SME Featured Southeast Asia

Maybank launches SME-centric business banking app to aid in digital transformation

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Malaysia’s banking group Maybank has launched its newest business banking app ‘Maybank2u Biz’ which aids SMEs in their digital transformation journey, specifically in their business banking needs.

Said app was developed to cater to the needs of busy business owners, who are always on the go and managing multiple tasks. It is suitable for partnerships, private limited companies, professional firms, educational institutions, clubs, society and associations.

Some of the features include the ‘Maker-Checker’ authorization process for transactions have also been simplified for efficient on-the-go approving without compromising on transparency; and the ‘invoicing tool’ which allows business owners to create, issue, and track invoices, as well can be customized using ready-to-use templates, and sent out to their customers via various communication channels such as email and chat messaging applications on their mobile devices.

“Running a business is very complex and it is even more challenging during these extraordinary circumstances. Hence, we have designed Maybank2u Biz to be more than just a banking application, but a business companion that will help ease SMEs’ burden and empower them to drive their businesses forward. We have made it simple, because entrepreneurs should be spending more time making strategic decisions instead of managing daily operations,” said Datuk Abdul Farid Alias, group president and chief executive officer.

He also added that they believe in the power of information and have made key financial data easy to access and understand for the SMEs, further stating that client SMEs can get a full view of their accounts in Maybank on the dashboard of the application, which allows them to make quick assessments of the business’ financial health at a glance. 

“At the same time, they are also able to download a year’s worth of cash flow data in spreadsheet format (CSV) on-demand, without having to wait for the traditional month-end statements. With the information, business owners can now plan ahead, make better decisions, or even spot potential red flags in their cash flow early. As with all Maybank digital solutions, security is paramount to us. We have introduced Secure2u to Maybank2u Biz to safeguard their transactions and give them peace of mind,” Datuk Farid added.

The app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store and Apple AppStore today. 

Existing Maybank business customers can just download the application and log in with their Maybank2u Biz ID and password to start using it immediately and seamlessly, with the data from all their Maybank accounts automatically made available in the new application. 

For non-Maybank customers, they can open a Maybank business account online via Maybank2u, with only a single trip to the branch to activate the account. Once activated, they may start using the application, and have access to all the banking features and business tools within.

“The launch of Maybank2u Biz reaffirms Maybank’s commitment to support SMEs. With its intuitive interface, easy navigation, and useful business tools, we believe Maybank2u Biz will be well received by SMEs, as Maybank currently serves 58% of the SMEs in Malaysia. This is just the first phase of the application; we will continue to enhance it and bring in more features that will help SMEs power up their businesses,” he concluded.

Technology Featured APAC

Sitecore appoints new VP for Asia in quest of CX, digital transformation expansion

Singapore – In its continuing expansion in Asia for its customer experience (CX) and digital transformation strategies, digital experience management software Sitecore has appointed cloud and IT executive Saurabh Pandit as its newest vice president for Asia.

The appointment of Pandit strengthens Sitecore’s presence in the market and is part of the company’s ambitions to grow aggressively in the wake of the US$1.2b funding secured in January. His new role will include India, Southeast Asia, and the Greater China region.

Prior to his new role, he was formerly regional director for JAPAC at marketing automation provider Resulticks, as well as head of IBM Watson Customer Engagement across the ASEAN region, and has held senior digital marketing alliance roles at Adobe. 

Before moving to Singapore, Pandit held cloud management roles at Adobe and Microsoft in India.

“Sitecore has a plan to provide business with marketing cloud technologies that transform the way they operate, and I am excited to be part of that. My expertise is in technical transformation and change and bringing the benefits of IT and digital to enterprise and mid-market customers,” Pandit said, regarding his appointment.

Pandit will report to Sitecore’s Asia-Pacific and Japan President Mark Troselj. He brings more than twenty years of business and executive management experience.

“Saurabh Pandit has the proven leadership and experience in driving digital transformation and customer experience innovation to support Sitecore’s growth in the Asian region. Companies across the region are looking for counsel and guidance in meeting the challenges of becoming a digital-first organization, and Saurabh delivers that experience,” Troselj commented.

Technology Featured APAC

BPI’s digital enabler Mobiquity expands to APAC

Sydney, Australia – Mobiquity, a digital transformation enabler that has helped clients digitize their services such as those of Philippine banking institution BPI, has announced that it will be expanding its services across the Asia Pacific region.

The expansion of Mobiquity’s service offering into APAC is supported by its existing client base in banking and financial services. The company has recently received a Global Banking and Finance Award for its work with the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) – creating a digital banking experience for the bank’s online and mobile platforms.

As part of its APAC expansion, it has also appointed former Microsoft and IBM director, Gustavo Quiroga, as vice president of business development financial services at APAC.

