TECHNOLOGICAL disruption is forcing companies into the deep end, pushing them to innovate and transform their businesses fast in a bid to stay afloat and relevant in this digital age. For Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), the Malaysian national oil and gas company, the need to adapt to industrial changes is all too real.
Petronas group chief information officer Redza Goh (pic), opened up about a macro-level challenge faced by the company that is only expected to grow over time.
“While all the vehicles in the past and a majority of vehicles today still run on fossil fuels, the percentage of hybrid and electric vehicles will get bigger in the years to come.”
Being cognisant of this impending threat to its core business, Goh said Petronas has set up a New Energy unit to explore alternative energy sources albeit it being “still at infancy stage.”
When asked if acquisition of tech companies will be part of the company’s innovation strategy, Goh answered: “Definitely. In the tech space, we are playing a catch-up game with our oil and gas peers who have invested far earlier than us. If we want to grow and catch up with them organically, it will take us forever. By then, our competitors would have already gone further ahead, so we need to short cut the whole process.”
He adds, “We need to acquire startups to jumpstart the process or bypass certain levels of technology.”
While Petronas is aware of its external pain points, it has also expressed interest in developing its internal workforce. “We are trying to step up our game to improve customer experience through our business.”
He explained the Petronas FIRST campaign: “There’s no magic to it. It is just a call to action to our employees to go over and beyond what we do everyday.”
However, Goh is acutely aware of the role the upper management must play in setting the tone. As part of the C-suite himself, he believes: “Obviously it starts with me. There are many things we want to put in place but I have to lead the talk. I have to demonstrate the behaviour that puts the customer first.”
Digital transformation cannot occur solely by deploying the latest tech. It takes people with digital mindsets to truly drive a corporation forward. With this fact in mind, Goh spoke about the importance of training and talent development: “People have different perceptions of what excellent service is. Through a training programme, we bring everyone on the same page and standardise processes to bring that experience to customers.”