“From an industry or business perspective, specifically in the energy and its subsidiary sector, technological advancements have always played a key role in ensuring business sustainability through increasing productivity and output, reducing our environmental impacts, and transforming the way we work.”
This was said by Brunei Gas Carriers (BGC) Managing Director Pengiran Shamhary bin Pengiran Dato Paduka Haji Mustapha yesterday as one of the invited panellists during the Digital ASEAN discussion on ‘Advancing ASEAN’s Digital Economy: How can ASEAN develop a digital eco-system for sustainable and inclusive growth? How can Southeast Asian businesses accelerate their digital transformation? What are the challenges in connecting ASEAN digitally?’
He added, “It is undeniable that technological change this century has been exponential, more so in the digital space, and it will continue to evolve at a rapid rate. Businesses need to adapt accordingly.”
Pengiran Shamhary also shared what BGC has recognised on its top three business disruptors early last year pre-COVID: the energy transition; the shifts happening in the LNG market (increasing competitiveness and focus on shipping costs); and digitalisation and technological advancements, including cyber-security threat.
He highlighted BGC’s digitalisation roadmap experience and reflected on the potential parallels on the wider ASEAN’s digital transformation journey, albeit the scale being different.
COVID-19, while a shipping disruptor, was also an accelerator of change. It helped in accelerating digital shift just like everywhere else, and while it may have been enforced adoption of new technologies and ways of working, it did bring to the forefront parallels where individuals, governments and businesses need to prepare themselves in adapting to the change, said the managing director.
Among the changes, he continued, was that businesses will need to strategically invest in infrastructure and education for the required skillsets and future-ready skills, and businesses will need to understand how technology and a digital economy is reshaping their comparative advantage for business sustainability.
Governments will also need to protect citizens from potential disruptions and populations from being disenfranchised, while policymakers must learn how to manage disruptive change and new technological developments there needs to be a governance framework.
“With the adaptive measures, it is hoped that the recognised challenges of inequality, asymmetry of access and information, inclusiveness and human capital loss can be mitigated,” said Pengiran Shamhary.
Other panellists were CIBC Vice-Chairman of Global Investment Banking and former Canadian Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry Navdeep Bains; Facebook Vice President for Southeast Asia and Emerging Markets Benjamin Joe; SAP Southeast Asia President and Managing Director Verena Siow; and President of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) Professor Hidetoshi Nishimura. CNA news anchor Steve Lai moderated the session.