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Artificial Intelligence in Malaysia: Challenged

Based on Gartner’s forecast, 2017 is poised to be a rebound year for IT spending across the consumer and enterprise segment.

Gartner Research Director, Anthony Mullen said, “For Malaysia, the bulk of the expenditure will be allocated for communications services, IT services and devices (mobile phones, PCs, printers, etc.).”

Enterprise IT News has a chat with Mullen about whether Artificial Intelligence would have a share of this spending.

EITN: Please share about value proposition of AI in the Malaysian context.

Mullen: In Malaysia, We are encouraged by the Government’s push towards more digitalisation. Sustained policy-related announcements, especially in Budget 2017 late last year will be a key catalyst in continuing the drive in the uptake of more devices and platforms here. All of that will lead to an even increased data footprint.

 This is in line with Gartner’s predictions that by 2021, 1 million Internet of Things (IoT) devices will be purchased and installed every single hour.

 As the data footprint increases, this will prove to be a challenge for users to deal with the continuous flow of notifications, content, messages, user interfaces and data. As such, users will be looking to choose trusted devices and platforms powered by AI to simplify tasks or make smart choices on their behalf.

 Many AI-related technologies are still at their infancy, and lots of energy is being put in by the big vendors, venture capitalists and academia to develop them further.

Data and analytics leaders will benefit from understanding what makes AI unusual in the history of analysis methods. Technology product marketing and management leaders will benefit from understanding how they can expect to employ AI in their own applications. AI-related technologies will include means of linking AI to conventional applications and the links between the IoT to AI as well.

EITN: What are the top three challenges Malaysian enterprises face?

Mullen: Based on the feedback from Malaysian CIOs when surveyed, getting the necessary IT literacy skills and resources remains a challenge for enterprises.

Overall lack of skills in terms of troubleshooting, general knowledge, and the lack of know-how underlines the importance of skill development efforts of industry bodies such as The National ICT Association of Malaysia, known as PIKOM.

Another challenge is the limited budget to further develop innovative technologies like AI as investment has been focused on more traditional ones like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).

 EITN: What about use of AI in operational processes – how much further to go?

Mullen: AI systems based on deep neural networks analyse huge amounts of data beyond simple algorithms. They learn to identify and classify input patterns, probabilistically predict, and operate unsupervised.

Organisations will use artificial intelligence (AI) to:

  • Advance automated interactions with customers, partners and workers.
  • Improve analysis of video and audio in real time and for responsive improvement.
  • Power smarter machinery, vehicles and structures.
  • Deepen software’s ability to improve performance and outcomes at human speed (or faster).

EITN: Are we jumping the gun in Malaysia, thinking that Malaysia has taken full advantage of the new data landscape to enhance experience for customers?  

Mullen: While Malaysian CIOs are investing in technologies, according to the survey results, the bulk of expenditure still lies with traditional investments that focus on data centre and ERP investments.

As such, CIOs need to look critically at the distribution of IT spending and ensure that these are made as a result of a rational decision making process instead of a habit to ensure that the enterprise is digital-ecosystem ready to bring more value for its customers.

EITN: What is Malaysia’s level of data governance* – at what stage of maturity – in terms of security, privacy, integrity?

Mullen: As Malaysia increases its adoption of digital initiatives, there are efforts to provide security measures for users. One such initiative is the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) law that was legalised in 2010 to protect an individual’s personal information for the purposes of commercial transactions.

 EITN: Should we push forward with data-driven initiatives at this rate?

Mullen: As we progress to a hyper-connected world, we will see an increased complexity as users expand their use of devices and platforms, creating a more diverse data-footprint for providers to consider.

Integrating and analysing data from users and the environment in which they live is necessary to improve the customer experience (CX) through market insight, as well as improving strategy, product development, and — critically — the ongoing sustainability of the user base and revenue.

 *Data governance (DG) refers to the overall management of the availability, usability, integrity, and security of the data employed in an enterprise. A sound data governance program includes a governing body or council, a defined set of procedures, and a plan to execute those procedures.




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