This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on March 24, 2017.

KUALA LUMPUR: Technology and disruption are common themes across a wide range of industries in today’s business climate, according to Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

Khazanah managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar (pic) said it is important to look at the changes in any industry driven by digitalisation as creative disruption.

“When a disruption in an industry happens, we need to look at how we can win together. Instead of looking at how many jobs will be replaced, we need to focus on the net job creation,” he said during a panel discussion on “Transforming the future of business” at the Global Transformation Forum 2017 yesterday.

He added that businesses in the future will see positive disruptions that are relevant to the society.

“If a business is not part of a solution today, it is part of the problem,” Azman said.

Azman also said beyond technology, accountability, transparency and good governance are crucial to ensure data is not being manipulated for personal agendas.

Patrick Grove, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Catcha Group, which runs iFlix, also talked about disruption and the potential that it could have in all industries.

“20 years from now, more than 50% of economic value would be attributed to digitalisation,” he said.

Grab co-founder and group CEO Anthony Tan shared more specifically on the importance of data analytics and how businesses that could monetise from massive data available and provide solutions for consumers would have an advantage.

“There will be a group of people (data scientists) that would just look at the massive data that is available, and think of ways to monetise it. I think they will be even more important than the bankers in the future,” Tan said.

Grove concurred, pointing to the importance of data analytics and said before iFlix kick-started, the company discovered the consumption of content in Malaysia was very different from that in the US. This has helped the company pivot its direction and has helped in cost savings as well.

“People in this part of the world (Southeast Asia) are not interested in watching a family drama based in the US, for example. By looking into the data that is related to the audience here, we are able to reduce our cost input,” he said.

Both Tan and Grove agreed that is analytics and machine learning will be crucial moving forward, and that the disruption from digitalisation could expand to more industries.

Tan is also of the view that the massive threat in cyberspace should be dealt with urgency and priority, adding that the data available needs to be protected.

“We need to treat cybersecurity as important as how we treat money and revenue because the impact from a cyber hack could be significant. It could even bankrupt a company,” he said.