, Singapore

Organisations to adopt more cloud solutions in improving operations, reducing costs, says Deloitte Consulting Executive Director

Companies need to stay true to the objectives of their digital transformation initiatives to reap rewards.

Currently focusing on digital transformation, Cheong Chew Wai is an Executive Director with Deloitte Consulting based in Southeast Asia – where he primarily serves clients in the Government and Public Services industry in the Asia Pacific region.

He has 18 years of consulting experience in the said region and has delivered many complex transformation projects and business consultancy engagements. His wide range of consulting experience includes leading business consulting work, such as business process re-engineering, service design, and operating model transformation, as well as directing business development and go-to-market initiatives with clients.

He also helps government clients improve their service delivery and operational efficiency by digitally transforming their core business and operations, thereby improving the lives of citizens, enhancing community engagement and social care integration, and making an impact on the community.

Cheong has extensive experience in programme management and delivery, having implemented large and complex transformation projects for major clients in both the public sector, healthcare and telecommunications industries. 

In his observation of the Singapore technology landscape, he believes organisations will adopt more cloud solutions to improve their operations and reduce costs, moving towards being more data and insights-driven to increase efficiency and productivity.

“By staying true to the transformation objectives, and adopting a more agile approach and mindset, companies can focus their efforts and potentially reap the benefits progressively,” he said.

Speaking with Singapore Business Review, Cheong discussed pertinent issues in the industry such as maintaining digital transformation programmes in tech companies and using such initiatives for the goal of sustainability. He also provided insights to the evolution of the tech landscape in the past year.

How has the Singapore technology landscape evolved in the past year? Are there any trends to watch out for?

Singapore has always been at the forefront of technology as it is a crucial driver of its economy and society, and it is a leader in innovation and technology in the Southeast Asia region. The country’s infrastructure and government digital services and initiatives are often recognised for their technological readiness.

Over the past year, there have been various notable trends that will continue to be key in the years to come as more companies embark on the journey to digitally transform their operations in the post-pandemic future. For instance, in the area of cloud computing, we will see more organisations increasingly adopt more cloud solutions to improve on their operations and reduce costs. Companies are also moving towards being more data and insights-driven, leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) to help make data-driven decisions, and improve efficiency and productivity. Also, the importance of cyber security cannot be stressed enough. Cyber threats are real and will continue to evolve, and organisations must strengthen their capabilities to protect their business and defend against such threats. 

What are the biggest challenges in sustaining digital transformation in tech companies? How should they approach these challenges?

As technology is constantly evolving, organisations need their people to have the skills and capabilities to effectively use and maintain new technologies. In addition to hiring new talent with these capabilities, organisations need to also transform their existing workforce to become future-ready, and this means investing in training and reskilling existing employees to keep pace with technology advancements and digital trends. Organisations have to rethink about work, workforces and workplaces to respond to technological and societal disruptors of today’s world.

Another challenge is maintaining the momentum of and commitment to their digital transformation journey. Often, this is a long journey - there need to be continuous investments, and the results might not be immediate. By staying true to the transformation objectives, and adopting a more agile approach and mindset, companies can focus their efforts and potentially reap the benefits progressively.

How should organisations use technology and their digital transformation journeys in their goal of becoming more sustainable?

Sustainability goes beyond profitability, and the sustainability lens should be applied to all aspects of the organisation. For instance, with people being a key asset, organisations should think about how technology can be used to build a more sustainable workforce, where employees can achieve high performance and productivity in a conducive work environment. The use of technology can help improve an employee’s end-to-end work experience in many ways, from improving communications and collaboration to promoting mental health amongst employees.

For consultants, what skills are most desired to be able to understand and address client needs?

There is a wide range of skills required to be a good consultant – from solid problem-solving, and critical thinking, to good communication skills. For me, it is important for consultants to be client-centric: having the clients’ interests at heart, and thinking ahead with them and for them. Consultants should also have the natural curiosity that prompts thoughtful and focused questions, and be good listeners and empathetic communicators. In addition, consultants need to be flexible and adaptable to different situations, environments, and people as the market and clients evolve. This also means being resourceful with the ability to think creatively out of the box; to see potentially innovative ways to overcome challenges and see the potential in situations where others do not.

As a judge for this year’s SBR Technology Excellence Awards, what qualities are you hoping to see from this year’s winners?

I look forward to seeing innovative, sustainable solutions that will not just help their businesses, but also make an impact on Singapore; on its people and the community in which we live in.

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