Outbreak boosting digital investment


With the ongoing spread of Covid-19, video conferencing, risk management, cloud services and digital transformation have drawn corporate interest for investment, says Accenture, a business consultancy.

“We see no evidence that our customers, particularly in banking and retail, are putting less emphasis on technology or digital transformation projects,” said Nontawat Poomchusri, managing director of Accenture in Thailand.

During this crisis, businesses attach more importance to digital technology, which will be increasingly adopted, he said.

Collaboration tools and video conference meetings should be more common for work as they reduce travel and facilitate working from home, said Mr Nontawat.

Business continuity planning and risk management should become priorities, he said. For example, skilled workers should not be clustered together to stop the spread of the disease among employees.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is important to gain insight on customer needs and helps reduce physical interaction during the epidemic. AI can also improve the digital customer experience and help companies understand behaviour changes, said Mr Nontawat.

Businesses are likely to give more weight to data privacy and cybersecurity as the Personal Data Protection Act is due to be fully enforced in May.

He said Thai businesses are concerned about digital disruption as customer habits have changed rapidly, citing the company’s 2020 report, “We, The Post-Digital People: Can your enterprise survive the ‘tech-clash’?”.

The research surveyed 6,074 business and IT executives globally, 60 of them from Thailand. Some 90% of Thai executives pointed out that rapid tech advancement and innovation would disrupt their industries.

The report also surveyed 2,000 consumers globally. Some 52% of them said technology plays a major role in almost all aspects of daily life.

“Businesses must shift their mindset from ‘just because’ to ‘trust because’ — re-examining fundamental business and technology models and creating a new basis for competition and growth,” said Mr Nontawat.

He pointed to five key trends companies must address over the next three years.

First, organisations will need to design personalised experiences that amplify an individual’s agency and choice, said Mr Nontawat, terming this move as “the I in experience”.

“Businesses need to increase their interactive relationships and work with consumers like partners or co-creators,” he said.

Second, AI should contribute to how people perform their work, rather than as a backstop for automation, said Mr Nontawat, calling this “AI and Me”. The other three trends cover smart products and services, robots and in-house innovation.

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