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Digital Disruption Series: Norman Tam

Norman Tam is the Vice President, Tencent Cloud International, Cloud & Smart Industries Group at Tencent. He is a seasoned entrepreneur and executive with over 20 years of experience in product development, operation management, and startup investment in the Internet and technology sector. Since joining Tencent in 2010, Norman has been developing the international business of various areas including social networks, online advertising, digital payment, and online entertainment. Currently, as the Vice President of Tencent Cloud International, he is responsible for the overseas expansion of Tencent’s cloud computing and corporate solution business. He also serves as the Chief Executive of WeChat Pay Hong Kong Limited, which operates the WeChat Pay HK mobile payment service. Prior to Tencent, Norman has worked at Lehman Brothers, Credit Suisse, and co-founded two Internet startups on education and gaming. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Madison with a Bachelor's degree in Information System and Computer Science.
 
What are your thoughts on the digital transformation landscape?

Businesses will inevitably have to adapt to digital disruptions to strengthen capabilities in maintaining continuous and sustainable business operations, as well as to quickly adjust to evolving customer behaviours.

ABC (AI, Big Data & Cloud computing) plays a crucial role in enabling the digital transformation of various industries. Businesses that deploy digital transformation and ABC have reported enormous growth and improved productivity, as it enables them to stay relevant and to flourish within the dynamic cloud computing environment. ABC computing will ultimately be the necessity of people’s lives and a key element of sustainable development of the society.  

How is your company utilising ABC?

Tencent Cloud provides industry-leading Cloud products and services to organisations and enterprises across the world. Leveraging its robust worldwide data centre infrastructure, Tencent integrates Cloud computing, Big Data analytics, AI, Internet of Things, security, and other advanced technologies for deployments in various industry-specific scenarios, with the vision to help build smart industries. It provides holistic smart enterprise solutions for industries including financial services, education, healthcare, retail, transport, energy, and radio & television.

What real-world problems is it solving? Are there any specific projects you are currently working on?

In fact, ABC is highly relevant to and applicable in our daily lives. During the pandemic, various cloud-based digital solutions help companies maintain business operation and ensure business sustainability. These solutions include virtual or hybrid conferences, video meeting, eKYC, chatbot, etc.

Under the new normal in the education sector, we understand that schools and teachers are facing challenges that often require additional technical resources. Therefore, we have been working with a local educational technology platform, GRWTH, to launch a cloud-based video-on-demand solution for local schools in Hong Kong, supporting hundreds of primary and secondary students to continue with remote learning during the pandemic. The project won the Outstanding Education Award in 2020 and is also recognised by The Hong Kong Association for Computer Education.

Are there any success stories in leveraging these tools that you can share with us? Were there any obstacles, and how did you overcome them?

Last year, we worked with Global Tourism Economy Forum (GTEF) to support their first-ever hybrid global conference, providing global live broadcasting of the event and online business matching solutions to help travel and tourism businesses go global and stay connected across borders. In particular, we successfully helped businesses around the world register and make appointments as well as match them with potential business partners around the world via our dedicated business matching solutions despite travel restrictions globally.

The obstacles mainly lie in the geographical constraints, but the project team endeavoured to deliver excellent deliverables to the clients. Indeed, our advanced cloud-based technology allowed us to manage the project remotely and seamlessly, thus achieved successful results.

What kind of tools and/or products did you use for that? What are its pros and cons?

For this, we went with audio and video streaming solutions which are key products within our Tencent Cloud offering. Traditionally, managing a conference with audio and video streaming or broadcasting may involve very complicated processes and planning, but with the SaaS-based video solutions, conference organisers can easily implement the broadcasting activities at a lower cost.

Have you encountered any challenges in recruiting the best talent?

Yes, acquiring the best talent is always a key challenge to any business, especially within such a competitive business landscape. Sourcing, hiring and retaining top IT talent will always be a major challenge in the technology industry as skills shortages and the fast-changing landscape are two major obstacles.

That being said, candidates can also upskill themselves on this. Apart from staying up to date with newly developed technology, candidates should also leverage their daily experiences in dealing with technology and see how creative and innovative elements can be implemented to business ideas.

Are there any new opportunities within the Technology industry?

Technology enables the digital transformation of businesses, as well as the transformation of the recruitment landscape. With automation increasing efficiency and streamlining processes, resources can be reallocated to other value-add positions, in turn creating opportunities for existing staff to convert to new job functions.

For example, a chatbot may take up certain job scopes of customer service professionals such as handling simple FAQs, in turn allowing them to focus on and prioritise more complicated questions or enquiries that may require a real person’s attention. Furthermore, it also creates opportunities for them to transform themselves into frontline salespersons who have strong skills to serve clients directly.

What do you think would be the next frontier for digital transformation?

I think business automation will be one of the key areas for digital transformation, along with big data, advanced AI solutions and reliable cloud computing infrastructure, many business processes will be streamlined and automated. Getting the right talent within the fast-changing digital business world is likely to remain one of the biggest challenges to enterprises.

Posted 6 months ago

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