One important thing that the Covid19 pandemic has shed light on is the importance of digitalisation. For many businesses, staying relevant and operationally agile during such a period will depend largely on the company’s digitalisation efforts. Hence, the pandemic has caused several companies to speed up their digitalisation journey.

According to IDC, by 2022, 70% of organisations will have accelerated the use of digital technologies to drive customer engagement, employee productivity and business resiliency. By 2025, 97% of large enterprises will use AI, and 77% of cloud applications will be powered by AI.

“Based on its post-Covid forecasts and to facilitate digital transformation further, Huawei will continue to innovate in technology, such as intelligent networks, storage, cloud, data centres and green energy. The company will also develop industry solutions such as video cloud and smart campuses,” said Nicholas Ma, CEO of Huawei International.

Ma was speaking at Huawei’s latest Singapore Ecosystem Summit 2021 held on April 29, which focused on digital transformation boosted by the pandemic. The summit was titled “Transform with Growth, Alliance for Action”. The annual event gathered 2,021 participants, including customers, channel business partners, government representatives, academics and industry experts.

Huawei Enterprise Business Group’s Asia Pacific chief technology officer, Brandon Wu, believes that corporations should focus on synergising five ICT domains, namely connectivity, computing, cloud, AI and industrial applications. “Such synergy is necessary to lower the technology barriers leading to digital transformation and enable enterprises to focus on their business directions and priorities,” he declares.

Additionally, Ma outlines Huawei’s growth in 2020, citing a global sales revenue of RMB891.4 billion ($182.8 billion), up by 3.8% y-o-y. This performance was achieved despite the company facing international challenges, including the Covid-19 pandemic. This year also marks Huawei’s 20th anniversary of being in Singapore, where it has grown to become a large localised company with over 730 employees based here.

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Business and corporate trends

In the current digital transformation era, Ma highlights three key trends within the business and corporate space: the extension of digitalisation to traditional sectors, such as education, healthcare, finance, energy, construction and transportation; the acceleration of cloud and AI use due to the pandemic; and the convergence of IT and operations technology.

To this end, Huawei has launched AI LAb, Open Lab and DigiX Lab in Singapore to support joint innovation with various industries. Representing an investment of US$40 million ($53.3 million), the Huawei DigiX Lab, which enables developers to test apps and services for mobile devices, is the first in the Asia Pacific region.

Huawei also intends to nurture its partner ecosystem in Singapore. According to Ivan Low, deputy managing director, head of sales & channel of Huawei Enterprise Business Group, the company saw a 47% y-o-y increase in its channel revenue and a 127% revenue increase by its strategic focus partners. Last year, Huawei achieved 100% channel sales, 120% growth for the number of total certifications obtained by its professional partners, and a 93% increase in the company’s Certified Service Partner programme.

“More importantly, over 80% of our top strategic partners have grown their business revenue with us — with a strong double-digit growth,” says Low.

In addition to current ICT trends and insights shared by the diverse experts and guest speakers, Huawei launched new solutions and products, such as IdeaHub, an interactive whiteboard for smart offices, to cope with the fast-changing pace of global digitalisation.

During the summit, Huawei awarded 23 business partners of the year in four categories: Solution Partners, Ecosystem Partners, Outstanding Partners, and Partners of the Year.

Government support

For its longstanding presence in Singapore and significant growth, Huawei also thanked the Singapore government for its support.

Howie Lau, Assistant Chief Executive at the Infocomm Media Development Authority, emphasises that Covid-19 is a key driver of Singapore’s digital transformation. With that, he stresses on the importance of cultivating digital talents to cope with digital transformation.

“A key challenge for most corporations, in particular SMEs, will be to find the right balance between today’s and tomorrow’s investments, how much companies should focus on today’s business while building new muscles for tomorrow,” he says.

Representing GovTech Singapore, Sharon Ng, Ministry Family CIO & Cluster Director, said during the fireside chat titled “The Role of Culture in Accelerating Digital Transformation”: “It is not the technology that innovates, it’s the people. We need to empower, amplify and unlock people’s potential. True transformation cannot occur if people are not fully invested in it, particularly when it comes to new technology. Culture and people are fundamental to achieve transformation success.”

Ng adds: “If our new digitally enabled world is going to be a better place than before, we cannot just focus on technology and ignore the humans. If you think about it, digital technology and transformation are about the fundamental changes we need in our society and organisation.”