Technology, innovation are Malaysian firms’ top priority over next 5 years

By investing in new technologies and innovations, Malaysian businesses can ensure that they are future-ready

by SHAZNI ONG/ pic by ARIF KARTONO

INVESTING in technology and innovation is Malaysian businesses’ top priority over the next five years, according to a survey.

HSBC Malaysia country head of commercial banking Andrew Sill (picture) said local businesses are being resilient, planning for contingencies and actively looking out for new opportunities, given the challenging past six months and the impact of Covid-19 globally.

“Malaysian businesses are acutely aware now of the benefits of going digital. Previously, some firms were reluctant to adopt new technologies. (But) Covid-19 has clearly illustrated the need to embrace change,” he said at the virtual launch of the HSBC Navigator “Resilience: Building Back Better” survey yesterday.

“Digitalisation of processes can build resilience and safeguard against external shocks. I believe that’s clearly what’s been driving the investment in technology and how innovation started to evolve and will be a key part of the country moving forward.”

The study revealed nearly half (47%) of Malaysian businesses strongly agree and nearly all (95%) of them agree that times of adversity will display how businesses can leverage technology to enhance or improve how they work.

The firms see technology as a major enabler for future success, having felt its advantages over the past six months in their ability to innovate more than companies in other parts of the world, Sill said.

“Their ability to be agile and better deal with their customers and their workforce has set them apart from other markets,” he added.

In line with all other markets, Malaysian businesses believe resilience is built on four main factors — customers, employees, agility and a strong balance sheet.

The survey also found that over the past two years, local businesses have taken three main actions to build resilience, reflecting their views on the characteristics of a resilient business.

“Investments in technology and innovation were the main focus across Malaysian businesses (69%), followed by diversifying their business (55%) and consolidating their financial position (54%),” Sill said.

He added that local firms are attuned to disruption, and knowing innovation is fundamental to future success.

“By investing in new technologies and innovations, Malaysian businesses can ensure that they are future-ready while contributing to the positive outlook and growth of the economy,” he said.

Apart from that, the two key changes domestic businesses are planning to make to their supply chains in the next one to two years are the same as those planned across all markets — to increase their supply chain security, followed by increasing transparency.

Other top changes that are reshaping supply chains include diversifying the supply chain to work with more suppliers, creating a more traceable supply chain and increasing transparency in how their suppliers work and who their supply chain consists of.

The report surveyed 2,604 companies across 14 markets globally, including 200 firms from Malaysia. It measures the pulse of businesses as they adapt to current challenges and highlights the steps they have taken to be resilient in the future.