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Digitilisation and Reskilling – SMEs National Forum, Malta 2020


Tech.mt - October 29, 2020 - 0 comments

Dana Farrugia, CEO Tech.mt, participates at Malta’s SME National Forum 2020 to discuss resilience in digitisation and reskilling.

Digitalization was a ‘can’ before the pandemic. It’s now a ‘must’. What are your views on this?

COVID-19 has accelerated the need for digital transformation initiatives. Driving change through technology will be a critical factor in the ability of all companies to emerge from the crisis.

COVID-19 has accelerated the need for digital transformation initiatives

Nearly 60 percent of executives agree that COVID-19 has created an impetus to accelerate digital transformation initiatives (KPMG Enterprise Reboot study, 2020)

Industries with strong digital transformation execution, such as online retail, telemedicine, food delivery, and streaming media, had the opportunity to scale aggressively during the recovery, which should last going forward given changing consumer behavior during the pandemic.

When many economies and societies were shut down due to the virus—objectives have become much clearer: The number one aim of emerging technology investments for nearly all companies surveyed is future survival.

Two business success drivers that are being pushed to the forefront during these unprecedented times: technology and trust.

Trust is essential for digital transformation to go forward

Trust is essential for digital transformation to go forward, but it was already eroding prior to COVID-19. Now, the crisis has intensified prior trust challenges and generated new ones. Visible trust gaps for emerging technologies such as AI, blockchain and IoT continue to remain significant barriers to adoption.

While the picture is far from certain, driving change through technology will be a critical factor in the ability of all companies to emerge from the crisis. Underlying this effort will be strengthening of trust—trust that organizations are agile enough to execute the rapid transformation required to ensure workforce safety and confront other COVID-19-related challenges.

The need to generate and preserve liquidity is causing organizations to pull back or delay certain emerging technology projects in order to meet immediate financial objectives in the pandemic’s wake. Traditional digital transformation has always been correlated with more investment. Now industries that were most susceptible to COVID-19 risks must do the opposite: capitalize on emerging technology without increasing budgets, and at a pace and scale that is much faster than their usual timeline

Over the next 12 months, some emerging technology spend is expected to grow, with a focus on AI, 5G, automation, and cloud technologies

For those industries facing crisis, managing the transition to a digital business model is imperative. However, doing so is made more complicated in a time where investments are critical, but cash must be preserved. Emerging technologies and new ways of working will play a significant role in the transformation to a more digital economy, helping companies serve their customers even better than before, keep remote workforces connected, ensure their business is resilient and prepared for disruptions, and build a strong foundation for future product and service innovation.

Over the next 12 months, some emerging technology spend is expected to grow, with a focus on AI, 5G, automation, and cloud technologies (KPMG Enterprise Reboot Study, 2020)

The primary focus of current investments is on more mature technologies such as cloud, automation, and analytics that will help organizations respond to current problems, drive quick ROI, and maintain the future trajectory.

SME National Forum 2020 - Tech.mt & MEA

What’s the way forward for decision-makers when it comes to digital transformation initiatives… what challenges do you foresee and how can these be overcome?

With a global recession underway, emerging technology projects should be tied to improvements that are measurable.

Decision-makers should ask themselves: Are potential technology initiatives competing for funding with projects totally outside of the technology arena? What trade-offs can we make to get the funds to invest?

With a global recession underway, emerging technology projects should be tied to improvements that are measurable.

Companies need to find ways to break down large-scale efforts, like digital transformation, into small, bite-sized chunks. It is wise to deploy emerging technologies in areas where there is a fairly strong chance of positive outcomes

A narrow approach won’t drive meaningful change

A narrow approach won’t drive meaningful change or achieve the resilience needed for success in the new environment. Rather, combining technologies together is the key to enabling game-changing solutions.

Organizations have to integrate technology into organizational structure and strategy consciously. Doing so will help overcome top challenges to emerging technology adoption, which center on culture, risk appetite, talent, commitment, data, and the business case—not the technology itself.

Institutional trust is essential for agility, transformation, and resilience. Organizations that established sophisticated trust infrastructures capable of responding dynamically were the ones thriving before COVID-19 and are in better positions to recover.

Combining emerging technologies to drive business value is harder to achieve than isolated deployments of single technologies. Investing in business and organizational expertise alongside technical expertise, and governing the transformation itself, are required to guide organizations to success.

Looking ahead, how does Tech.mt plan to continue advocating the digital transformation of Maltese businesses?

Tech.mt has been pivotal in making sure technology and digital platforms are used in the best way possible

From research we have carried out last year we realized that many local economic sectors still use legacy processes and systems. On the one hand, this may seem worrying, but on the other hand, there is huge potential for the local Tech sector. With the sole responsibility of representing and promoting the technology and innovation sector in Malta, Tech.mt has been pivotal in making sure technology and digital platforms are used in the best way possible. In light of its wide array of responsibilities and the multiple projects it coordinates, Tech.mt has truly covered all facets of society. From stimulating businesses to go digital and pushing for more women in digital job-related employment to bridging the digital divide and ensuring children are safe online, Tech.mt has managed to stay fully abreast of the pandemic.

the future Tech.mt envisages is digital

Tech.mt has a huge responsibility in pushing the reset button and looking at how to create an economy which is based on digital resilience and digital innovation. How I see it, the pandemic has really been a wake-up call that we need to transition to a more digital economy. If we truly want to have a resilient and effective recovery, we need to bring all stakeholders from all levels at the table with government to design the kind of future we want for our country, our economy and our people. And without any doubt, the future Tech.mt envisages is digital, and our team is well placed to assist local businesses get all the help and assistance they need on their digital journey.

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