SAP: Digital adoption advised

SAP Indochina managing director Liher Urbizu and SAP Southeast Asia head of analytics and insight Kathleen Muller emphasise the importance of value-based innovation. (Reuters photo)

The business sector in Thailand needs to rapidly shift towards digital transformation to stay competitive and become a digital leader in Asean by 2020, says Germany-based enterprise software maker SAP Indochina.

"The business sector needs to embrace digital technologies and bring new business models to move towards Thailand 4.0 with value-based innovations," according to Liher Urbizu, managing director of SAP Indochina.

Speaking at SAP Asean Innovators Summit, Mr Urbizu said Thailand has transformed from traditional farming to smart farming, traditional small and medium-sized enterprises to startups, conventional services to high-value services, unskilled to high-skilled labour, and from a technology buyer to a technology-making country.

He said digital transformation has taken place in the region, as shown by collaboration of the government and business in driving digital economy capabilities in the Asean ICT Master Plan 2020. Asean has set forward a vision to propel Asean towards a digitally-enabled economy that is secure, sustainable and transformative, and to enable an innovative, inclusive and integrated Asean community.

To win in digital business, he said, companies need to have a "digital core" for customer experience, workforce engagement and Internet of Things that connect in supply chains with real-time data analytics for an entire business.

"Digital transformation must connect people, things and business processes to get real-time intelligent data," said Mr Urbizu.

A new study on "Digital Transformation Executive Study: 4 Ways Leaders Set Themselves Apart" conducted by SAP Centre for Business Insight, in collaboration with Oxford Economics, found that 84% of global companies say digital transformation will be important to their survival over the next five years, but only 3% have completed their efforts.

The survey shows businesses are being challenged to transform digitally and to capitalise on the needs of digital transformation from customers. SAP introduced a new engine of growth, dubbed "SAP Leonardo", which combines the latest emerging technologies, including machine learning, internet of things, analytics and blockchain on the SAP Cloud platform, and enabling customers to identify and solve business challenges.

"We changed our mindset from product offerings to business solution outcomes for customers," said Kathleen Muller, head of analytics and insight at SAP Southeast Asia.

She added that the company started discussions with businesses, learning their requirements and building prototypes of solutions, making business outcomes so that customers are more confident in digital transformation.

The consultancy IDC said organisations that capitalise on and analyse all relevant data and deliver actionable information could achieve an extra $430 billion (14.3 trillion baht) on a worldwide basis in productivity benefits over their less analytically-oriented peers by 2020.

Many organisations in Thailand are on the journey towards digital transformation. The country's IT infrastructure spending is expected to grow by 7% this year, thanks to increasing demand for security devices and technology. That number is expected to reach 500 billion baht by 2020.

IDC also predicted that 30% of the top 500 firms in Thailand will depend on their ability to create digitally-enhanced products, services and experiences.

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