Hau L Lee
Hau L Lee

Developing human capabilities will help firms prepare for digital disruptions, say experts

Corporate October 04, 2018 01:00


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YOU NEED strong human capabilities to be able to make use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). It is only when the two are combined together can progress and productivity be maximised, said Hau L Lee, The Thoma Professor of Operations, Information and Technology, Stanford Graduate School of Business, yesterday at the Academy for Thais Seminar.

The seminar was hosted by the Advanced Info Service plc (AIS) in cooperation with Minor International Pcl, the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET), Kasikornbank, Muang Thai Life Assurance Public Company Limited, Southeast Asia Centre (SEAC), Standford and MIT. The seminar aims to raise awareness of digital disruptions in the business landscape and discuss ways different companies can prepare and cope with this issue. 

 “This is because humans can see at a strategic level. We have the unique ability to critically interpret data given to us by AI and make the next strategic move,” he explains. 

 “For example, 7-Eleven is the number one store in Japan selling pantyhose, and most of them are sold at night to Japanese men,” he continues, “this is because Japanese women often ask their husbands to buy pantyhose from 7-Eleven when they are on their way back from work.”

 From this piece of data, 7-Eleven started to sell pantyhose beside beers in 7-Eleven convenient stores. As a result, the beer sales in Japan grew, according to Hau.

 Hence, this case demonstrates that with data alone, productivity will not grow. 

Instead, we also need to develop human capabilities in data analytics in order to interpret data and increase productivity by making strategic decisions, he says. 

 “There are many cases where companies implement technology blindly without accessing what benefits it will bring. This has led to an increase in cost with no significant increase in productivity or revenue,” added Sara Lamsam, president and chief executive officer, Muang Thai Life Assurance Public Company Limited.

 “You cannot separate technology and the people element. Ultimately, you need people to connect new technologies to the customers,” concurs Patamawalai Ratanapol, chief people officer, Minor International PCL. 

 “When we are introducing new technologies, we must also help Thai people develop the knowledge, skill and awareness of these technologies through events suc h as today’s seminar, so that they can understand and benefit from using technologies,” says Kantima Lerlertyttitham, chief human resources officer, AIS.

 “For example, if everyone in Thailand uses mobile banking services, we can save up to Bt 900 million in the next 5 years,” she claims.