Digital transformation is crucial in order to run a successful, competitive, and relevant company. Source: Shutterstock

Becoming a leader in digital transformation

DIGITAL transformation is the process of shifting from a traditional business operation to one that encompasses a more modern and technology-oriented way.

And with change being the only thing that is constant, digital transformation has become crucial for businesses of all sizes and across all industries.

Today, Microsoft and IDC released the results of their study Unlocking the Economic Impact of Digital Transformation in Asia Pacific. The study involved surveying 1560 business decision makers in medium to large-sized organizations across 15 economies in the region.

From L to R: Daniel-Zoe Jimenez, Research Director Digital Transformation Practice Lead, IDC Asia/Pacific; K Raman, Managing Director of Microsoft Malaysia; Kelly Chung, Chief Legal and Expansion Officer, Doctor2U; Alberto Granados, Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Operations, Microsoft Asia Pacific at the launch of Microsoft’s “Unlocking the Economic Impact of Digital Transformation in Asia Pacific” study.

According to the study, digital transformation will add an estimated US$10 billion to Malaysia’s GDP, and increase the growth rate by 0.6 percent annually.

“Malaysia is clearly on the digital transformation fast track. Within the next four years, we expect to see approximately 45 percent of Malaysia’s GDP to be derived from digital products and services,” said K Raman, Managing Director, Microsoft Malaysia.

Digital leaders v. followers in the Asia Pacific

Within the digital transformation journey, two groups can be identified. These are the leaders and the followers.

Those organizations that have full or progressing digital transformation strategies, with at least one third of their revenue derived from digital products and services are clearly the leaders. Anyone else is merely a follower.

Those organizations who are leading the way in digital transformation are becoming more productive, earning higher profit margins, experiencing cost reduction, see revenues from new products and services soar, and improve customer advocacy.

The Microsoft study identified key differences between leaders and followers in the Asia Pacific region. According to the report, leaders are:

  • More concerned about competitors and the emergence of disruptive technologies
  • Emphasize on business agility and culture of innovation are key goals
  • Adopt of key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure digital transformation success
  • More aware of challenges in their digital transformation journeys
  • Looking to invest in AI and the Internet of Things

According to the study, leaders reap double the benefits as compared to followers, predicting to be more pronounced in 2020.

“There is a pressing need for organizations to adopt a leaders’ mindset to fully build their digital ecosystem – from employees, to customers, to partners – in order to grow their value chain,” said Alberto Granados, Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Operations, Microsoft Asia Pacific.

Empowering companies in Malaysia

Microsoft has been working with many businesses in Malaysia, empowering their digital transformation journey by providing cutting-edge technology to leading organizations.

One company includes primary healthcare provider, BP Healthcare. Microsoft has been working with  its on-demand healthcare app Doctor2U which is built on the Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Bot Framework, aiming to create an entire healthcare ecosystem on a single platform.

The app includes the ‘Doctor House Call’ service which brings a doctor to your doorstep within 60 minutes, the ability to video call or live chat with doctors, pharmacists and nutritionists for free, medication delivery services, and many more care-related features.

“We wanted to make healthcare accessible to every corner of the country and beyond,” said Kelly Chung, Chief Legal and Expansion Officer at Doctors2U.

Doctor2U aims to provide healthcare to the fingertips of everyone | Source: Shutterstock

Through their digital transformation, Doctor2U has set themselves as a leader by empowering clinicians, patients, and care teams, as well as effectively reducing delay and waiting time by 54 percent.

“What is unique about the digital transformation movement is the element of connectivity. In the past, parties within the healthcare ecosystem were operating in isolation. There was very little collaboration or communication between hospitals, pharmacies, or laboratories,” says Chung.

“So what we are trying to do is connect these different parties within the ecosystem and integrate them onto one common platform”.

An example of this is the app’s electronic medical records feature. Upon arriving at BP to perform tests, results will automatically be uploaded to Doctors2U once they’re processed. This reduces the waiting time for patients as they can contact a doctor immediately on the app to understand their medical reports.

The digital transformation of Doctor2U has enabled greater connectivity, says Chung | Source: Doctor2U

Since going digital, the company has reported a 30 percent increase in profit margins.

The challenges in digital transformation

Despite the many benefits that are reaped through the digital transformation of an organization, the journey itself does not come without some challenges. According to Raman, the top challenges of digital transformation in Malaysia are a lack of skills and resources, cyber-security and growing threats, and a lack of knowledge on how to drive the transformation process.

According to Chung, the digital transformation journey of Doctors2U included hitting some challenges along the way.

“On an internal level we have challenges on the lack on resources and getting staff to embrace digitization. how we over came this is by hiring people with the right attitude- people who are passionate and willing to learn. And we also are very lucky to partner with Microsoft who provide all these easy, ready to use services for our tech team to adopt,” says Chung.

Hiring professionals who are ready to embrace digital is key to transformation success | Source:

“On the external level, we initially had the challenge of educating and getting the public to come on-board and adopt digital healthcare. How we overcome this is by firstly working closely with the governing authority.

“We are proud to announce we received recognition from them a few months ago as a legitimate platform to provide specialized healthcare services. And we also partner with many institutions and when we do that, we gain our customers’s trust”

How to become a digital transformation leader

How to become a digital transformation leader | Source: Microsoft

It is clear why digital transformation is so crucial to the success of businesses of all sizes and industries. But how can you become a leader? Microsoft has recommended the following strategies:

Create a digital culture: It is important for an organization to build a culture of collaboration where it is connected across business fuctions, and has a vibrant and mature ecosystem of customers and partners. Data can be embraced across organizations and functions, which will lead to better decision-making, ultimately improving customer service.

Build an information ecosystem: According to Microsoft, a key to becoming a leader is for businesses to enable data sharing and collaboration both internally and externally in an open yet trusted manner. This will allow organizations to start their AI initiatives to identify connections, insights, and trends.

Embrace micro-revolutions: According to Raman, most digital transformation efforts start with a series of micro-revolutions; small, quick projects that deliver positive business outcomes but accrue to a bigger and bolder digital transformation initative.

“These [micro-revolutions] will help increase the momentum and also increase the confidence of the leaders going forward in the digital transformation journey,” says Raman.

Develop future ready skills for individuals and organizations: In order to best prepare for digital transformation, it is important that the organizations of today take another look at training and re-skilling its workforce and equipping them with future ready skills for the digital economy.  Businesses must also re-balance the workforce to attain and attract key digital talents.