The last session was a presentation given by Dr. Poomporn Thamsatitdej, Director at Mahidol University Business Incubator. Dr. Poomporn shared his experience with Thai organizations in the past decade, where an assessment was made on several ICT projects in Thailand, “Taking the data information gathered, we categorized these organizations into three phrases. The early phase, organizations are more fragmented. In the second phase, we started to see more engagement between businesses and the technical side. This is where we began to see Chief Data Officers, Chief Technology Officers, etc. Yet whether or not these chiefs could actually achieve their goals remain the unanswered question. The third phase is where we started to see the demand for integration. This is where companies are trying to integrate different parts of their organizations together, yet the people in those parts have different levels of digital literacy.”
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In TMA’s perspective, if we were to establish an understanding and share the knowledge on how ICT can be used to drive organizations, we should start by initiating five different types of projects. The first type of project is focused around the core process. However, the core process of each organization is different. Several years ago, when TMA started this initiative, the challenge was to establish an understanding of whether what they were planning to do serve the organizations’ core process or structure. In the first couple of years, nobody participated in the Business Enabler Project. The most attractive projects were innovation projects. At that time, the perceived understanding of the word ‘innovation’ by organizations are essentially simply doing something new with perhaps minor differences. The fifth type of project were sustainable projects, which also did not pick up much momentum.
In the second phase, where organizations are more engaged, we started to see more interests in organization structure and design. We started to see organizations set up new departments and divisions. This is were we started to see how Thai organizations are struggling to manage the work flow between people due to the lack of openness and lack of upfront communications between different groups of people inside the same organization. Later, we started to see the usage of data and digital systems such as ERP to facilitate better work flows within the organization. And then in the last phase, we started to see the demand for integration. In this phase, we started to see the needs for data analytics and a more integrated data flow and integration.
Dr. Poomporn gave an example of an agricultural company utilizing data analytics, automation and IoT in their operation. With data analytics and data extraction tools, the company is able to extract real-time data of the global price mechanisms, and are able to extract data from farms using automation and IoT tools to generate forecast of crop yields and potential pricing schemes. Yet the major challenge of this company is that they are working with multiple types of modules, which makes it extremely difficult for them to integrate all of these modules together. Yet once integrated, the balance of power between the different modules are also challenged. Therefore, managing this balance of power on the management or leadership level is a challenging task, especially in the Thai Culture, where there is a lack of upfront communication to discuss the benefits and losses of each stakeholder. Dr. Poomporn believed that this cultural factor is one of the major hindrances for transformation progress among Thai organizations.
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On the side of the organization’s maturity and project assessment, TMA made the assessment based on several criteria:
- Whether the project serve the main objective of the organization
- Whether you have the right project management mechanism to ensure the successful delivery of the project
- Whether you have the right team for transformation
- How well are you able to prepare the people in your organization to embrace change?
- How well could you handle risk management to mitigate the impact of the project?
- Evaluating whether the achieved outcome serve the initial objective
However recently, we began questioning whether these angles are sufficient to assess the successful delivery of digital transformation projects. This is because we do not have sufficient data on the strategic management and direction of organizations. We also do not focus much on assessing business partnerships.
On digital competency, although there has been many discussions around digital trends, many do not have a clear idea of how the technologies being discussed could actually be implemented to shape those trends. Customer experience and CRM data is also widely discussed, yet no companies placed much importance on decoding their customer journey. On data capturing strategies, many companies realize that capturing data is important, yet most do not know how to generate values to their customers based on these data. And the final discussion around digital competency is if we are to adopt these new technologies, how will this affect our current process designs.
The challenge here is not about digital technologies, but rather, it is about managing the organization, human resource management and human resource development. Yet, Dr. Poomporn shared that after further investigation into several Thai organizations, there is an evident lack of communication between these three departments or divisions in the organization. Therefore, it is important that to drive change or transformation, the head of the organization should be the one driving the initiative.
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TMA generally track an organization on their digital journey for 10 years. In recent years, TMA shifted their focus from ICT Excellence into Digital Transformation. This is because they observed changes in customer behaviors and the ecosystem. People are shifting towards accelerated digital adoption. Therefore, establishing a common understanding of the ecosystem is very essential to the progress of innovative development.
Lastly, on foresights. Many organizations are keen towards producing 10-20 years foresights or 20 Years Plans. The questions that are often raised are questions like, how would our customers’ behaviors change with the introduction of a new technology, segregated into different customer segments? For example, the current interest is around the aging society or the elderly customer segment. The question is – how do we define aging society? At what age do we consider our customers to fall into the aging segment? While it is assumed that people aged 60 and above prefers offline shopping, some observed behavior is that a certain group is keen towards online shopping. Therefore, with foresights, companies should generate different scenarios, and then plan for those scenarios and then push towards action. These are the learnings that Dr. Poomporn wanted to share with the audience on behalf of TMA.
Source : TMA_ Digital Transformation Forum 2019