Astro is gaining traction in Malaysia.

Astro is gaining traction in Malaysia. Source: Shutterstock

Why Malaysia’s Astro invests heavily in training its talent pool

ASIA is racing to become a digital economy, and most nations within the region are struggling to find talent.

As a result, companies are starting to see the implementation of their digital transformation programmes slow down — especially in countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, where foreign tech talent is scare compared to its neighbors Singapore and Hong Kong.

Some companies, however, are taking the talent gap in their stride and turning over a new leaf by training existing employees to cope with the growing technology needs of the business.

Tech Wire Asia caught up with Astro CTO Phuah Aik Chong — who is one of the leaders in Malaysia to run such a program to learn more about what motivated them to train a few thousand of their employees in the digital arena.

“To remain relevant to our customers’ increasingly digital lifestyle, we are reinventing and transforming into a truly digital company by striving for constant innovation and diversifying our business to offer a full suite of digital services,” said Chong.

As a company with employees from diverse backgrounds and skills, Astro seems to want to leverage all its executives on our digital transformation journey. As a result, it is rethinking the ways of working, reskilling internal talents, and reimagining Astro’s offerings of tomorrow.

A recent study showed that digital skills gap affects 54 percent of 1,200 global organizations and has forced them to revise their digital transformation plans — which also means they have or will soon lose the competitive advantage that new technologies could bring them.

To avoid this, Astro has accelerated its digital talent programme partnering AWS’ Professional Services in the development of its Certified Innovation Programme (CIP) and Certified Technologist Programme (CTP). It is for these efforts that the company has recently won the IDC Talent Accelerator of the Year award.

“In an increasingly digital economy, companies that bridge the talent gap will enjoy a competitive edge over those who don’t. We are aware that accessible workplace learning initiatives are therefore a critical strategy component for businesses looking to attract and retain digital talent,” explained Chong.

Astro’s CIP has trained more than a thousand employees in new methodologies for innovation. The program has also helped the company identify and certify “innovation champions”, which the company believes will be a crucial step in accelerating its digital transformation.

“A test of time in this journey for me was seeing the shift of these training and innovation practices from being driven and ‘pushed’ centrally previously, to now being ‘pulled’ and requested from across the Astro businesses to innovate their offerings,” exclaimed Chong.

Astro’s Digital Transformation can only succeed if its teams are trained on leading-edge technologies to deliver value to our customers.

To support this, the company has introduced a multi-tier Certified Technologist Programme (CTP) to equip its teams with the new skills required to securely design, build, deploy, and operate Astro’s new offerings in the cloud, and to refactor and migrate existing services to the right technology platform.

To date, more than 200 skillsets have been trained, allowing the company to develop a strong pool of AWS Certified architects, developers, and system engineers.

The company is relying on AWS for its digital transformation and hence seems to be training and enabling all its employees to help the company with on its journey.

“Every Astro talent, at all levels, is empowered to be a transformation agent, with equal opportunities provided to reskill, upskill, learn, and build their capabilities,” said Chong.

Chong, at the helm of the company’s technology agenda, understands that to make a real impact on the customer and deliver on their expectations, it’s important to train as many people as possible — to help and support programs within the business.






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