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CO-WRITTEN / PARTNER | editor, Malaysia

Edmund Wong joins the panel of judges in Malaysia Technology Excellence Awards

He believes that being agile and open to exploring different ways of serving customers is important for business survival during a crisis.

Edmund Wong is an Associate Partner with EY Consulting in Malaysia. With over 23 years of professional work experience in business and IT consulting, his specialty is managing complex large-scale transformation projects and digital initiatives for clients.

His proficiencies are in Data Strategy & Analytics, Digital Transformation, Agile Transformation, Technology Consulting, Systems Integration / Implementation, Payment Card Services, Global Infrastructure Management & Operations, and Enterprise Saervice Management.

As an Intelligent Automation Leader in Malaysia and an avid Manchester United Football Club supporter, Edmund Wong shares his insights on how businesses can cope during the pandemic and why AI, Machine Learning, and Blockchain are the next big thing in investments.

Which particular markets or sectors are your main focus? Can you share with us your work experience or any backstory that has contributed to your professional career?

I cover the Financial Services sector, working with banking, insurance and wealth management clients in EY Consulting. I graduated as a Chemical Engineer and practised for two years before venturing into consulting some 22 years ago.

That time I joined one of the largest consulting firms in the world and developed deep experiences in IT integration, solution implementation and process reengineering. I had the opportunity to join a start-up to provide smart payment services and help banks migrate their Europay-MasterCard-Visa (EMV) (for payment cards). It was a great experience in building a practice and growing the company.

I moved on to a global role to manage Infrastructure operations (supporting over 180 locations globally) for a large tobacco company under their shared services. I developed strong operations and service management knowledge—and remember waking up at 3 am because of an incident in Chile that was escalated to me back then.

After 7 years, I moved back to consulting and have since further developed my knowledge and skills in new technologies or trends like Cloud, Data & Analytics, Intelligent Automation, Agile and Digital Strategy.

Now I run mainly Technology Consulting engagements and work delivery at EY.

The global financial crisis has pushed many businesses into a state of instability, with many businesses closing down. Many, however, are exploring strategies to transform their businesses to survive. What would be your advice to them on how they can get back on their feet again?

Focus on the customers’ needs and provide a seamless customer experience. Customer buying behaviour is changing and the pandemic has expedited the need to be agile and enable business digitalisation. Who would have thought a nasi lemak stall (seller) will be subscribing to mobile food delivery services?

Businesses need to explore different ways of serving and reaching out to their customers.

Which areas of IT are foreign investors and companies putting their bets on? What's the situation across these industries?

AI/ML (Artificial intelligence/Machine Learning) is one of the “big” bets. Facial recognition using AI is being used for security, eKYC and criminal use cases already. AI is also used to enhance the accuracy of analytics (e.g. risk scoring, customer profiling, etc.) in financial services.

Blockchain is another bet that has seen traction in trade finance, supply chain and drug authenticity/traceability.

Crisis presents opportunities, even in businesses. What do you think are these opportunities, and how do you think they will shape businesses in the future?

The advent of digital technologies is transforming our personal lives as well as businesses in a positive way. We are more connected than ever before—sometimes too much. This presents greater opportunities for businesses to connect and reach out to customers, via new channels instead of more traditional brick & mortar or face-to-face interactions.

My very young cousin is selling her cheesecakes via Instagram. Although not quite successful yet, this demonstrates the various possibilities that businesses can explore.

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