Singapore to lead digitization in SEA: Software AG's Stanimira Koleva

Transforming the nation such that it embraces innovation and evolves into a digital economy is quickly becoming the top priority for Singapore. With 60 percent of the Asia Pacific top 1000 enterprises set for digital transformation at the center of their corporate strategy by 2017, it is certain that Singapore is becoming the digital hub for Asia. Software AG, an enterprise software company, is one of the players in Singapore empowering enterprises with data analytics solutions and driving digital transformation in the nation. Stanimira Koleva, Chief Operating Officer, Asia Pacific Japan, Software AG and Eddie McDaid, Senior Vice-President, Industry Solutions, Software AG in an interview with Techseen throw light upon the ongoing digital transformation in Singapore and the challenges Singapore is facing in uplifting its capacity to become a digital economy.
Techseen: Singapore aims to be the first smart nation. Is it truly poised to be the smart nation – when we see small businesses still not digitized as yet?
Koleva: Digitization is happening at different stages in Singapore; with each of the industries actively pursuing strategies corresponding to their own digital readiness and corporate objectives. Given the time of readiness combined with initial disruption phase, digitization may seem a difficult task or even daunting to many especially small businesses. However, C-levels are slowly recognizing digitization as a critical factor to succeed and are on their way to transform their decoupled technology landscape into a business-empowered information system.
With 60 percent of the Asia Pacific top 1000 enterprises set for digital transformation at the center of their corporate strategy by 2017, it is certain that Singapore is all set to become the digital hub for Asia and the first Smart Nation in the world.
Techseen: What are the challenges that Singapore is facing in digitization?
Koleva: Singapore is set to be ahead of other countries in SEA in terms of digitization. The government supports innovation, connectivity as well as the development of HR in the country to face the digitization. The next stage of Singapore is nurturing the process as well as keeping up with the fast-paced advancement of digital transformation. To support the digitization, businesses in general will need to quickly adapt to current demands and keep pace with the changing technological landscape, transforming business models in efficient and effective ways. Furthermore, with each of the industries being at different stages of digitization, some industries boast of a robust digital friendly business infrastructure, while others might lack important technology enablers such as connectivity, data management, cloud services and IoT. The challenge of integrating multiple businesses within the ecosystem to deliver improved customer experience on multiple platforms can be quite difficult task in Singapore’s journey to become a smart nation task.
Techseen: According to Cisco research, some “45% of businesses have boards that are not concerned with digital disruption.” What are the challenges that new digital technologies and business models pose to the value proposition of existing goods and services?
Koleva: It’s inevitable that digital disruption will penetrate every, if not most, industries and the roadmap to survival is through evolution. Existing business models will have to change and companies must dedicate themselves to a continuous process of innovation. These multifaceted shifts create an opportunity for companies to improve efficiency, reduce costs and develop more dynamic business models for the existing goods and services.
Techseen: We have been hearing of Big Data and analytics for quite some time. Yet, companies don’t know what to do with the loads of data they have? What’s the starting point for companies to get into? Do you think they’ll really perish if companies don’t use Big Data?
McDaid: With the changing technology landscape, enterprises are slowly recognizing the importance of the Big data. Through data analytics, businesses can transform their business performance, innovate and provide better customer service. However, to tap onto such opportunity, what businesses need is the right technology, which can not only leverage the deluge of data but also helps businesses stay ahead in the digital game to make smart business decisions.
Techseen: Wouldn’t you agree that we should start with small data first?
McDaid: It depends on what businesses are looking to glean out of data sets. Big data is a reliable indicator for trends and behavioral patterns while small data is more targeted, provides information in present-time and requires less effort.
In order to succeed in the digital journey, what enterprises need are tailored technology solutions that are in-line with their business needs and goals. With customized solutions business models become more flexible and agile. This can be highly beneficial in the longer run with the constantly changing business parameters.
Techseen: Do you think that all Singapore enterprises are adopting technology to its full capacity? What are the obstacles that enterprises face in doing so?
Koleva: There’s inertia towards adopting technology because companies either lack the know-how or aren’t supported with the right infrastructure. A large part of the challenge in adopting digitization is the rapid and continuous change of the digital landscape. Enterprises need business applications that can quickly adapt to current demands and keep pace with business operations in efficient and effective ways. Moreover, they will need to be more agile in translating big data into business insights and further develop it into a more profitable business model.
Techseen: Please share some industry insights on streaming analytics and big data.
McDaid: Streaming analytics is shattering traditional business models and transforming businesses through forward-thinking approaches. In today’s rapidly changing business landscape, opportunities may come at a moment’s notice and require real-time action. Boasting features such as fraud detection, customer experience management, supply chain visibility and market surveillance, Streaming analytics enables businesses across verticals to make informed decisions quickly and at scale by integrating real-time analytics and decision making into their organization’s transaction executing systems.
