Applying-the-Metaverse-to-the-Enterprise
Applying the Metaverse to the Enterprise

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The Metaverse is the latest in a long line of social computing capabilities to have emerged over the past 20 years. Each of the technologies has brought with it key changes to customer and staff behaviours and influenced the portfolios of traditional corporate business systems. In the modern world, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), websites and their Content Management Systems (CMS,) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) are no longer sufficient. Forward-looking enterprises can’t ignore the need to assess the key impacts of next-generation social computing platforms as they strive to embrace a Web 3.0 presence through optimised internets, digital distribution channels and numerous online marketplaces. The Metaverse is deserving of some consideration in this assessment.

The Need for Perspective in Chaos

Attracting and retaining top talent is a key goal for any large enterprise because people drive the ultimate success of every organisation. In the more buoyant economies, more work is driving the need for more workers! Competition for resources is intense and most industries, including Government, are now experiencing the challenges inherent to a tight labour market. This in turn is continuing to fan the flames of digital and cultural transformation programs as CEOs and their leadership teams reposition for relevance.  

I recall one such transformation program in a client organisation from a few years ago. It started, as they do, with a sweeping internal review of customer relationships, service delivery performances, product portfolios, service capabilities, competitors, organisational culture, and skills. It was to spearhead a program of transformation underpinned by a new labour force, unified in its desire to meet every need of their clients. Its brave and remarkable outcome was identifying and accepting that the role of the “individual” inside the organisation would be the number one catalyst for future success in dealing with everything outside it: employee experience driving the customer experience.   

On reflection, it is not hard to see how individuals lose their way inside large organisations. Over time, as staff numbers increase to support growth in customers and projects, complexity starts to bleed across the business and into the culture. At a time when better communication and more access to information has become more important than ever, these attributes have become even harder to find. And not just any information; information that is relevant to the individual and specific to their role; that is critical to providing perspective within the chaos. Enter the Metaverse.

What is the Metaverse for an Enterprise?

The Metaverse is everything we simultaneously love and loathe about technology. But what an opportunity! The ability to reinvent. To embrace. To transform. But also, a gilded Parthenon of extraversion and Silicon Valley excess. Yet another mirror of some contrived reality. Another step away from a simpler, more wholesome time.

Let’s all calm down. When applied to the enterprise, a Metaverse is nothing more than real life in digital form. It provides a platform capable of:

  • Developing a virtual representation of an organisation, its structures, and objectives,
  • Visually representing complex concepts to allow contextual interpretation by an audience,
  • Encouraging excitement and enjoyment from experiencing old information in new ways,
  • Giving the user a sense that it’s all about them (literally placing them at the centre), and
  • Delivering an environment that provides the opportunity to integrate with existing and emerging tools.

In the context of that transformation program from many years ago, in most large organisations the information that employees need to feel valued and add value does exist but is largely inaccessible or resides in fragmented islands of data. This is because, forged through decades of compliance, the organisational view of information within companies is process-oriented. Most databases are unpopular. Most intranets are over-populated and under-utilised.

Achieving a desired cultural outcome (that recognises the individual as the number one catalyst for future success) necessitates that this process-oriented model changes to a more individual, highly contextualised, and information-driven view. Maybe even a unified collaborative data hub with a unique presentation layer. Maybe even a Metaverse!

In my next insight, I’ll share a glimpse of how life inside a Metaverse will look like for an enterprise.

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AI in Traditional Organisations: Today’s Realities

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In this Insight, guest author Anirban Mukherjee lists out the key challenges of AI adoption in traditional organisations – and how best to mitigate these challenges. “I am by no means suggesting that traditional companies avoid or delay adopting AI. That would be akin to asking a factory to keep using only steam as power, even as electrification came in during early 20th century! But organisations need to have a pragmatic strategy around what will undoubtedly be a big, but necessary, transition.”

Anirban Mukherjee, Associate Partner, Ernst & Young

After years of evangelising digital adoption, I have more of a nuanced stance today – supporting a prudent strategy, especially where the organisation’s internal capabilities/technology maturity is in question. I still see many traditional organisations burning budgets in AI adoption programs with low success rates, simply because of poor choices driven by misplaced expectations. Without going into the obvious reasons for over-exuberance (media-hype, mis-selling, FOMO, irrational valuations – the list goes on), here are few patterns that can be detected in those organisations that have succeeded getting value – and gloriously so!

Data-driven decision-making is a cultural change. Most traditional organisations have a point person/role accountable for any important decision, whose “neck is on the line”. For these organisations to change over to trusting AI decisions (with its characteristic opacity, and stochastic nature of recommendations) is often a leap too far.

