Learn more about what digital transformation is truly about and how an adaptive workforce would be the key driver towards its success with Tan Buay Kee, Country Head of EPAM Singapore.
Digital transformation has been one of the most aspirated goals in the 21st century but it is also one of the most misunderstood processes among companies today.
A successful digital transformation requires a highly sophisticated blueprint that factors the unique needs of an entire company in mind. But, a critical prerequisite will play an important role towards creating it – Adaptive Workforce.
In this 2nd episode of Arcc Insights, join Cleve Yap from Arcc Spaces and Tan Buay Kee, Country Head of EPAM Singapore, a leading software engineering firm in their bespoke office at 75 High Street by Arcc Spaces to learn more about what digital transformation is truly about and how an adaptive workforce would be the key driver towards its success.
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Cleve: Shall we start with letting the audience know more about what EPAM is really about ?
Buay Kee: Since 1993, EPAM has leveraged software engineering to become a leading global product development, digital platform engineering, and also a digital and product design agency today. Leveraging on our engineering DNA, innovative strategy consultancy, and design capability, we have collaborated with our clients to deliver next-generation business solutions to turn complex business problems into real-life business solutions.
We are a market leader mentioned by top global research agencies and we are one of the only four companies in the Forbes 25 fastest growing tech companies since its first publication in 2013. We are also listed as the top IT services company in the Fortune 100 fastest growing companies in 2019 and 2020. We are present in 35 countries and our clients are represented in the 275 companies listed in the Forbes global 2000.
Cleve: Wow, that’s a lot of detail and it really sounds like there’s a lot of achievements over there. OK, as you know, today we are discussing about digital transformation essentially but I actually believe there are still many companies out there who are struggling to achieve success in transforming digitally or even understand it in the first place. So, what is digital transformation essentially?
Buay Kee: OK, digital transformation is basically transforming businesses through leveraging technology by replacing manual processes with digital ones. Digital transformation boosts the value of the company by increasing productivity leading to better customer services, better retention of the existing customers, and acquisition of new customers. In some cases, It also leads to cost control.
In the past 28 years, EPAM has navigated to a wave of digital transformation with our clients, leveling the playing fields and allowing our clients to stay competitive through the constant market disruption as engineers, designers, and also consultants. We form long-term partnerships that enable our clients to re-image their business through a digital dance. We also help our clients to become faster, to become more agile, and to become more adaptive enterprises by delivering the best-in-class engineering to strategy consulting, education, and innovation services. So, come talk to us if you are keen about this.
Cleve: I’m sure people will come and talk to you after all these. It’s very comprehensive. All right, so we have so much information about digital transformation these days. Why are there still people struggling to understand digital transformation knowingly and unknowingly? Or, could there actually be other reasons that led to transformation failure?
Buay Kee: I wouldn’t call it transformation failure because when you don’t fully understand the impact and capability of a well-designed and well-executed digital transformation strategy, you start to short-change yourself and your client. It will not lead to digital transformation failure, but you will not be able to reap the full benefits in order for you to stand up amongst your competitors and because considering that digital transformation involves a huge amount of resources, time and manpower, one possible reason for digital transformation failure is when the organization places too much emphasis on going digital without considering the organization’s strategy. This disconnection in digital and organization strategy will conflict and at the worst case destroy each other.
This is where EPAM is different. We consider all possible factors like engaging our clients from the start to ensure the digital strategy we propose is logical and executable. We place a huge focus on ensuring that the digital transformation strategy is both logical, executable, and is robust enough to adapt to unexpected changes.
Cleve: I see. That totally makes sense because I think a lot of industries are just concentrating a lot on the urgent need to transform digitally without thinking about what is actually really good for them in terms of the transformation process right?
Buay Kee: Absolutely.
Cleve: So, I actually understand that the EPAM team is really into business agility and ever since COVID-19 happened, the world is talking about how important it is for company workforce structures to be agile enough, to adapt quicker than before, etc. So, in relation to digital transformation, why is it important for many enterprises to adopt an agile and adaptive mindset now in order to achieve a successful digital transformation?
Buay Kee: Today, being adaptive and agile in this unpredictable changing business environment is one way to stand up among the competitors. Before the pandemic, EPAM systems have been engaged in remote working for the past 20 years. Globally, we run hybrid and distributed teams for our clients and also internally for ourselves. Our remote by design structure also allows EPAM to offer business continuity to our clients which is reliable, secure, and productive.
More recently, EPAM Systems has been awarded the 2020 Pandemic Tech Innovation Award by TMC (Technology Marketing Corporation). This is a testament of our skillful tech teams who are able to quickly scale technology for the betterment of others. Closer to home, we have partnered with Temasek Holdings, Ascott limited, and a consortium of partners to co-design and build Connect@Changi, the world’s first quarantine-free travel bubble facility. As a design partner, we were involved from the start. From the research to the strategy, user experience development, and now to development and implementation. I can proudly state that the users of Connect@Changi can seamlessly conduct in-person business meetings with little or no hassle that is traditionally connected to serving quarantines. This is just one example. Agile product engineering is in our core. Through a blend of proprietary and open source solutions, EPAM is able to focus on designing and building repeatable models to deliver the best innovation to the market.
Cleve: All right. Wow, I’m certainly looking forward to the Connect@Changi project as I think there’s definitely going to be a lot going on for that project right?
Buay Kee: Yes.
Cleve: So, what kind of people/talent pool is EPAM made of to make such successful digital transformation happen or should I say that being agile is one of the prerequisites when you hire?
Buay Kee: Our approach in building the best digital transformation strategy is to encourage multi-disciplinary teams to work together in the area of expertise and to continue to invest in ensuring that our people get trained in the latest technology today. People who are hungry, humble and smart will fit right into EPAM because we are all about rapid growth, transformation and innovation. So, if you are the right professional talent who is not
only agile in your work but also in your mindset, you are the right fit for EPAM systems.
Cleve: Also, just to add on to that. There’s also like an increasing amount of tools for people to use for their own PR such as Cision PR Newswire or even Telum. So, how good are these freemium tools or paid tools compared to the experience of engaging a PR agency?
Oliver: Yeah.. I mean there’s no such thing as a free lunch. You can’t just pay a newswire service and expect good quality coverage. They’re very different tools. With an agency, depending on the news and depending on what story you have to tell, you’ll get good quality coverage, interviews, and more in-depth interviews.
A newswire service will just post your press release. It’s often syndicated with a lot of different publications so you may appear in one of the pages on some of these online publications. Whether that is valuable to you or not really depends. Obviously, they’re a lot cheaper and they’ll take any news. The key really is what news do you have to tell. Is it just a self-promotional “we won this award” type of news? Well.. No good media is going to pick that up unless you’re winning the Emmys or the Oscars. A piece of news talking about a business award is not going to be picked up. That’s not newsworthy isn’t it?
Maybe if you put it through a newswire, at least you’ll have something online to show your stakeholders whoever they may be. But, if you have a major funding round, if the story you’re telling is market-moving and newsworthy then i’d highly recommend engaging a PR agency or pushing it out through by contacting the media yourself because that could be of interest to journalists and editors. So, they’re two separate things.
Cleve: All right. That’s good to know. Thank you so much for being here with me Buay Kee. I really appreciate what you have actually shared with us. I believe we have learned so much from you today and i think it was truly a good fresh course for people like me who is not from the industry to understand more about how digital transformation should work as well.
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