Using Software AG’s APAMA streaming analytics, businesses such as ING Bank, Royal Dirkzwager, Schwering & Hasse have successfully leveraged the power of streaming analytics to drive their businesses to greater heights.
Techseen: How’s streaming analytics different from analytics and what are some of the best practices in streaming analytics implemented by global companies and key learnings for Singapore enterprises?
McDaid: Data analytics is a bigger umbrella comprising of a range of approaches and solutions such as streaming analytics, predictive analytics and more. While streaming analytics equips businesses with the real time insights, predictive analytics uses existing data sets in order to determine patterns and predict future outcomes and trends. For example, Software AG’s APAMA Solution, combining streaming and predictive analytics, enables businesses to gain operational visibility as well as make instant decisions while keeping future predictions in mind.
Techseen: While IoT and Big Data are hot topics and everyone wants to have a share of the pie, would you agree that the biggest hurdle could be the talent crunch? What’s the industry doing to meet the talent requirements? And what would be the specializations required in the domain? How does Software AG look at it?
McDaid: As Singapore is moving towards digitization, businesses are constantly facing the challenge of talent scarcity. To overcome this hurdle, businesses must focus on upgrading the skills of current employees to meet the needs of new business and operations models. With the rapidly changing technology, it’s imperative that businesses have right resources onboard to support their technology architecture.
Software AG is committed to responding to new challenges and shifting landscapes. In an effort to overcome the prospect of a talent crunch, Software AG’s “Career4U” program undertakes a holistic talent development approach, which coalesces formal on-the-job training and coaching with a variety of learning and development resources for all levels.
Furthermore, Software AG’s Corporate University works in close cooperation with Human Resources Development to streamline the development process, focus on the right issues, and deliver valuable training tailored to meet the needs of our workforce.
Techseen: How can businesses benefit from IoT? How has Software AG transformed some businesses and made them IoT run?
Koleva: The IoT evolution has created major landmarks in the business landscape especially in industrial arena. The key segments of industrial landscape – manufacturing, supply chain and logistics, have been completely transformed by the IoT innovation and data analytics growth. Software AG’s technology solutions have equipped enterprises from a cross section of industries to leverage on the proliferation of IoT to improve their business models. Through co-innovation, Software AG brings business and technology to the next level – envisioning the best solutions for business in order to acquire phenomenal results combining the best of both worlds.
Techseen: Besides the convenience, IoT comes with security issues. Is Singapore prepared for that? Does Software AG have any IoT security related products and solutions?
Koleva: As we move towards IoT, security remains the biggest threat. More connected devices means more paths to be attacked by hackers. In order to secure critical data, robust technology architecture comes into play safeguarding the data from cyber breaches.
At Software AG, we believe security is the top priority for business and we implement it in every aspect of our business. As an example, Software AG’s Hybrid Integration Platforms can not only provide secure data integration, but also provides flexibility to keep the sensitive data on premise while sharing the non-significant data on the cloud, safeguarding the data movement and applications at the same time.
Another product of Software AG- IoT Solution Accelerator helps businesses build an integrated, comprehensive platform for the entire IoT infrastructure with robust, end-to-end security.
Techseen: How’s the rest of Southeast Asia placed in terms of digitization, vis-a-vis Singapore, and what do they need to do to catch up; and how much time do you think they’ll take to match up?
Koleva: Digital transformation has been one of the biggest trends across Asia Pacific in 2015 and Singapore is leading this digital wave in 2016. With 8.6 billion connected devices and a robust digital infrastructure, the digital transformation agenda is quickly becoming top priority for C-suite executives across the region. Digitization in Asia is happening at different stages for each of the industries, with each of them actively pursuing strategies that correspond to their own digital readiness and corporate objectives leading to better business results.
In 2016, digital advances in terms of analytics, data forecasting and enhancement of customer relationships via digital platforms are quickly becoming the key focus areas for enterprises to remain profitable and stay ahead of the competition.
Techseen: Software AG has an Offshore Delivery Center based in Bangalore that provides consulting services. How critical is India as a market for you? Which other markets are critical from Software AG’s point of view?
Koleva: The talent pool in India is unrivaled when it comes to IT skills and industry know-how. We have over 200 certified web methods experts in our offshore delivery center in India. Software AG has always seen India as a market that has tremendous growth potential and is dedicated to scaling our efforts in the country. We’re looking at markets with high-growth potential and Asia Pacific will definitely be our main focus moving forward.
Techseen: Please share some of your growth and future plans?
Koleva: Software AG provides what businesses and organizations need to grow and stay competitive. Our portfolio of products and services enables customers to fully exploit the opportunities of the digital era. We build on existing IT landscapes, harmonize them and implement digital technologies to create flexible infrastructures that analyze data in real time—including automated decision-making tools. The next few years of our growth would definitely revolve around expanding our footprint in the Asia Pacific region, which holds a tremendous potential and is ripe for digital explosion.

Abhinav Mohapatra

An author who has a keen interest for the ‘off-beat’ <!--more-->An author who has a keen interest for the ‘off-beat’, he has covered and explored multiple facets of the marketing, advertising

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