Quiroga will be responsible for strengthening Mobiquity’s global footprint, working with customers across Australia, Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines. He has managed and developed technology, business and customer experience projects from his industry experience from IBM and Microsoft.

“I’m delighted to join Mobiquity and support the company’s rapid expansion across the Asia-Pacific region. I joined Mobiquity to develop, design, and implement digital products and services that create meaningful experiences with customers. Giving customers a ‘Wow’ moment is what drives me, and I look forward to using my expertise to develop partnerships where we can achieve this every day,” he said, regarding his appointment.

Meanwhile, Matthew Williamson, vice president of global financial services at Mobiquity, commented that their appointment of Quiroga demonstrates Mobiquity’s commitment to hiring an ‘A-list’ team of talent that have far-reaching industry expertise.

“Over the last 6 months, we’ve hired over 100 people, including the recent high profile appointments of Howard Moore, senior director of digital banking and Ruby Walia, senior advisor for digital banking for North America. The latest addition to the Mobiquity team supports our vision of global growth in Asia-Pacific, as a recognized partner within the banking and finance ecosystem,” he stated.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

AIA Group’s Philam Life ramps up digitization through Lemnisk team-up

Manila, Philippines – Philam Life, the Philippines-based insurance company by multinational insurance and finance firm AIA Group, has partnered with India’s growth marketing platform Lemnisk, to implement a Customer Data Platform (CDP), aiming to deliver an orchestrated and personalized customer experience.

Lemnisk provides CDP-led personalization and real-time marketing automation solutions that deliver customer experiences that aim to bring increased conversions, retention, and growth for enterprises.

During the pilot engagement, Lemnisk will be collaborating to amplify Philam Life’s digital leads funnel and increase existing customer engagement on its digital properties.

According to Philam Life’s CMO Leo Tan, the insurance company is at an exciting time where the pandemic has pushed them to fast track the development of their digital capabilities. 

“Piloting a CDP is the first step towards a more customer-centric approach in lead generation and we are excited to welcome Lemnisk onboard as we collaboratively create a more relevant and stronger leads management program that will benefit potential customers,” said Tan.

Meanwhile, Subra Krishnan, the CEO of Lemnisk, commented that they are immensely excited at the opportunity to partner with Philam Life in its journey to create an engine for phenomenal customer experience and amplify its business objectives. 

“The pandemic has mandated a strong data strategy foundational to long-term customer value and the way brands like AIA Philam Life have responded truly sets them apart. We look forward to innovating together and exploring valuable use cases,” said Krishnan.

Technology Featured APAC

Global media agency Essence launches pro bono initiative for APAC non-profits

Singapore – Essence, a global data and measurement-driven media agency, has announced the launch of Essence Impact, a pro bono initiative that helps non-profit organizations raise greater awareness, attract more donations and recruit new volunteers via their websites to support their causes and effect accelerated change.

Essence Impact was launched in the mid of the COVID-19 pandemic to aid non-profit organizations in their digital transformation, as many historically depended on tentpole physical fundraising events for their operational needs.

Included in the initiative is eligibility for charities for Google Ad Grants which provides up to US$10,000 per month of in-kind search advertising. The agency will also help the organizations in setting up, managing, and optimizing their advertising campaigns to drive traffic to their websites. The Essence team comprises diverse employees who volunteer and contribute to the initiative in roles including business development, client services, marketing, media activation and project management.

(Left) Matt Holland, Associate Vice President, Client Services, APAC at Essence; (Right) Monica Bhatia, Senior Vice President, Client Partner, APAC and Managing Director, Singapore at Essence

For Monica Bhatia, senior vice President and client partner for APAC and managing director for Singapore at Essence, they believe in using their abilities for social good and that we have a responsibility to make the world a better place, which falls under Essence’s mission to make brands more valuable to the world.

“With Google Ad Grants and Essence Impact, we are delighted to help non-profits transform and accelerate their efforts in the pandemic and beyond, while providing our teams with opportunities to learn new skills and give back to society,” Bhatia stated.

Meanwhile, Matt Holland, associate vice president of client services for APAC at Essence, who leads Essence Impact in the region, said, “It has been challenging times for charities amid COVID-19 and its resulting lockdown restrictions, as the organizations have not been able to carry out their usual fundraising events. Essence Impact is supporting charities to help drive increased awareness, donors and volunteers online, as the organizations pivot their activities to be more digitally-led.”

Essence aims to roll out Essence Impact across APAC and globally via its network of offices.

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

SEGi College Subang Jaya taps elfo to amp up digital transformation strategies

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Malaysian higher education institution SEGi College Subang Jaya has tapped digital solutions provider elfo to improve the institution’s digital transformation strategies by being its corporate partner for integrated performance-based marketing and automation.

