PIKOM: Local Businesses Must Double Down on Digital Transformation

PIKOM CIO chapter chairman Malik Murad Ali (centre) with Microsoft Malaysia managing director K.Raman (left) and SAP managing director Hong Kok Cheong (right)
PIKOM CIO chapter chairman Malik Murad Ali (centre) with Microsoft Malaysia managing director K.Raman (left) and SAP managing director Hong Kok Cheong (right)

The National Tech Association of Malaysia (PIKOM) is urging local businesses to ‘double down’ on their digital transformation initiatives now that Malaysia has entered the endemic phase to stay ahead of regional competition.

Its chairman (PIKOM CIO chapter) Malik Murad Ali (centre in pic) said that, while digital transformation improves productivity and operational efficiencies, it is also instrumental in developing strategies while addressing challenges and opportunities in a post-pandemic environment.


“Systems, processes, workflow, and culture are all part of digital transformation to empower organisations with data and insights across all work areas so that there’s a more effective collective whole,” said Malik.

“Now that we are moving towards the endemic phase in Malaysia, it is more important than ever that CIOs (chief information officers) take lessons from the pandemic and quickly look inwards to improve their IT operations and spearhead digital transformation initiatives,” he added.

“Local businesses should not be intimidated by digital transformation but to view it as an enabler for growth,” he further said, adding that there are a number of customised solutions available within the Malaysian market.

One such initiative is the “SAP Business One ‘RISE’ on the Microsoft Azure Platform” (B1 ‘RISE’ on Azure) which was recently introduced into the Malaysian market by both tech giants.

SAP Business One (B1) is SAP’s business management software designed for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to automate key business functions in financials, operations, and human resources while Azure is Microsoft’s public cloud computing platform.

SAP managing director Hong Kok Cheong (right in pic) said that SAP Malaysia’s collaboration with Microsoft Malaysia for this B1 ‘RISE’ on Azure initiative stems from the Malaysian Government’s call for local businesses to make the transition to cloud computing under the MyDIGITAL vision, which comes under the National Digital Economy Blueprint.

“Local SMEs readiness for Industrial Revolution 4.0 (4IR) along with the transition to intelligent technologies on the cloud is a critical thrust to realise this aspiration,” said Hong.

“Hence, the B1 ‘RISE’ on Azure initiative is aimed at empowering SMEs with internet, smartphones, Big Data, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, advanced analytics and other digital technologies to increase productivity, spur innovation, and improve livelihoods,” he added.

“SAP B1 is world renowned for connecting and streamlining processes, serving as catalyst of growth for numerous SMEs here in Malaysia and throughout the world.”

The ‘RISE’ arrangement means that SMEs get everything they need to simplify their transformation journeys – all in one bundle – and without high upfront investments.

Local partners of SAP and Microsoft would also work with SMEs to manage their entire business transformation process, including service-level agreements, operations, and dealing with any issues that may arise.

Meanwhile, Microsoft Malaysia managing director K.Raman said: “When SMEs succeed, it causes a ripple effect, creating more opportunities for local communities and for our economy to flourish.”

“As our nation continues its path towards becoming a regional leader in the digital economy, it is critical that SMEs are equipped with digital solutions to remain resilient and competitive.

“Through our collaboration with SAP and the introduction of B1 ‘RISE’ on Azure, we hope to provide a cost-efficient entry point for SMEs to embark on their digitalisation journey,” he added.

​With AI and automation built into Azure, the B1 ‘RISE’ on Azure will not only help SMEs reduce cost and complexity, but it also provides a highly secure cloud foundation to keep SMEs protected and defended against cyberattacks and threat actors, through the use of multi-layered, built-in security controls and unique threat intelligence from Azure.

PIKOM’s Malik concluded that encouragement for SME readiness for 4IR is an important priority for businesses to embrace cutting-edge digital technologies to realise productivity and efficiency gains.

“The SME landscape is especially crucial as many still lag in technology adoption within their business operations,” said Malik.

“Hence, the growing importance of SMEs to utilise technology directly into key business processes if they are to survive and thrive against global competitors. Local businesses need to make the transition to becoming ‘intelligent enterprises’ so that they continue to survive and thrive in the post-pandemic environment.”

“By doing so, businesses can do more with less, deliver best-in-class customer experience, build resilient supply chains, while inventing new business models and revenue streams,” concluded Malik.