Work on your change management, but more crucially, strategically choose business/process decision points (aka use-cases) to acceptably AI-enable.

Technical choice of ML modeling needs business judgement too. The more flexible non-linear models that increase prediction accuracy, invariably suffer from lower interpretability – and may be a poor choice in many business contexts. Depending upon business data volumes and accuracy, model bias-variance tradeoffs need to be made. Assessing model accuracy and its thresholds (false-positive-false-negative trade-offs) are similarly nuanced. All this implies that organisation’s domain knowledge needs to merge well with data science design. A pragmatic approach would be to not try to be cutting-edge.

Look to use proven foundational model-platforms such as those for NLP, visual analytics for first use cases. Also note that not every problem needs AI; a lot can be sorted through traditional programming (“if-then automation”) and should be. The dirty secret of the industry is that the power of a lot of products marketed as “AI-powered” is mostly traditional logic, under the hood!

In getting results from AI, most often “better data trumps better models”. Practically, this means that organisations need to spend more on data engineering effort, than on data science effort. The CDO/CIO organisation needs to build the right balance of data competencies and tools.

Get the data readiness programs started – yesterday! While the focus of data scientists is often on training an AI model, deployment of the trained model online is a whole other level of technical challenge (particularly when it comes to IT-OT and real-time integrations).

It takes time to adopt AI in traditional organisations. Building up training data and model accuracy is a slow process. Organisational changes take time – and then you have to add considerations such as data standardisation; hygiene and integration programs; and the new attention required to build capabilities in AIOps, AI adoption and governance.

Typically plan for 3 years – monitor progress and steer every 6 months. Be ready to kill “zombie” projects along the way. Train the executive team – not to code, but to understand the technology’s capabilities and limitations. This will ensure better informed buyers/consumers and help drive adoption within the organisation.

I am by no means suggesting that traditional companies avoid or delay adopting AI. That would be akin to asking a factory to keep using only steam as power, even as electrification came in during early 20th century! But organisations need to have a pragmatic strategy around what will undoubtedly be a big, but necessary, transition.

These opinions are personal (and may change with time), but definitely informed through a decade of involvement in such journeys. It is not too early for any organisation to start – results are beginning to show for those who started earlier, and we know what they got right (and wrong).

I would love to hear your views, or even engage with you on your journey!

The views and opinions mentioned in the article are personal.

Anirban Mukherjee has more than 25 years of experience in operations excellence and technology consulting across the globe, having led transformations in Energy, Engineering, and Automotive majors. Over the last decade, he has focused on Smart Manufacturing/Industry 4.0 solutions that integrate cutting-edge digital into existing operations.

The Future of AI
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How to create compelling Conversational AI
Whitepaper – How to create compelling Conversational AI

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To help companies avoid some of the more common pitfalls and understand how they can implement successful Conversational AI projects, Ecosystm and Datacom commissioned a new whitepaper that identifies the critical steps in designing effective solutions to serve customers and agents.

The whitepaper shares insights into CX leaders’ priorities and goals for AI and machine learning solutions in the ANZ region, defines the different AI options for CX from basic to advanced, and outlines eight key considerations for companies selecting a Conversational AI solution.

“How to get your Conversational AI project right” also details the key rules companies need to take to ensure they are designing effective Conversational AI solutions:

  1. Define how it fits within your organisational priorities.
  2. Listen closely to the conversations between agents and customers.
  3. Build in-depth dialogue.
  4. Create a rigorous testing process.
  5. Ensure a seamless transfer to agents and other channels at the right time.
  6. Integrate your knowledge solutions within Conversational AI.
  7. Work with design experts.
  8. Find the right AI partner.

Download the full whitepaper “How to get your Conversational AI project right” from Datacom and Ecosystm.

Get your Free Copy

(Clicking on this link will take you to the Datacom website where you can download the whitepaper)


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The Future of the Digital Workplace: The HR Perspective

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HR has the biggest role to play in shaping the employee experience that an organisation provides – and it cannot achieve this without a close alliance with the Tech/Digital Team. While this synergy is missing in most organisations, HR teams need to step up by listening to what their employees are saying. Having an understanding of how perspectives change based on employees’ demographic profiles, can help HR teams immensely.

The role of HR has evolved

The corporate challenge of managing skills shortages, employer of choice strategies, and flexible work programs have long existed. It’s just that, like most strategic imperatives, they have been optional, even for the most competitive businesses.

