Racing Ahead - Key Imperatives to Succeed in the New Abnormal

27 January 2023


Fabian Bigar, Chief Executive Officer, MyDIGITAL
Effendy Shahul Hamid, Chief Executive Officer, CIMB Digital Assets, CIMB Group
Ir. Dr. Lim Eu Shawn, Chief Global Solutions Officer, Aerodyne Group


Manoj Menon, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, twimbit

This article summarises the second panel discussion held during our LEAP Summit event which discussed trends and tips for Malaysian businesses to stay on top of their digitalisation game. The panel was moderated by Manoj Menon from twimbit, and was joined by Fabian Bigar from MyDIGITAL, Effendy Shahul Hamid from CIMB Digital Assets, and Ir. Dr. Lim Eu Shawn from Aerodyne Group as the panellists, who shared their experiences on digitalising their own organisations and the impact that the government initiative had upon their journeys.

Pushing Through the Turbulence of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The pandemic presented a slew of unprecedented challenges to businesses, ranging from lockdown restrictions to disrupted supply chains and the dwindling availability of physical labour – challenges which forced many businesses to, unfortunately, throw in the towel.

However, businesses and organisations that managed to weather the storm have now credited their survival to the most valuable weapon in today’s business landscape – digitalisation.

CIMB’s Effendy Shahul Hamid first shared how the pandemic negatively impacted their equities in domestic markets and other firms. However, with today’s updated regulations and internal systems, the industry has managed to bounce back in record time as a new key player has entered the playing field.

Financial technology, or fintech, is now shaking up the industry by spreading the usage of apps and AI analytics to automate several traditional forms of banking such as loan applications and wealth management. To accommodate the newly ravenous appetite for convenience in banking services, the financial service market is now racing to increase technology utilisation into several verticals.

Regulatory frameworks and legacy systems have long since constricted banks’ ability and agility to introduce service revamps. However, as fintech continues to upend the landscape and customer expectations, traditional banks now find themselves at a critical inflection point – the continuing inflexibility of service and a hesitance to transform processes may now spell obsolescence.

Effendy once again emphasised the role of tech integration in facilitating CIMB’s goal of improving their customer experience and are a critical factor in attracting customers back to physical banks, a number that has been dwindling over the past 6 years.

Several organisations have already seen the benefits in integrating financial services into their organisations, with a key result being greater product distribution. Touch ‘n’ Go’s loan application alongside its’ main mobility ecosystem has effectively diversified their revenue portfolio. Meanwhile, Lazada’s Buy-Now-Pay-Later (BNPL) offering has elevated customer spending power. However, despite the benefits, non-financial institutions are finding that they lack the credibility and trust placed in traditional banking institutions. This highlights a great possibility of product and service-oriented businesses joining forces with traditional banks to deliver a new breed of convenience and credibility in customer experience.

Aerodyne’s Ir. Dr. Shawn Lim also shared how the Malaysian drone-based solutions provider relied on technology to manage their pandemic struggles. With many of Aerodyne’s operating industries affected by the COVID19 lockdowns, the company found opportunity in shoring up the manufacturing industry. Providing drone services for powerline inspections plugged the lack of labour, while reducing costs as well. An eye for spotting problems solvable by technological solutions opened up another opportunity for Aerodyne as they began rolling into the plantation industry – an industry previously completely out of Aerodyne’s radar. By providing problem-solving technological solutions through automated harvests, pesticide application and targeted fertilisation, Aerodyne was able to prevent a RM250 million’s worth of crops from being spoiled – clear evidence that realistic, targeted application of technological solutions can transform entire industries, equalling to success and sustainability for an organisation.      

Government Initiatives Easing the Path of Digitalisation

Alongside businesses’ efforts to harness the benefits of digital transformation, a strong support system is crucial in ensuring a smooth transition. The Malaysian government has been making great strides to encourage digital transformation in the nation. One of the key efforts is in launching initiatives such as MyDIGITAL in 2021, with the aim of elevating Malaysia into a digitally-driven, high income country.

MyDIGITAL spearheads the execution of The Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint, a comprehensive national strategy to promote the country’s socioeconomic development, using cutting-edge technology.

The first phase of MyDIGITAL sought to solidify the framework of the nation’s adoption of digital technology. Fabian Bigar from MyDIGITAL shared how the budget for bringing micro, small & medium enterprises (MSMEs) online has now grown from RM175,000 to RM1 million – indicating the appetite among MSMEs to participate in the digital economy.

Collaborations have been the cornerstone to success of the initiative. Fabian also shared about how several organisations, including TM, have contributed expertise and manpower to help spearhead MyDIGITAL’s initiative. These collaborations also include making iterative improvements to the MyDIGITAL framework. As the initiative moves into Phase 2, stakeholders such as the MyDIGITAL team, external organisations and government agencies conducted a thorough review of Phase 1, outlining learnings and improvements to be made. This cooperative approach has been instrumental to the framework’s development and signals the mutual desire across all stakeholders in pushing Malaysia towards a more digitally-inclined future.

Staying Relevant with the Upcoming Digitalisation Trends

However, beyond the first steps of digitalisation, the business world must learn to brace for the rapid advancements of technology and the changes that come with it. Within this year, the advent of 5G alone has hugely elevated the capabilities of smart solutions and its’ potential to streamline operations for several industries – this looks to set off another chain of trends and solutions that may transform the business landscape again.

Effendy and Shawn both shared the key business trends that are looking to greatly impact their industries.

Effendy’s take on the trends which will impact the banking industry include:

  • The evolution of core banking systems: Banks must re-evaluate their technology, strategy, delivery strategy, and product origination and production to be on par and capable in delivering new consumer expectations effectively.
  • Partnerships to generate customers: Banks need to work with multiple partners to complement their weaknesses in creating a holistic offering and encourage customer growth.
  • Motivating and upskilling available talent: Many of the changes required from banks can be driven by internal manpower – banks must invest in their available talent and ensure existing teams have the skills required to thrive in a digital ecosystem.

Meanwhile, Shawn shared his thoughts on key business trends that are set to change Aerodyne and many other tech organisations:

  • Hyper-competition: As markets become more saturated, the right application of tech and a solid business model is essential in delivering to customers.
  • Reskilling talent for a digital economy:  Companies need to be able to cater to the displaced manpower as smart solutions slowly take over the operations of the company.
  • Pivoting for an inclusive ecosystem: Digital tools must be built to strengthen the current ecosystem and empower the next level of business for entrepreneurs.

The First Step into Digitalisation for Businesses

It is clear that digitalisation is crucial for a company’s growth and this journey starts by highlighting the priorities of the company which can vary drastically for each company.

  • MyDIGITAL values revising the work they have conducted to improve their work in the future.
  • CIMB values core decision making which revolves around data intelligence.
  • Aerodyne pushes for building a resilient ecosystem and sustainable practice.

In spearheading the digitalisation process, organisation and industry leaders have a big role to play. Hesitance and uncertainty are givens when transforming entire business processes. However, the role of digitalisation in creating resilience and sustainability for today’s business world is not inescapable. The panel concluded that to do this effectively, industry leaders must be open to learning from others, with a strong sense of humility within oneself, and have a certain degree of faith that the digitalisation process will pay off.

To find the ideal digital and smart solutions by TM One which can enable and accelerate your Next digitalisation journey, visit


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