4 digital capabilities SEA businesses should focus on in 2022 - MIDA | Malaysian Investment Development Authority
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4 digital capabilities SEA businesses should focus on in 2022

4 digital capabilities SEA businesses should focus on in 2022

13 Mar 2022

GOVERNMENTS around Southeast Asia (SEA) are prioritising investments to strengthen digital capabilities among local enterprises. Particular in Malaysia, we have seen both the public and private sector put in place an increasing number of upskilling initiatives, many of which focus on equipping the current and future workforce with the skills needed to meet the demands of a digital-first economy. For instance, under the recently announced RM4.8 billion JaminKerja Keluarga Malaysia initiative, the Malaysian government aims to provide various training and skills upgrading programs in where a priority is given to equipping Malaysians with digital skills.

As these initiatives encourage firms to accelerate technology adoption, hiring and training to address immediate digital skills gaps across all functions, there are four areas that they can focus on to gain a competitive advantage in the digital-first economy.


Every business is a digital business today. While the initial stages of the pandemic in 2020 saw a frantic rush to e-commerce, 2021 was more about adapting to ongoing uncertainty.

As businesses recalibrate for 2022, online retail spending is expected to grow. Consumers have enjoyed an explosion of choices over the past 18 months, and personalisation will be the key differentiator for brands to stand out. Businesses that invest in omnichannel commerce capabilities will be able to optimise their personalisation efforts and deliver relevant experiences across touchpoints, improving customer loyalty and retention.

For example, Aldo, who operates 80 stores across Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia, revitalised their online stores with Adobe Commerce. They integrated its websites and offline point-of-sales into a single cloud inventory, gaining the ability to scale quickly and the flexibility to manage complex, personalised promotions – which in turn ensured that they delivered a local e-commerce experience to their customers across the region.

Content creation

While the Metaverse may seem like a futuristic sci-fi concept, investing in your team’s capabilities now to create for the 3D, VR, AR space will futureproof your business. Beyond the gaming and entertainment industries, businesses globally are increasingly experimenting with new forms of digital and 3D content, NFTs, retail formats, and engagements with customers in the Metaverse.

Amazon, for example, creates immersive shopping experiences with photorealistic 3D assets for key product categories, including furniture and fittings. Customers can spin a product 360 degrees to inspect it from every angle or use Amazon’s “View in Your Room” feature to preview what furniture will look like in their homes. By doing this, Amazon is not only bringing shoppers closer to the products and enhancing their online shopping experience, but also accelerating content velocity by eliminating the need to manufacture prototypes and take photos of millions of products.

And with the Metaverse gaining momentum, there will also be new streams of digital customers, digital journeys, and data to track and manage.

Effective customer data management

As brands increasingly shift their focus to first-party data in preparation for the deprecation of third-party cookies, there will be new data privacy challenges as well as opportunities to tap into.

Effective customer data management requires the right technology and platforms and demands strategic collaboration across internal teams – including IT, marketing, finance, and legal – as well as a corresponding shift in skills and mindset among the employees. Functional teams will need to develop new skills to understand how and where data can be leveraged to inform decisions and connect all possible touchpoints where data can be collected from, tested, and refined to improve customer experiences.

U Mobile, for instance, launched its refreshed website and customer experience delivery platform, powered by Adobe Experience Cloud, to enhance personalised and individually tailored experiences for its Malaysian customers. Today, U Mobile is able to have greater autonomy and agility in managing content to deliver an enahnced, trilingual customer experience to help the telco better service their customers on digital channels.

Hybrid work

Businesses organised for speed, collaboration and innovation are best positioned to turn possibilities into commercial opportunities. However, many organisations today are being constrained by outdated working practices and technology, stifling creativity and speed to market. While the trend of hybrid work is here to stay, many SEA firms are not ready to embrace this future – posing a further challenge to talent acquisition and retention. Organisations must reorientate for agility by modernising working practices and technology infrastructure – including document processes and workflows and collaboration tools – and adapting to a hybrid working world.

Looking ahead in 2022, change is here to stay. Now that consumers are rewired for digital, their expectations for personalised experiences have intensified. SEA businesses must create change at every level of their organisation to compete in the digital-first economy – from embracing first-party data to increasing experience investment.

This article is contributed by Adobe managing director, Southeast Asia & Korea, Simon Dale.

Source: The Sun Daily