The Ecosystm Voice of the Employee Study highlights that the current resignation pandemic is supercharging a skills famine for many firms. But with almost all attention from the Great Resignation still focused on employee experience (EX), deep consideration must be given to efficiently and effectively navigating the extreme workload now facing internal HR functions.

Recruiting, inducting, onboarding, training, and cross-boarding new staff, while exiting and off-boarding old staff, often remotely and at high volume, will see shadow-HR technologies and practices bleed out of People and Capability departments as companies scramble to reset demand.

Regardless of industry, every company’s core business just became HR!

The need for Personalised Employee Experience

The industry has been talking about the need to create personalised customer experience (CX) for a while now – we should talk about creating personalised EX now.

Given the changes and challenges that your employees have faced over the last two years, they have developed some strong work preferences. HR has the biggest role to play in shaping the EX your organisation provides – and it cannot achieve this without a close alliance with the Tech/Digital Team.

According to the Ecosystm Voice of Employee Study, 50% of your employees believe that improved EX leads to better CX.

It may not be possible to cater to the needs of every individual employee. But taking into consideration some of the differences – whether based on role, age, gender, family status and so many other factors that make up an individual – will help you shape your organisation’s Digital Workplace strategy and offer a more personalised EX.  

Here are 5 gender differences in workplace behaviour according to the Ecosystm Voice of the Employee Study.   

  • Women are more likely to change jobs in 2022
  • The assumption that women prefer to work from home is wrong
  • More men prefer 5-Day work weeks
  • The challenges of working from home might be very different
  • Women and men have different collaboration styles

Read on for more insights.

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The Future of Industries: The Global Semiconductor Industry Disruption

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The semiconductor industry is 70-years old and has a prominent – and sometimes inconspicuous – presence in our daily lives. Many of us, however, have become more aware of the industry and the ramifications of its disruption, because of recent events. The pandemic, natural disasters, power outages, geo-political conflicts, and accelerated digital transformation have all combined to disrupt the semiconductor sector, leaving no organisation immune to the impacts of the continuing global chip crisis.

It is estimated that 200 downstream industries have failed to fulfill customer demands owing to the silicon scarcity, ranging from automotive, consumer electronics, utilities and even the supply of light fixtures.

This Ecosystm Bytes discusses the impact of the crisis and highlights major initiatives that chip manufacturers and governments are taking to combat it, including:

  • The factors leading to the shortage in the semiconductor industry
  • The impact on industry sectors such as Automotive, Consumer Electronics and MedTech
  • How leading chip makers such as TSMC, Intel and Samsung are increasing their manufacturing capabilities
  • The importance of Asia to the semiconductor industry
  • How countries such as Malaysia and India are aiming to build self-sufficiency in the industry

Read on to find out more.

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Click here to download The Future of Industries: The Global Semiconductor Industry Disruption slides as a PDF

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5 Key Insights to Shape Your Digital Workplace Strategy – An ASEAN View

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For the last two years organisations have been forced to invest on digital services for their customers and giving their employees access to the right technologies to allow them to work from home – or from anywhere they choose to. Organisations find that they have to continue to evolve – and are now looking to build a ‘Digital Workplace’ that caters to the hybrid workplace.

As organisations in ASEAN define the work model that works for their business operations, work culture and organisational goals, there are a few areas that they must focus on.

Here are 5 insights from the Ecosystm Voice of the Employee Study that will help you shape your Digital Workplace.

  • Evolve the physical workplace. 72% of knowledge workers in ASEAN will work both remotely and from the office.
  • Build a true hybrid work culture. As organisations form their Digital Workplace strategy, they will have to ensure that the workplace is as comfortable as home offices!
  • Focus on employee wellbeing. Only 25% of organisations in ASEAN have made changes to their HR policies in the last two years.
  • Invest in the right technologies. To build that resilient hybrid workplace, organisations will first have to conduct a gap analysis and consolidation of their tech investments over the last two years.
  • Continue to monitor employee behaviour patterns. As organisations work towards a ‘Return to Work’ policy, they will see significant changes in employee usage behaviour patterns. If the right cyber practices are not in place, this could leave organisations vulnerable again.

Read on for more insights

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The Future of Sustainability: Singapore’s Commitment to Green Plan 2030

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Innovation is at the core of Singapore’s ethos. The country has perfected the art of ‘structured innovation’ where pilots and proof of concepts are introduced and the successful ones scaled up by recalibrating technology, delivery systems, legislation, and business models. The country has adopted a similar approach to achieving its sustainability goals.  

