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Digital Upskilling core to Digital Transformation
December 17, 2019 News


With most businesses well into their digital transformation journey, digital upskilling of employees is key to ensure productivity continues to grow at the desired pace. While most businesses have adopted various technologies and strategies to ensure they grow positively, there are still a lot of tasks that can be improved.

In order to understand how organisations manage productivity and challenges, Sage, the market leader in cloud business management solutions, ran a survey titled We Power the Nation – People & Production Survey. The survey covered 3,000 businesses in twelve countries including Malaysia, UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Germany, Spain, France, Brazil, South Africa and Switzerland with Malaysia the only country surveyed in Asia.

Interestingly, the findings from the survey revealed that while companies are growing digitally, there are still losses being incurred when it comes to productivity. In Malaysia, RM6.46 million is lost every hour from administration activities in Malaysia. This totals to RM56.6 billion lost from administration activities in a year.

According to Arlene Wherrett, Vice President and Managing Director, Sage Asia, the lost in productivity is mainly due to employees spending time on repetitive tasks. As technology allows more tasks to be automated, a lot of companies now realise the importance of making the most out of it, especially in completing tasks that are repetitive for employees.

This includes basic tasks like managing and processing invoices, payrolls and other related administrative work. Mundane, repetitive tasks are still aplenty in most organisations, big or small, which are most time-consuming. Once these administrative tasks are automated, employees can focus on more important tasks which in turn is a boost to productivity.

It is important to note that Malaysian companies ranked in the middle when it comes to productivity losses with Canada being the country with the least productivity loss in the survey. Businesses need to think about how they can create an environment where employees can learn new skills and improve their business. At the same time, employees themselves have to take responsibility in upskilling themselves.

Arlene pointed out that organisations need to realise that consumer activity is driving businesses, even for 5G for example. And the employee experience matters a lot. Using the examples of countries like China and Vietnam, these countries are growing fast because they are able to leap from IR2.0 to IR4.0 because they made the right investments in their digital upskilling.

So what’s keeping organisations from investing in such technologies?

According to Arlene, the biggest challenge for organisations is funding. It’s not only about how companies manage funds but also where can they access more funds, especially for SMEs. Larger corporations would end up making investments after convincing their board on productivity improvements. But for SMEs, they don’t have it that simple. As much as they want to invest in technology and improve their work output, securing the funds for this is no easy task.

Which is why Arlene said Sage is working on an initiative to help SMEs have better access to financing when it comes to upskilling their workforce. Without revealing many details on this, Arlene explained that Sage realises the struggle for SMEs and will be providing a solution for SMEs to ease their access to finance in the near future.

In fact, Sage is no stranger to Malaysia with its presence in the country for over 30 years, creating tech solutions for finance and human resources, including accounting, payroll and ERP solutions. In Malaysia, the biggest focus is on accounting solutions for small businesses such as Sage UBS. And now, SAGE hopes to help develop alliance to address funds issues for SMEs. Once SMEs have better access to funds, they can invest in more technology.

While the government continues to advocate digital upskilling and provide incentives for it, organisations need to make the most out of it. Sage can help organisations in their upskilling journey but what’s more important is for the mindset of companies to change and understand that digital upskilling for their employees is the core for a successful digital transformation.