Nazerim Amir of EY explores the vital role of artificial intelligence (AI) and customised  operating models in digital transformation  | Asian Business Review
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Nazerim Amir of EY explores the vital role of artificial intelligence (AI) and customised  operating models in digital transformation 

The operating models must facilitate quick experimentation, embrace failure, and allow for agile course corrections.

In the ever-evolving landscape of Technology, digital transformation can increase efficiency and enhance the customer experience of organizations. As agility is paramount and customer experience reigns supreme, embracing transformation is not merely an option—it's a necessity for sustained success and future growth. 

At the forefront of this transformative journey is Nazerim Amir, an accomplished leader in AI  and data solutions architecture who is currently serving as an Associate Partner at Ernst &  Young Consulting Sdn Bhd., and one of the judges for the Malaysia Technology Excellence  Awards  

With over two decades of experience spanning diverse sectors, including public services,  telecommunications, banking, and Fortune 500 companies, Nazerim brings a wealth of expertise to the table. He has spearheaded the development of various data, business, and digital strategy initiatives, positioning him as an expert in technology-driven organizational change. 

Nazerim's insights shed light on the pivotal role of AI in shaping digital strategies, emphasizing its potential to optimise business operations and elevate customer experience. He offers his perspectives on the evolution of AI, the key considerations for organizations embarking on digital transformation initiatives, and the exciting trends shaping the future of technology in Malaysia. 

How do you see the role of AI evolving in shaping digital strategies, particularly in optimising business operations and enhancing customer experiences? 

AI is already playing a vital role in industry. From control systems in manufacturing, decision support systems in healthcare, fuzzy logic controllers embedded in washing machines, to car electronic control units, AI has been crucial in updating business operations and improving customer experience. 

The next stage of digital strategy development will involve AI as a consultant, with the capacity to think, create new concepts and generate a descriptive analysis of data. Instead of using charts and graphs to guide decisions, generative AI can help reveal important insights and offer useful advice to enhance business performance. 

Generative AI will provide a more human-like interface for customers, making interactions more like dialogues than transactions. This will help us move to the next generation of services that are otherwise impersonal.

Before we embark digital strategies with AI, we need to pause and think about the ethical,  social, legal, and technical implications of any new technology. These aspects should be part of the design and execution of any digital strategy. 

In your experience, what are some key considerations organisations should keep in mind when developing IT operating models to support their digital transformation initiatives?

The starting point for digital transformation is alignment with an organisation’s vision, mission, and values. Digital transformation has the potential to enable organisations to leapfrog generations of technology.

Fundamentally, this means that the operating model for digital transformation does not emerge through an organisation’s IT division. The organization’s digital vision must be executed with intention through a digital or innovation centre of excellence (CoE). 

From my experience, it must be ensured that the CoE is not separate from the organization. The CoE must play the role of a facilitator, bringing together senior stakeholders from across the business to drive decisions, with a core team of technologists to execute the vision. The operating model must allow for quick experimentation, failure, and course corrections.

Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies have been most successful with this model, testing new digital strategies and products, and embracing success by quickly moving on to suitable innovations. 

The context for each company is, however, vastly different. An operating model which may be successful for one company may not work for another company. One commonality is the need to match the investment and risk profiles in the governance of the digital transformation initiatives. 

Can you share some trends or emerging technologies that you find particularly exciting or promising for the future of tech in Malaysia? 

Environmental, Societal, and Governance (ESG) principles have been slowly emerging as a driving force for change. With companies such as Tesla entering the market, the eye is on new and greener technologies to reduce our carbon footprint. Large enterprises will be looking to achieve net zero by 2050, with many setting ambitious targets for 2030. Technology companies would be wise to research and innovate in this area to facilitate various ESG initiatives. 

ESG is not only about greener energy but it also involves the need to improve processes and efficiency, reduce impact on society, and improve corporate governance. We're on the cusp of technological innovation that facilitates the betterment of individuals and the improvement of businesses and society.

As a judge for the Malaysia Technology Excellence Awards 2024, your expertise is invaluable in assessing the technological advancements of companies. Could you elaborate on the specific criteria you prioritise when evaluating entries? 

The entries will be judged based on three main criteria: uniqueness and innovation, effectiveness and impact, and dynamism. For me, the most important criterion is how the company plans to face the future, how it will realistically grow and adapt in its niche, and how it will maintain its dynamism when the business requires change to maintain its effectiveness and relevance.

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