While Covid-19 has caused disruptions across every industry, it has also presented opportunities for innovation. That was the core theme discussed in The Future of ASEAN’s Digital Innovation, a panel hosted by MDEC for Malaysia’s Tech Month, a month-long initiative to showcase the country’s world-class innovations and digital platforms. 

Lennise Ng, CEO and co-founder of Dropee, joined a stellar panel, consisting of Wai Hong Fong (StoreHub), Maran Virumandi (DoctorOnCall), and Joe Khoo, (iStore iSend). Moderated by Jasmine Ng (iPay88), they discussed how Malaysian businesses can discover new solutions with digital innovation. 

“Wholesalers and distributors fear that the personalised touch will be removed with digital. But what we see here is the complete opposite… Digital helps [the wholesalers and distributors] to engage with their customers in a more efficient way.”

Lennise Ng, CEO and co-founder at Dropee

Speed, Speed, Speed

The moderator kicked off the session with a strategy question: what should a startup or an SME prioritise to become digital during Covid-19 times?

Businesses should, first and foremost, understand who their customers are – every company will have different priorities. Business owners are facing many disruptions and must look for alternative ways to work and engage with customers. 

But as Lennise highlighted, another essential thing to keep in mind is speed. 

“Look for a solution that is not only cost-efficient but also one that you can deploy in the fastest time,” she says. 

With Covid-19 shortening businesses’ lifespans, time and resources are key components for survival in the industry. Seeking or building a platform from scratch will not only be costly, but time-consuming. 

Maran from DoctorOnCall echoed her sentiment, as the top priority right now is to go digital as fast as possible.

He recommends businesses to “take on a survival mindset” – and that means finding ways to adopt digitisation in the shortest possible time. Joe from iStore iSend suggested that businesses can always optimise along the way.

Innovation Means Upskilling and Finding Better Ways to Work

The discussion then went on to the classic dilemma of going digital – will it take people’s jobs away? 

The short answer is no. 

Wai Hong from StoreHub believes that innovation means prioritising what matters. Automate, and let employees do the work that matters most. 

And as for the work that is impacted? Upskill. 

“Upskilling and learning new things is a necessity,” says Lennise. “You have to do it as time goes by. At Dropee, we are running a lot of training activities, finding the best ways to upskill talents, and providing alternate jobs so that everyone can remain in this digital space.” 

The Importance of Collaboration

“I’m a firm believer in collaboration, it’s the cheapest form of growth hacking,” Lennise shares. “No matter where you are, in any part of the world, collaboration is absolutely necessary.” 

Lennise Ng shares key insights on the panel. Source: Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation’s YouTube

This rings true especially during times of crisis. With almost every single industry impacted by the virus, businesses are quickly realising that collaboration and partnerships can help to create more value for customers and to drive more growth. 

From Dropee’s partnership with UOB to provide business financing to SMEs, to StoreHub’s partnering with Visa to provide subsidised e-commerce starter packages, collaborations create a faster and better path to meet the same goals. 

Joe agrees: “To serve demand, you cannot do it alone.”

Be Bold

The mindset that “things are going to be better” cannot continue to live on, as shared by Maran. Times have drastically changed, and businesses must adapt. 

“The fear of doing something new, the fear of change and of not having a personalised touch with customers – this is evident in the B2B space,” Lennise reiterates.

“Wholesalers and distributors fear that the personalised touch will be removed with digital. But what we see here is the complete opposite.” 

Dropee allows them to create more personalisation, build more targeted promotions, and recommend better products – which “helps to engage with their customers in a more efficient way”.

“Be bold, and don’t be afraid to go digital!” 

Click here to watch the full webinar on The Future of ASEAN’s Digital Innovation

For businesses across Malaysia, Dropee is an e-commerce solutions provider that seeks to support our local B2B entities by providing them with a platform to help them streamline and manage their customers and inventories with efficiency and ease. We also help to connect businesses with one another via an online marketplace where they can reach out to more people in a fuss-free space.

To learn more about what we do, reach out to us for a free consultation with our team and get a headstart in digitising your business today!


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