November 7, 2023
As a wave of “change fatigue” floods the industry – slowing down technology upgrades and deployments as hesitant organisations delay investment plans – Ravi Koka is challenging conventional thinking in Southeast Asia.
This is an executive well-versed in the mounting challenges facing a region still recovering from the impact of COVID-19.
Supply chain disruptions resulting from geopolitical tensions are common and continue to add unprecedented pressure for organisations seeking to fulfil client commitments and contracts.
This is layered with a talent shortage and an ongoing failure to support a more complex combination of technology stacks. Plus, the task of upgrading legacy systems becomes more difficult by the day, especially as data storage retrieval and data security protection roadblocks gather pace.
Even though this is a rehearsed script for many companies across the region – and reflective of the current status quo locally, regionally and globally – Koka is unwavering in his belief that pockets of opportunity and spotlights of optimism still exist.
“Innovation oils the gears of change, and despite ongoing economic challenges, end-users display a voracious appetite for it,” observed Koka, speaking as CEO of Digile.
“The burgeoning number of organisations offering unique experiences that transform and simplify the day-to-day lives of users serves as a testament to the growing expectations of users. This demands for organisations to proactively tackle novel challenges through innovation.”
Given such mounting business challenges, Koka emphasised the importance of ASEAN-based companies embedding technology into their suite of solutions.
“This is where digital transformation becomes an essential tool for businesses to adapt, innovate and scale sustainably in dynamic markets,” he added.
Power of data, importance of domain
Singapore-based Digile goes to market as a digital technology consulting firm with a strong presence across the markets of ASEAN and North America.
Core business lines span digital enablement, digital infrastructure lifecycle management, enterprise applications and cloud solutions – blending enterprise-grade offerings with industry-specific solutions.
“Data is the new gold and technology priorities in the next 6-12 months will centre around data governance,” Koka advised.
“Without a data strategy, companies risk issues such as data silos, inability to make timely decisions and detached data workflows. This is why digital transformation efforts undertaken will be done to strategise and implement an optimal data strategy from discovery to engineering and insights and reporting.”
According to Koka, end-user requirements in Southeast Asia have evolved “significantly” during the past five years with a growing focus on value, not just cost.
“Modern end-users are prioritising high-quality services and innovation to value-add to the solutions that they are seeking,” he explained. “This means that providers need proven expertise in delivering tailored solutions for domain-specific needs.”
Digile recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with UEMS, one of Singapore’s leading integrated facilities management (IFM) services companies providing market-leading solutions across various industries. Terms of the agreement will see UEMS leverage digital infrastructure lifecycle management solutions to drive smart facility management of buildings.
As noted by Koka, similar opportunities are emerging across sectors such as manufacturing, data centres, financial services and insurance plus telecommunications.
“Any industry where our enterprise applications services can be combined with our smart asset lifecycle management solutions,” he said.
Within this context, Digile is continuing to provide building information modelling (BIM) solutions to stakeholders in the region. BIM is a tool designed to accelerate the transformation of engineering and construction industries by facilitating information-sharing throughout the value chain.
“Despite becoming the industry standard to reduce logistical redundancies and increase productivity, BIM implementation is inconsistent and not all providers are capable of offering end-to-end solutions,” Koka explained.
Through identifying an industry gap, Digile supports organisations by implementing BIM using a “holistic approach” which also includes readiness evaluation, deployment, change management and training, catering for businesses of all sizes and industries in the process.
“Customer centricity is also crucial,” Koka added. “Customers expect providers to approach services and solutions from a needs standpoint.
“In other words, there needs to be a focus on understanding where specific needs lie and how to provide personalised services. Often, this is enabled by innovation, open communication and a collaborative approach.”
With data security and compliance now at the forefront of decision-making, customers now also require providers to have “demonstrable” robust security measures while also adhering to regulatory requirements. This comes in-hand with a need for agility to adapt to new requirements and respond to market changes seamlessly, Koka added.
“With data breach campaigns on the rise, technology priorities will also shift towards fortifying an organisation’s readiness against hackers,” Koka detailed.
“This will be done through a security readiness assessment which provides a foundation for organisations to automate security tasks including administrative duties, incident detection and providing appropriate responses. This ensures that organisations are protected round-the-clock and that threats are addressed almost immediately upon detection.”
Doubling down on digital twins, chasing tech talent
In housing a wide breadth of services and expertise across multiple industries, one of the foremost priorities for Digile is to increase analysis of existing customer data and behaviour. The aim is to make tailored recommendations that enhance the overall value proposition provided through products and services.
Supporting this approach is a commitment to identify opportunities where the company’s “Phygital” capabilities can be leveraged in the region to drive sustainable innovation.
“We are relaunching our digital twins platform that goes beyond just simulation – it creates value across the full lifecycle,” Koka said. “From design and development to operation and maintenance, businesses can harness the power of digital twins through our platform to make informed decisions, enhance performance and drive innovation.
“It’s about predicting failures before they occur, optimising resource allocation, and ultimately, delivering superior products and services.”
But given that Digile works with enterprise technology that is developing at a rapid rate, one of the company’s main challenges is sourcing the right talent with the necessary skills.
According to Koka, the business is actively seeking candidates with a combination of hard and soft skills and most importantly, “passion and a strong desire to learn on the job”.
While individuals with a strong portfolio of experience is required, Koka stressed that people who are collaborative, responsible and respectful are also high on the list – “listeners and do-ers”.
“Our employees are the heartbeat of our organisation,” he added. “An organisation can only succeed when it prioritises the up-skilling and supporting of its employees.”
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