The Singapore Green Plan 2030 outlines the strategies to become a sustainable nation. It is driven by five ministries: Education, National Development, Sustainability and the Environment, Trade and Industry, and Transport, and includes five key pillars: City in Nature, Sustainable Living, Energy Reset, Green Economy, and Resilient Future. We will see a slew of new programs and initiatives in green finance, sustainability, solar energy, electric vehicles (EVs), and innovation, in the next couple of years.

Singapore’s Intentions of Becoming a Green Finance Leader

Singapore is serious about becoming a world leader in green finance. The Green Bonds Programme Office was set up last year, to work with statutory boards to develop a framework along with industry and investor stakeholders. We have seen a number of sustainable finance initiatives last year, such as the National Environment Agency (NEA) collaborating with DBS to raise USD 1.23 billion from its first green bond issuance. The proceeds will fund new and ongoing sustainable waste management initiatives. Temasek collaborated with HSBC for a USD 110 million debt financing platform for sustainable projects and Sembcorp issued sustainability bonds worth USD 490 million.

Building an Ecosystm of Sustainable Organisations

Sustainability has to be a collective goal that will require governments to work with enterprises, investors and consumers. To ensure that enterprises are focusing on Sustainability, governments have to keep in mind what drives these initiatives and the challenges organisations face in achieving their goals.

There are several reasons driving organisations in Singapore to adopt sustainability goals and ESG responsibilities (Figure 1)

Key Drivers of Building a Sustainable Organisation in Singapore

It is equally important to address organisations’ challenges in building sustainability in their business processes. Last week, the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) set out 12 Sustainable Finance Technical Skills and Competencies (SF TSCs) required by people in various roles in sustainable finance. This addresses the growing demand for sustainable finance talent in Singapore; and covers knowledge areas such as climate change policy developments, natural capital, green taxonomies, carbon markets and decarbonisation strategies. There are Financial Services related competencies as well, such as sustainability risk management, sustainability reporting, sustainable investment management, and sustainable insurance and reinsurance solutions. The SF TSCs are part of the IBF Skills Framework for Financial Services.

Sustainable Resources Initiatives

Singapore is not only focused on Sustainable Finance. If we look at NEA’s Green Bonds, there are specific criteria that projects must satisfy in order to qualify, including a focus on sustainable waste management.

Last week the Government announced that the National Research Fund (NRF) will allocate around USD 160 million to drive new initiatives in water, reuse and recycling technologies, as part of the Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2025 plan (RIE2025). Part of the fund will be allocated to the Closing the Resource Loop (CTRL) initiative, administered by the NEA that will fund sustainable resource recovery solutions.  

Singapore faces severe resource constraints, and water security is not a new challenge for the country. The NRF funding will also be used partially for R&D in 3 water technology focus areas: desalination and water reuse; used water treatment; and waste reduction and resource recovery.

The Government is Leading the Way

The Government’s concerted efforts to make the Singapore Green Plan 2030 a success is seeing corporate participation in the vision. In February, Shell started supplying sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to customers such as SIA Engineering Company and the Singapore Air Force in Singapore. Shell has also upgraded their Singapore facility to blend SAF at multiple, key locations. Last week, Atlas announced their commitment to Web 3.0 technologies and “tech for good”. They aim to increase their green energy use to 75% by 2022; 90% by 2023; and 100% by 2024. ESG consciousness is percolating down from the Government.

The success of Singapore’s Sustainability strategies will depend on innovation, the Government’s ongoing commitment, and the support provided to enterprises, investors, and consumers. The Singapore Government is poised to lead from the front in building a Sustainable Ecosystem.

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The Future of the Digital Workplace: The Changing Dynamics of the Workplace – An ANZ View

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The way we work in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) is changing. In 2020 “work” went from a place you go to something you do.

Through the many restrictions in 2020 and 2021, knowledge workers in ANZ changed their work behaviours and employers changed their expectations of their employees. Tighter border controls and fast economic recoveries have swung the pendulum in the favour of employees, and “The Great Resignation” has started to play out across the region.

The Ecosystm Voice of the Employee Study aims to explore the emerging global Future of Work trends from an employee’s point-of-view. In an environment of uncertainty, this study is designed to be an ongoing, dynamic study that will be able to track the major shifts in preferences, perceptions, and practices through 2022.

Here are some insights from the study that can help businesses in ANZ develop strategies and capabilities to better serve their remote and office-based employees. 

  • The Great Resignation has begun in ANZ
  • Women are more likely to work entirely from home
  • Those working entirely from home are more likely to change jobs/careers in 2022
  • Knowledge workers in ANZ are enjoying the Work from Home model
  • Employees are looking for more flexibility and choice

Read on to find out more.

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