chain & Manufacturing (SCM) globally, including in Malaysia, during a 30-day period while travel restrictions were in place. Normally, global executives would fly to the locations to trains and do change management with new software adoption – but that’s not possible, given the circumstances. To our delight, Western Digital found that there were very few negative impacts with suddenly having to adopt a completely remote implementation strategy and in fact, more benefits as a whole.
Prior to this, Oracle has also worked closely with SMEs to implement several technologies and to help them digitally transform. Made possible via Oracle Netsuite, we have helped many businesses digitalise their financial and customer relations. To encourage more cloud adoptions, we are also offering universal cloud credits to businesses looking to develop applications on the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure or platform.
While a company doesn’t automatically become more efficient or productive due to cloud solutions, the employees will need to adapt and this can only be done if the solutions are virtually seamlessly integrated into the company’s overall workflow.
That being said, a company’s efficiency and productivity cannot rely on cloud solutions alone – employees will also need to be part of that process. This is why it’s crucial to ensure a smooth integration across the company’s workflow, making it easy for working teams to adapt to the new solutions, be it at home or in office. To achieve this, Oracle offers an entire suite of SaaS applications across finance, HR, supply chain, and customer service – this helps to promote inter-department collaboration in a seamless manner.
Gaining greater resilience amidst unpredictability
The unpredictability brought on by COVID-19 will not stop here. In fact, the greatest lesson learnt from this crisis is to remind businesses to always sharpen their ability to respond to unpredictability. This can only be achieved when resilience becomes the core of the business. Adapting modern solutions, streamlining operations, ensuring a strong back office, to name a few, are all vital for a company to operate with resilience. By gaining more transparency in your business performance, you can then make predictions based on real-time information and use that to your advantage to respond during a crisis.
Many giants have fallen during this pandemic. At the same time, many rising enterprises are proving themselves as a strong contender. As the world’s economy resets itself, it’s also time for businesses to understand that greater resilience will be the only way forward to gain a foothold in the new market.