If you notice the small changes in our lives during the past couple of years, a smartphone is no longer just a device we use for making phone calls or social media access. Almost all transactions are made through our phones daily as it is convenient, faster, simpler, and save cost. Consumer behavior is also changing to adjust to new products and services offered by entrepreneurs who are continuously innovating new technologies within their industry. Entrepreneurs and customers influence each other to adapt to this digital age and life.
In this issue of All Around Plastics, we talked with Mr. Orapong Thien-Ngern, Chief Executive Officer of Digital Ventures Co., Ltd. about the impact of digital technologies on various industries worldwide. Digital transformation reshapes businesses are done and companies needs to step up their digital games to thrive.
What Is Disruption and Digital Transformation
“I defined Disruption as something that disrupts the survival of today’s businesses. Examples are conventional mass media being challenged by online media, ride services via applications and digital shops for online shopping. These disruptions, within any industry, are caused by advancement in technologies, leading to what we call Digital Transformation”
Talking about Digital Transformation, the first thing that comes to mind is the change in consumer behavior. Every change creates a gap in the market. Newcomers can use digital technologies to create opportunities. Physical store fronts or a substantial initial investment are no longer necessary.
“The world is on the five-inch screen. It can do everything. For example, banks used to spend so much on management and workforce. Now, many newly-established banks started by creating mobile applications. One barely has any cost while another has to endure huge expenditures. That’s why whoever has a physical presence needs Digital Transformation. One need to change and adapt to be able to compete in the digital age.”
In addition to existing competitors in the market, another challenge is the Born-Digital enterprises that have founded their businesses on top of digital platforms. They use, and adapt quickly to the latest technologies. Unlike conventional enterprises, their growth doesn’t require a large sum of funds. This is a challenge every organization within every industry must face, they must find the best way to adapt their organization or they’ll risk being left behind by their competitors. “I don’t think it’s just one particular industry. It will happen globally sooner or later and surely, will have a great impact.”
Is the World Changing?
Since there has been a disruption in every industry, it is the sign that the business management know-how from a century ago isn’t as effective anymore. “People who do businesses today, whenever big changes happen, white space follows. There is a huge room for growth if we figure out what we can do with these new opportunities.”
Speaking of transformation, the preparation and management of human resources and digital technologies are crucial. It is a challenge for executives to find a way for a seamless transformation and create the company’s vision that matches the company’s nature.
“Start by acknowledging that it’s time to change how you do business. In the past, technology supports the business. The question is how should we change? First, the company needs to see itself as a technology company. One no longer buys a technology to create a business. Technology is the business.”
An entrepreneur should view the change as an opportunity for a new idea. Technology is now the key to success. “You need to think about how will technology helps your business to be unique. It’s a very tough question. People who are in the same industry for many decades can’t think of something new. Ideas are shaped by time.”
For example, The Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) created the new innovative business ‘Digital Ventures’, a Fintech subsidiary to overcome the limits in the banking industry. Its employees possess different characteristic too. “People here don’t wear suits. Most of them have grown up in the digital world. We’re running faster and have accomplished many things. For example, Blockchain that we have teamed up with SCG is the success of this company.”
Innovation to Change the Future
Digital Transformation is happening all around us. Being active and prepared is important for any individual and organization. Mr. Orapong has repeatedly warned that “Standing still means stepping back. The world moves forward fast”. If you know earlier, you can act faster. Technologies and innovations that are going to create changes in the next few years are the following 4 items.
Distributed Ledger is a consensus of synchronized digital data, serving as the foundation of Blockchain. In the past, an individual’s data spread across multiple sites. A health record is in the hospital’s care and financial data is in the hands of the bank. With this technology, data is with the rightful owner, not any service provider. It will change businesses in the future as the data owner can control and choose when to reveal the data.
Next, Tokenization, any objects can be transformed into the digital world while still retaining their values. They can be traded directly without any third-party intervention. Furthermore, objects can be traced back to their sources and traffics.
The third item is 5G, a new generation of wireless technology that transfers a greater amount of data in a shorter amount of time. This, along with decreases in price of sensors make, human-to-human and device-to-device communications become faster.
AI or artificial intelligence
However, the last item is the key, AI or artificial intelligence. We have big data but how can we use them? Learning and adapting are today’s biggest challenge.
Mr. Orapong touched upon the plastic industry and how they have responded to changes “Apparently, recycling is the future. Sensors may be used to trace who is the manufacturer and when the plastic is produced. 5G will help to see where it comes from and where it has been stopped along the journey. Manufacturers need to rush to take care of it. It may seem so far away but it will happen faster than you thought it could.”
In the world that is changing faster than ever, Mr. Orapong believes that while technologies are available to everyone, only a few people know how to integrate them. Each organization is different so the successful transformation will only come through trial and error. “The world today is about the experiments and they are a lot cheaper now. You need fewer funds. Competent people are the key. If you don’t have them, at least you need to be brave enough for a trial-and-error approach.”