Industry InsightsLeadership and Management

Leaders Believe AI and Digitalization are Keys to Grow Prospects

During the Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) LAB event held in Bukit Mertajam on September 21, industry experts attended and emphasized how small and medium enterprises (SMEs) should embrace and harness technological advancements and artificial intelligence (AI). This will benefit them by optimizing resources and enhancing their own value. The event is assisted by SOBA LAB, an acronym for Learn, Aspire, Build, which leads the SMEs on their entrepreneurial journey through talks and discussions by business leaders and experts.

RHB Bank Bhd SME Banking Head Yip How Nang put a great deal of stress on the importance of going into digitalization rather than using human resources. This could be a great initiative to reduce time-consuming repetitive tasks only to be done by the AI and focus on the important ones.

He said, “Digital technologies offer significant efficiencies, but without the right mindset for change, organizational weaknesses can be magnified. Businesses need a well-defined strategy before making significant investments, with human resources being an integral part of the digital journey rather than a component to be replaced.”

Kuan Eu Jin, chief revenue officer of PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd, also urged SMEs to use AI and digitalization, pointing out that these technologies are now more accessible and more affordable, which is great news.

“While the impetus for digitalization or automation often comes from external sources, SMEs should seize the opportunity to overcome internal fears or hesitations regarding increased productivity and effectiveness. AI and digitalization are becoming more affordable, making it an ideal time for SMEs to explore their options. Initiating digitalization and automation is never too late, as long as it aligns closely with business requirements,” he said.

Also, Eric Ooi, the founder and CEO of OPC Resources Sdn Bhd, emphasized the potential advantages of AI-driven software in connecting departments inside a business to carry out thorough market research.

“Currently, we have systems running without the need for a server managed by third-party operators. This approach saves costs and allows smart systems to analyze market trends and outcomes, particularly in departments dealing with large volumes of data. Small industries concerned about the burden of digitalization can always start on a smaller scale,” he said.

The three leaders discussed how digitalization and AI may increase efficiency in Malaysian SMEs. Krystelle Ma, the bureau adviser for the PCCC YES Toastmasters Club, moderated the debate. —The Star

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