AI, cloud adoption in Malaysia is still in nascent stage; QuantumBlack

AI, cloud adoption in Malaysia is still in nascent stage; QuantumBlack. Source: Tech Wire Asia

AI, cloud adoption in Malaysia is still in nascent stage

  • Experts from QuantumBlack reckon that there is still very little understanding among Malaysians, on the benefits of cloud adoption and AI implementation into business operations — both private and public sectors.
  • QuantumBlack also sees a huge potential in implementing AI in the country’s manufacturing sector.

The past decade has given a rise to Artificial Intelligence (AI), a technology that is at the center of almost every innovation in tech. However, not everyone has walked down the path to unleashing the fullest potential AI has on their day to day life or even business operations. For QuantumBlack, the AI arm of McKinsey, Malaysia has yet to fully embrace AI, in both private and public sector, and the country’s manufacturing sector especially could be leveraging on the tech the most.

McKinsey, in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of its Kuala Lumpur office, announced the arrival of its AI arm QuantumBlack in Malaysia. The London-based company was acquired by the global consulting firm in 2015, and with roots in Formula 1 motor racing, QuantumBlack has been pioneering the use of big data and advanced analytics to improve organizational performance.

QuantumBlack Southeast Asia Senior Principal Data Scientist Paul Beaumont explained that Malaysia has been in their list following their expansion into the Indonesian and Vietnamese market as well. QuantumBlack was first introduced to Asia in 2019, with its establishment in the Singapore (hub) and Tokyo offices.

“As Malaysia aims to achieve its Fourth Industrial Revolution vision, QuantumBlack can be a game changer for companies. While McKinsey has served clients in Malaysia on data and analytics, establishing QuantumBlack here will enable all of our analytics colleagues under one umbrella called QuantumBlack, AI by McKinsey, to be a valuable partner to more organizations,” Partner at McKinsey & Company and Regional Leader for QuantumBlack Timur Umetayev added.

Timur also shared how, according to a McKinsey finding, 50% of work time in Malaysia is spent on repetitive activities that are highly automatable. “As Malaysia continues to play a key contributing role in high-value manufacturing and global services, there is a great opportunity for companies to accelerate AI adoption and deliver real-world impact for their people, stakeholders, operations and the environment.”

Having served clients across financial, manufacturing, and healthcare industries, and for a range of functions, Beaumont added that he is confident QuantumBlack can support organizations regardless of their stage on the AI maturity curve. Currently, the QuantumBlack team is a global community of more than 1,000 technical practitioners, ranging from data scientists and engineers to AI-fluent business consultants. 

QuantumBlack Labs, which is QuantumBlack’s dedicated Center of Learning for AI, leverages latest research advances to build tech assets that help companies solve real-world problems.

Malaysia is slow on cloud too

Prior to this, Tech Wire Asia has reported how in Malaysia, cloud adoption is slowly picking its pace but is still not fast enough. While costs and a lack of skills are reasons for the delay in cloud adoption, many organizations, especially SMEs, are still unsure of how exactly they can benefit from moving their operations to the cloud.

On the challenges of AI adoption in Malaysia, Timur said the locals’ reluctance towards cloud is somewhat slowing down the adoption process. “Cloud and AI work alongside each other, a combination which will accelerate the whole process,” he added. On the other hand, Beaumont shared that QuantumBlack is interested to tap into Malaysia’s manufacturing sector, considering its success in contributing a 26% growth in the country’s GDP. They are also open to tap into other sectors.

According to McKinsey’s global survey, The State of AI in 2021, AI has matured into a core topic within the CEO’s agenda of many major organizations, but only a few organizations are maximizing value.  There have been a few promising beginnings in Malaysia. In March last year, the Malaysia Artificial Intelligence Roadmap was launched, followed closely with Microsoft announcing plans to establish its first data center in Kuala Lumpur, a project estimated to cost US$1 billion and – more importantly – is expected to create 19,000 jobs.