Enabling tech to deliver value
IT policies and infrastructure need to change for digital transformation
Technology adoption and utilisation remains hampered by the lack of use of technology tools and management, as well as knowledge and resources in both the private and public sectors in Malaysia.
Even today, such infrastructure is still seen as a cost centre, with IT departments struggling to deliver high availability of computing resources – be they in mobile or hybrid Cloud – in a safe and secure environment despite limited resources.
Significant time and resources are spent by IT managers in the day-to-day tracking, logging and remedying incidents in the infrastructure, which could be easily done by automated systems and programmes.
By automating these routine tasks, resources can be freed to do more strategic work, with the IT department then able to focus on enabling technology to deliver value to the business instead.
To increase productivity among smaller companies in particular, ManageEngine Asia Pacific region vice-president Gibu Mathew stresses the importance of keeping the IT infrastructure simple, productive and cost effective.
He says, “Technology tends to be an afterthought. It should not be the cost centre since it has become so critical and affects the business model and the way you deliver resources.”
ManageEngine is the IT management division of Zoho Corporation, a technology company founded in 1996. The division has over 90 IT management software and free tools – such as IT service and operations management as well as IT security and analytics – that enable an integrated and overarching approach to optimising IT for business.
Established in 2003, it has over three million IT users and powers the IT of over 180,000 companies in more than 190 countries, including three out of every five Fortune 500 companies.
In Malaysia, some 70% to 80% of its users are SMEs that leverage its freemium version, but corporate players contribute a larger percentage to its revenue.
Culture, tech change
SMEs are the mainstay of many economies around the world, but Mathew questions whether they are using IT in a way that enables them to be competitive globally as legacy business models will not help them catch up with global competition.
“The role of IT is to enable the customer to be more productive; they should know the problems proactively before it occurs.
“SMEs have to be as good as [their counterparts and other players in] the world, if they want to be able to compete. It doesn’t have to cost billions, it’s definitely possible with how things are transforming in the world,” he opines.
If users have to call the SME every time a problem occurs – such as when the website goes down – it compromises the user experience. This is not a problem unique to SMEs, as he says recent statistics show that while 85% of organisations are in the midst of their transformation journey, only 7% in the region can be classified as leaders.
The reason for this is that although IT drives business applications built or used by SMEs, digital transformation requires both the use of the right software/tools and a change in culture at the same time.
Looking at obstacles
Although businesses in Malaysia are slowly embracing newer technologies such as mobility, Cloud, the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, there is still weak ICT infrastructure and uneven digital usage within and among various business sectors.
Moreover, existing IT infrastructure and policies also need to change.
Mathew points out that there is a difference between being digital-savvy with businesses adopting technology for work to empower CEOs/IT managers and end-users being tech-savvy.
He says, “With the amount of technology change happening, if you don’t keep up with tech demands, the tech is not up-to-date or if IT teams are not smart enough to be on top of things, it’s going to be a challenge.”
He raises the Bring Your Own Device trend as an example, saying that tech-savvy users are bringing in their own devices or installing software on their work laptops, which could potentially lead to security or privacy breaches if not proactively addressed. Adopting tools like ManageEngine – which has scaled up from a small business by bringing in innovation and best practices – enable SMEs to gain access to world-class innovation that fosters greater productivity at an affordable price point.
“With the tools and dashboards we have and can provide, we can help align IT and business. IT problems are similar across the world, so we want to bring the learnings from abroad to enable SMEs to use best-of-breed services,” Mathew adds.
ManageEngine is increasing its engagement with stakeholders in Malaysia and Southeast Asia, as well as signing up more channel partners and system integrators to convey its message more easily to customers.
Based on learnings from its global audience, it also wants to conduct more online or on-the-ground training and certification programmes during conferences and seminars here.