Included in the partnership is the utilization of elfo’s marketing automation platform elfoMAP and its application-to-person messaging platform elfoA2P, which have been used by SEGi’s marketing and recruitment division for its email and SMS campaigns for the past four months.

Sri Yosephin, head at elfo, believes that leveraging digital technology is crucial for the higher education sector, to ensure the sustainability of enrolment strategies and student retention.

“Our user-centered solutions will help simplify redundant administrative processes and provide real-time, comprehensive data such as open rate and click-through rate. These key metrics allow SEGi College Subang Jaya to model student retention and apply that model to forecast successful enrollment,” Yosephin stated.

Calvin Chan, acting principal at SEGi College Subang Jaya, agrees as well, stating that it is important for the institution to position themselves as an industry-driven higher learning institution, moving towards Industrial Revolution 4.0, which is in line with Malaysia’s nation building agenda.

“Working closely with a MAdTech expert like elfo helps us make our necessary technological shifts seamless and enables us to focus more on the college’s recruitment needs and serving our students. The straightforward onboarding process and reliable professional support are definitely convenient, cutting short our learning curve and making the integration effortless,” Chan explained.

In addition, Li Chun Young, digital marketing lead at SEGi College Subang Jaya, also noted that two of the email campaigns optimized by elfoMAP had seen a promising return. Scholarship-offer emails sent to potential students had a 90% open rate and emails sent to Australian recruitment agencies had a 30% open rate. On top of that, the college also saw a 100% increase in conversion from the email campaigns

“This is impressive considering the average open rate is only 24.9% for the education-related campaigns. These numbers and responses are unlike what we’ve seen prior to our partnership with elfo,” Young said.

SME Featured South Asia

Amazon Web Services launches digital suite for Indian SMBs

New Delhi, India – Amazon Web Services, the IT service management unit of e-commerce giant Amazon, has announced a new digital suite called Amazon Digital Suite, targeted to improve digital transformation strategies among small and medium businesses (SMBs) in India.

The Amazon Digital Suite comprises payment and credit solutions from Razorpay; customer support and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions from Freshworks; human resources and payroll management solutions from greytHR; tax compliance and invoicing solutions from ClearTax; accounting and productivity solutions from Zoho; e-commerce and retail order management solutions from Vinculum; and digital ledger and online cataloging solutions from OkCredit.

Prices of the products that are part of the Amazon Digital Suite available on begin at INR 20, and all Amazon Digital Suite software can be purchased individually with discounts of up to 75% off the suggested retail prices. The offering is designed to be easy to use, with customers being able to implement it in a few simple steps.

The launch of the Amazon Digital Suite is part of the company’s goal to digitize 10 million Indian SMBs by 2025, announced in January 2020.

“We want to ensure the power of the cloud is within the reach of SMBs, and we have built a solution that is simple to understand and deploy, and accessible to new customers. With the Amazon Digital Suite, SMBs can overcome the challenges of technology adoption, digitize their operations, innovate in their business, accelerate their growth, and help India prosper,” said Puneet Chandok, president of commercial sales of Amazon Internet Services Private Limited (AISPL) at AWS India and South Asia.

Meanwhile, Vedanarayanan Vedantham, head of SME business at Razorpay commented, “Digital payments in India are at an interesting and exciting inflection point. Small businesses, now more than ever, are waking up to the possibilities offered by digital, and need help assembling this puzzle. 

He added, “Today, we are excited to take this mission of serving the underserved SMBs further through this collaboration with AWS. The launch of the Amazon Digital Suite will be a game changer; it will empower millions of SMBs of any size, and make it possible for them to reach new customers around the world.”

The Amazon Digital Suite is available for purchase on and for both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) customers respectively. B2B customers purchasing products from the suite using their Amazon Business Account will receive exclusive offers and a goods and services tax (GST) invoice for input tax credit. Customers purchasing the Amazon Digital Suite during Amazon Smbhav 2021, a virtual summit catered at leveraging digital strategies and innovations to Indian customers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses, from April 15-23 will be eligible for discounts of up to 30% in the Amazon Digital Suite store.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

PH airline Cebu Pacific doubles down on self-served customer experience, drops call center

Manila, Philippines – Cebu Pacific, one of the largest airlines in the Philippines, has announced that it will now be discontinuing its CEB PH call center, starting 1 May 2021, to make way for a more contactless and self-service customer experience. 

According to the airline, the move to drop the hotlines is in line with its mission to speed up its digital transformation and to further accelerate the improvement of its overall customer experience.

Cebu Pacific has taken great strides in its customer service in the past recent years in specific touchpoints such as online booking, check-ins, booking management, and Charlie the chatbot.

In 2017, it was among the first airlines in Asia to invest in an integrated facility and technology for social intelligence and customer engagement. Then the year after, Cebu Pacific introduced its very own Charlie the chatbot which enabled passengers to receive real-time answers to common queries and transactions, and since then, Charlie has been continuously improved and is now able to respond to more queries, without the passengers having to talk to an agent.

