February 20, 2014 00:00 By PICHAYA CHANGSORN
ACCENTURE, a global management and technology consultancy, plans to double the payroll in its newly formed digital business unit in Thailand to around 100 this year.
Despite Thailand’s current political uncertainty, country managing director Nontawat Poomchusri said Accenture had not yet seen visible impacts from its clients cutting their budgets.
“I can’t say that there is no impact. There is high uncertainty, and nobody knows how long it will last. But there is no clear impact [indication] yet that [clients] are reducing their investments, although everyone is extra cautious.
“At the same time, there are some positive developments such as the online channels, which have been growing remarkably,” he said.
Nontawat said Accenture Thailand had witnessed the highest growth in its Accenture Digital business unit, which was set up at the beginning of this year through combining some of its staff in management consulting, systems integration and technology business units. The highest growth is in analytics solutions, followed by cloud computing and mobility solutions.
Banking, insurance, other financial services and telecommunication are among the major users of digital technologies. Notably, the consultancy has seen high growth in demand for digital solutions from the hospitality and airline industries here.
“Because of intense competition, hoteliers and airlines have been vying to use digital tools to differentiate [their offerings], or for serving their new generation of customers, since everyone now has a smartphone and travels frequently.”
A recent Accenture survey of 1,000 senior executives across 20 countries in 12 industries found that 52 per cent expected digital technology to cause significant change or complete transformation in their industries. Four in five said that at least 30 per cent of their firms’ major business processes currently relied on digital technologies.
Still, nearly 60 per cent said they primarily used digital technology to improve process efficiencies and reduce costs, and fewer than one-third primarily to drive growth and reach new customers.
“Digital investment must shift from improving internal efficiencies alone to seizing market opportunities,” Nontawat said. “High-performance organisations are using digital technologies for proactive expansion, including for developing new products, reaching new customers, and establishing new markets and sales channels.
“And since customer understanding is important in this regard, analytics can help a lot.”
Thai companies are still in an early stage of embracing digital technologies. But the market is ripe for high growth, considering the readiness of Thai consumers and exponential growth in Internet banking, mobile banking, online shopping and other relevant indicators, he said.
“A lot of our discussions with customers involve the application of digital technologies to help their staff work with higher efficiency, to create more outcomes [improve productivity], and collaborate better, such as through using some mobility and collaboration tools.
“Many large organisations aren’t using enterprise-level tools. For example, they’re using the Line application, which has no [enterprise-level] security and can’t keep records for creating a knowledge database.”
The biggest challenge in the digital field is not the technology itself but the readiness of people who are properly trained to use it to create the desired outcomes.
“Digital is not just about technology, it is about business transformation. Judging from surveys on this topic, companies around the world have been given the first priority to their human resources. And this is where Accenture has helped our clients in many places, because we aren’t just a technology vendor. We can help companies use technology to create real outcomes,” Nontawat said.
Accenture Digital was launched globally at the start of this year, bringing together 23,000 professionals in the new business unit, which integrates the consulting firm’s digital assets, software and services across digital marketing, mobility, and analytics capabilities.
The global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company has a total of 275,000 staff serving clients in more than 120 countries.