Digitization and Innovation
For some time now, we have been in a new stage of transformation where corporations and countries are focused on equipping themselves with advanced technologies and new business models in order to stay relevant and competitive in a fast-changing world.
COVID-19 has presented one of the most formidable challenges in recent history to governments, businesses, and society. Many consider it to be the ultimate tipping point for the 21st-century. The pandemic is a wake-up call for companies to have a plan to deal with disruptions to ensure business continuity. It is also a watershed moment that will signal the fast-track acceleration process for digitization throughout society.
Reimagining different sectors
Technological advances and innovation can play a key role in helping us reimagine how different sectors, ranging from healthcare, telecommunications to agriculture, can leverage technology to make a positive impact in society.
For healthcare providers and public health institutions, outbreaks will continue to be a threat but it is possible to mitigate the impact of outbreaks by harnessing big data and AI to predict and forecast epidemics, as well as to source medical supplies. There are promising examples where big data and the insights they provide have improved epidemic readiness and tracking.
A key element to business continuity and economic resilience in this crisis is telecom and network providers maintaining bandwidth for consumers and businesses. There is enormous potential for tech to help connect people during lock-down periods, and the shift to remote working and e-learning will likely extend beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Collaboration with governments, financial institutions, and regulatory bodies will be necessary to build the right digital infrastructure to serve society.
Upskilling, reskilling, and training the workforce
The digital transformation is as much about transforming business processes as it is about empowering people to work in new ways. A key priority for us at C.P. Group is thus to prepare our workforce for the future and enable them to adapt to the new realities of the world and the industries in which we operate. This includes providing training and reskilling opportunities for our employees, and actively involving all business units to ensure our company from top to bottom is driven by innovation and digital upgrades.
Providing a supportive ecosystem for start-ups is hence incredibly important to encourage more entrepreneurship and innovation in the region. This involves providing entrepreneurs with incubation programmes as well as support in terms of funding, skills development, and exposure to business networks. This was what motivated us to set up Southeast Asia’s largest start-up ecosystem, True Digital Park, focused on creating an environment that encourages connectivity and knowledge-sharing.
Upgrading the infrastructure around digital and innovation is critical for business continuity and for our future society to thrive, but it cannot be achieved by the action of one company or country alone and it requires global public-private partnerships.
As we tackle COVID-19 together, many technology companies are already taking action to directly support the healthcare industry, preserve jobs and safeguard their own workforces and communities, among many other notable efforts.
While the private sector will need to plan how they can use technology to stay agile and resilient, companies also need to work closely with governments and international agencies like the World Economic Forum to develop a set of global norms and broad-based policy frameworks to support the transition to a 4.0 world.