The airline shared that by the first quarter of 2021, it has noted a total of 87% of passengers maximizing the Cebu Pacific website to directly book flights. 

Candice Iyog, the vice president for marketing and customer experience of Cebu Pacific, said that the company is glad to have started its digital transformation journey even before the pandemic, as they have come to rely on it in the new normal environment. 

“We continue to prioritize the safety and convenience of our passengers, that is why we have accelerated our digital efforts to support contactless and self-service processes. Rest assured Charlie, along with our Customer Care team, are online 24/7 to assist everyJuan. We continue to enhance existing processes as we remain committed to empowering customers and ensuring access to the information they need anytime, anywhere, without having to call the hotline or go to a ticketing office,” said Iyog. 

SME Featured South Asia

Amazon India to host ‘Smbhav’ virtual summit this April

Bangalore, India – The Indian arm of e-commerce giant Amazon is once again hosting for the second time its ‘Amazon Smbhav’ summit on April 15 to 18, 2021, aimed at leveraging digital strategies and innovations to Indian customers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses.

‘Smbhav 2021’ aims to bring together important industry and thought leaders for invigorating discussions on the way ahead towards creating an ‘AatmaNirbharBharat’, the vision by the Indian government to be self-sufficient, by unlocking possibilities for businesses and entrepreneurs through partnership with Amazon.

Centered around the theme ‘Unlocking Infinite Possibilities for India’, the four-day summit will tackle various industries, ranging from manufacturing, retail, logistics, IT/ITeS, content creators, start-ups, brands, and entrepreneurs across India. Over 30,000 participants are expected to participate at Amazon Smbhav, learning about best practices and industry trends from over 70 speakers.

For Manish Tiwary, vice president for Amazon India, ‘Smbhav 2021’ showcases Amazon India’s commitment to “being a strong partner in making the 21st century the Indian century.”

“As we continue to work with a gamut of Indian businesses and entrepreneurs, we are committed to bringing to them tools, technology, and innovation that empower the Indian economy, help create jobs at scale, and unleash entrepreneurial agility in companies of all kinds and sizes. Smbhav 2021 will therefore be a unique platform offering opportunities to unlock these possibilities towards an ‘AatmaNirbharBharat’,” Tiwary said.

During the last Smbhav 2020, Amazon pledged to invest an additional US$1B to digitize 10 million MSMEs, to generate US$10B in cumulated exports from India, and create an additional 1 million jobs in India by 2025.

The summit will primarily focus on four key pillars – Innovation, Skilling & Job Creation, Digitization, Exports & Startup Enablement. The summit will bring together diverse perspectives from eminent business leaders, policymakers, solution providers, and Amazon leadership on areas that are most relevant for India’s growth. 

Other summit events that will be included are ‘Amazon Smbhav Awards’ that recognizes businesses, innovators, and individuals that have contributed to the concept of ‘self-reliant India’, and the ‘Amazon Smbhav Startup Pitch Competition’, where participants must pitch feasible startup pitches and get a chance to win Amazon-related cash prizes and mentorships. 

The event will also be conducting an ‘Amazon Smbhav Hackathon’ that will provide an opportunity for individuals and startups to present breakthrough ideas that have the potential to solve real-world problems in the areas of business innovation, sustainability & healthcare.

Technology Featured ANZ

Adtech Cartelux pilots new marketing solution with Kia Australia

Sydney, Australia – Australian-based adtech company Cartelux has launched its centralized marketing solution, and it has decided to pilot it to the Australian arm of global automotive brand Kia, specifically in its dealer’s network.

Through the solution, Cartelux’s technology will assist Kia in driving local innovation by simplifying and automating ad creation, approval, and media buying process. This then enables dynamic personalization of creative assets by each dealer, while delivering a consistent brand campaign for Kia. 

For Nikolas Souliotis, digital marketing manager at Kia Australia, their partnership with Cartelux means achieving success in the digital age between the brand itself and its numerous dealers nationwide.

“The Cartelux platform offers an entirely new playground allowing better marketing alignment across national and local tiers through scalable video and data consolidation. This enables us to see consumers through the same lens and drive better results and greater efficiencies – it’s the future of performance-driven retail marketing,” Souliotis said.

Meanwhile, Randy Han, global lead for Kia at Google noted that Kia’s partnership with Cartelux means creating more engaging video content for the automotive brand, as Kia has been looking for simple ways to create dealer ad content at scale.

Patrick Doble, global general manager at Cartelux, commented, “Kia is one of the world’s most innovative and fastest growing brands. The program for Kia will commence with providing digital video advertising, which geo-targets campaigns based on the dealers primary marketing area.”