Technology trends

Technological trends serving the new reality

SINCE the start of the pandemic, we have witnessed massive innovations that have altered our understanding of the potential that technology can offer. From developing and distributing vaccines and businesses moving to online operations, to fighting climate change and achieving greater social equality through e-learning; the critical role of technology in the world has never been clearer.

As we move forward into the endemic phase and prepare for a new reality, let’s take a look at the key tech trends that could shape Malaysia’s future:

Hyperscalers

Hyperscale cloud providers combine in-house enterprise solutions with cloud infrastructure, platforms, and software as a service (SaaS), enabling holistic cloud-based information technology (IT) strategies and native cloud solutions.

The cloud services market is expected to see greater concentration in the coming years, driven by hyperscalers’ shortened innovation cycles – from years to months or even weeks – and impressive spending on research and development. Hyperscalers are vertically entering many IT markets that did not originate from the cloud, but require or benefit from cloud strategies through these investments, making them critical to digital business transformation. Last year, Alibaba Cloud was named the official cloud service provider for the Malaysian government, joining Telekom Malaysia, Amazon, Google and Microsoft, to help accelerate cloud adoption and the country’s digital transformation.

industry clouds

Industrial clouds are cloud and data platforms customized to meet the different needs of an industry. They go beyond platform as a service (PaaS) or SaaS by vertically integrating enterprise solutions, enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, workflows and services associates.

They are seen as the next step for hyperscalers, moving from generic technology operations to a more bespoke platform offering macro and micro apps as well as data management in one place. With bespoke platforms becoming the next big thing, industry clouds are likely to drive the cloud-everywhere trend by enabling industries to digitally transform at scale.

This can help an organization’s agility and reduce complexity through seamlessly coordinated cloud environments. It can also have a positive impact on the speed and cost of IT modernization, with innovation, upgrading and maintenance coming automatically into the platforms.

Automating

In this context, automation refers to both basic robotic process automation (RPA) which automates routine office work, as well as complex process automation which can benefit from advanced technologies such as than machine learning (ML). The effectiveness of automating routine office work has been operationally validated not only in North America, Europe and Japan, but also in Malaysia.

Previously, technologies were mainly implemented in “pilot stages”. Organizations would play it safe by experimenting with proof-of-concept projects to automate a controlled number of processes within their organization.

Many organizations have become more aggressive in their implementation, with many business processes being automated through RPA and ML.

As these automations become mainstream, many organizations are also establishing their own centers of excellence and in-house RPA developers to sustainably automate routine processes.

Although these technologies have been implemented in many organizations in key Malaysian sectors in recent years, we expect them to become more mainstream in the future, with wider implementation and with more complex processes as candidates.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Oxford Insight’s Government AI Readiness Index 2021 study ranked Malaysia 36th out of 160 countries assessed (Oxford Insights, Government AI Readiness Index 2021). The research examines the readiness of a given government to implement AI in the delivery of public services to citizens. Regionally, Malaysia ranked sixth after Taiwan, China, Japan, South Korea and Singapore.

While there are undeniable benefits to using AI at scale, there are also challenges.

One is about building trust and transparency into the equation, as some algorithms can reinforce biases and infringe on privacy and technologies like facial recognition can be discriminatory.

There are few mandates or regulations in this space. The cost and effort required to provide sufficient assurance for AI applications can also be prohibitive, and fear of public scrutiny and ethical implications has previously prevented organizations from using AI at scale.

Having a reliable and ethical AI model is fundamental. More trusted mechanisms are emerging to help the organization validate, test, and create transparency and use AI with more confidence.

quantum computing

It is common to see technologies on the market that harness the principles of quantum computing with the potential to make a significant difference in compute-intensive industries. One way is to help solve optimization problems. The optimization algorithms are already reconfigured using the principles of quantum mechanics.

Malaysia’s financial services, biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors could particularly benefit from quantum computing, as they require highly scalable computing power. KPMG has launched a global quantum technology hub based in Denmark, in collaboration with Microsoft’s Azure Quantum platform (Building on quantum advantage, December 2, 2021). The cluster will focus on finding applications in three main areas: ultra-precise measurements using quantum sensors, computational acceleration on quantum computers, and cybersecurity improvements using cryptography. quantum.

Metaverse

More and more companies are creating spaces in the metaverse – virtual worlds where users can interact and meet through avatars.

However, since the metaverse concept has only recently gained popularity, industry leaders are often unsure how to engage with it. The first step is education. More and more organizations are exploring this concept, along with opportunities for experimentation in today’s metaverses. In Malaysia, possibilities may include virtual real estate showcases or providing a virtual reality headset to potential customers to remotely experience the “product” without compromising their health/safety in the post-pandemic reality.

cyber security

As the pandemic has pushed organizations to accelerate their digital transformation, it has also caused cybersecurity threats to evolve at an even faster pace.

Cybercriminals are getting creative and playing in corporate and government blind spots.

Threat actors invest time and hone their skills in understanding security tools and deploying evasive techniques, avoiding detection and circumventing security protocols. Another issue is software assurance, where hackers infiltrate third-party software vendors and place undetected malware directly into environments.

From January to December 2021, a total of 10,016 cases of cyber incidents were reported to the Cyber ​​Security Incident Response Center, Cyber999, operated by the Malaysian Computer Emergency Response Team. Organizations need to familiarize themselves with cyber risks. This may include a “trust but verify” approach to security tools and consideration of new commercial services that provide software assurance and monitor the technology landscape in real time.

Low code/no code

These platforms have become well established, making software development faster and at a fraction of the cost by allowing users to easily prototype, iterate, and customize applications with little or no experience.

Organizations need to make the necessary cultural shift as this technology becomes more widely available. Many apps these days are developed by a cohort of tech-native professionals who are well-versed in basic programming skills and eager to innovate and create digital tools outside of their area of ​​expertise. To benefit from the potential of low-code/no-code technology, organizational and cultural change must keep pace with technological advances. C-suite must be comfortable translating business demands into digital requirements; while technology leaders must demonstrate that their program produces tangible business results.

Alvin Gan is head of technology consulting at KPMG in Malaysia.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author.