SEAC to guide managements through disruptive digital transformation

Economy January 06, 2018 01:00

By NOPHAKHUN LIMSAMARNPHUN
THE NATION

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AFTER A 25-year career as head of a human resource consultancy, Arinya Talerngsri has ventured into new territory by opening South East Asia Centre (SEAC), a consultancy service that focuses on the management of disruptive technology.



Her new title is chief capability officer and managing director of SEAC which aims to help CEOs steer their organisations through the digital transformation process.

The business landscape has been transformed by digital and related technologies so Thai business leaders need to embrace tectonic changes resulting from the advent of multiple mega-trends.

In cooperation with US-based Stanford Centre for Professional Development, SEAC has recently launched a training programme, titled “Leading in a Disruptive World” to prepare Thai executives for the consequences of disruptive technology.

Two batches of top Thai executives from Kasikorn Bank, Krung Thai Bank, Bangkok Bank, Siam Cement Group, Minor Food, Erawan Group and AIS, among others, have participated in the programme.

Awareness of the forthcoming big changes is key to get ready for the transformation process.

For example, China, which has prospered as the world’s largest factory over the past several decades, is transforming itself. Human workers will be increasingly replaced by robots and other automation systems, allowing the world’s biggest factory to lower its prices while raising specifications and quality of its products.

Uber and Airbnb are the other examples in which the advantages and economics of platforms have superseded the need to own taxicabs or hotel rooms in the digital economy. This model can be applied and modified for other sectors.

According to Arinya, the existing corporate culture is generally not supportive of innovation which requires people to think outside the box. Therefore, leaders in the disruptive world have to change their organisation’s culture.

Secondly, a venture capitalist’s mindset is required to prosper in the digital economy whereas an entrepreneur’s mindset may not work in the disruptive world in which the traditional return on investment model is not relevant.

For venture capitalists, the keys are conviction, a sense of purpose, strong and big ideas so the whys and whats must be clear-cut before they commit to any start-ups which pitch to win capital to nurture and scale their fledging enterprises mostly without any profit in the early stages.

In other words, a venture capitalist dares to put in big money for years in a solid project whose whys and whats are crystal-clear and he or she is convinced the enterprises can be scaled to become highly profitable in the long run.

For most entrepreneurial minds, they may not want to commit to such an enterprise which does not generate profits within a relatively short time span.

For most traditional CEOs, it’s shocking to learn that disruptive technology could wreck havoc on their long-established businesses and new competitors can be unknown at this stage.

They are also unfamiliar with the venture capitalist’s mindset and still accustomed to traditional KPIs (key performance indicators) rather than the so-called milestones used in the disruptive world of business in which quarterly measurement is normal.

Design thinking is also new to most traditional CEOs but the new concept plays a leading role in the disruptive world in which solutions are sought after for unmet or even unknown needs. Last but not least, you are supposed to fail often, fail fast and fail cheap to prosper in the disruptive world.