News In Brief

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Welcome to our ‘News In Brief’ column in which we digest all the news releases for you in no more than five paragraphs. Below are snippets of all the media releases we received from Nov 6 till the end of the week.

Avanade Launches AI Services

Sydney, Nov 6: Avanade, the leading Microsoft solutions provider, has launched six Microsoft 365 Copilot services to guide organizations through their AI integration journey, from readiness to end-to-end transformation and complete integration of Microsoft 365 Copilot.
Avanade’s extensive testing of Microsoft 365 Copilot showed its own employees saving up to two hours per day within six weeks of using the tool.
Avanade is among the first to start rolling it out to clients.
Avanade’s AI-Readiness Report indicates widespread optimism around AI’s impact, with 79 percent of employees anticipating that generative AI tools like Microsoft 365 Copilot will affect up to 20 hours of their work week.
However, the report also suggests that organizations may overlook how to protect their people when adopting AI responsibly and effectively.
To aid in successful AI integration, Avanade’s services are designed to help business leaders understand the benefits of Microsoft 365 Copilot and guide them on their transformation journey.
These services cover readiness assessment, value framework alignment, information management acceleration, change enablement acceleration, transformation, and extensibility acceleration.
Russell Todd, Modern Workplace Solution Area Lead at Avanade Australia, notes that the general availability of Microsoft 365 Copilot comes at an opportune time as organizations in Australia are integrating AI across the business to improve productivity and employee wellbeing.
Avanade has already engaged with over 70 clients globally, including several financial services and resources industries clients in Australia, to explore the value of Microsoft 365 Copilot and is actively working with over a dozen clients on rolling it out.

Alibaba Cloud and Salesforce Partner

Kuala Lumpur, Nov 6: Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence arm of Alibaba Group, is set to make Salesforce Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and Salesforce Platform available on its platform starting December 18, 2023.
This move aims to assist businesses, especially multinational enterprises operating in mainland China, in adapting to evolving market demands, complying with data residency regulations, and integrating with the local app ecosystem.
Sales Cloud will empower sales teams to enhance lead generation, customer relationship management, sales tracking, and automation, thereby boosting revenue.
Service Cloud will transform customer service, delivering value across customer interactions through a range of services and applications. Salesforce Platform is a low-code application development platform designed to extend CRM capabilities and enhance workflow efficiency.
Sales Cloud and Service Cloud hosted on Alibaba Cloud will offer exclusive features tailored to mainland China, including integrations with popular Chinese social media and messaging platforms, enabling businesses to serve customers via their preferred channels.
The partnership between Alibaba Cloud and Salesforce demonstrates their commitment to supporting customers within the Salesforce ecosystem in mainland China. Early adopters, including multinational companies in various industries such as education, luxury, life sciences, and professional services, have already begun deploying Salesforce on Alibaba Cloud. Education First (EF), a leader in international education, is one such early adopter. In addition to using Salesforce on Alibaba Cloud, EF will leverage Alibaba Cloud’s infrastructure and data analytics tools to enhance operational efficiency and customer experience in China.
The collaboration between Alibaba Cloud and Salesforce began in 2019, and they have since introduced products like Salesforce Social Commerce, designed to assist multinational brands in expanding their operations in China. This latest development reinforces their commitment to driving customer success in the region.

UOB Malaysia Advances Digital Banking for SMEs

UOB Malaysia develops an all-in-one digital banking app to meet SMEs’ needs for operational efficiency, and growth opportunities.

Kuala Lumpur, Nov 6: UOB Malaysia has been a steadfast partner to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for over seven decades. In its continuous journey of support, the bank introduces a comprehensive digital banking app designed to cater to the diverse needs of SMEs, enhancing their operational efficiency and growth opportunities.
The UOB SME app, launched in October 2022, offers a holistic approach to digital banking. It combines banking solutions, data analytics, and business insights into a unified platform. SMEs can manage various domestic and cross-border banking activities, from checking accounts across multiple markets to executing local and international payments, all within a single dashboard using UOB Infinity. The interactive dashboard provides real-time cash flow data and quick shortcuts for various transactions, offering a convenient and streamlined financial management experience.
Additionally, the app delivers data-driven insights, tailoring solutions based on six-month cash flow data analysis. It also allows for seamless integration with accounting solutions and offers live foreign currency exchange rates for those involved in foreign currency transactions. The SME Hub within the app provides SMEs with valuable resources, including business tips, informative articles, and industry-specific events.
Since its launch, the UOB SME app has gained significant traction, with 42 percent of UOB Malaysia’s Business Banking customers adopting the platform. Approximately 20 percent of these users now rely on the app as their primary channel for transactions. On-the-go SME banking transactions have surged by 15.2 percent from January to May 2023, and the SME Hub continues to be a valuable resource with an average of about 300 monthly views. In recognition of its commitment to delivering comprehensive digital experiences, UOB Malaysia received the Malaysia Digital Experience of the Year – Financial Services award at the esteemed Asian Experience Awards 2023.
The bank’s efforts underline its dedication to providing meaningful, value-added services to customers and helping SMEs adapt to the evolving digital landscape in Malaysia.

Hektar REIT Clinches Two Gold Awards

L-R: GM, Legal, Martin Chen Kuok Yeow; GM, Business Development & Strategy, Nor Sabrina binti Halim; ED & CEO, Johari Shukri bin Jamil; Senior GM, Finance, Lim Kek Siang; Assistant Manager, and Investor Relations, ESG & Special Projects, Muhammad Bakhtiar Ul Haq of Hektar REIT.

Kuala Lumpur, Nov 7: Hektar Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) was honored with two Gold Awards at The Edge Malaysia ESG Awards 2023.
These awards underscore Hektar REIT’s dedication to exemplary Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices.
The recognition took place during a gala event in Kuala Lumpur, emphasizing the company’s ongoing commitment to sustainability and stakeholder value.
Hektar REIT continues to integrate ESG principles throughout its business operations, marking a significant milestone in its sustainability journey.

Malaysian Genomics Innovation Collaboration

Kuala Lumpur, Nov 8: Malaysian Genomics joins forces with Ant Group Digital Technologies to integrate blockchain traceability with biopharmaceutical expertise, promising to enhance product authenticity and excellence.
The collaboration will leverage Ant Group Digital Technologies’ innovative traceability solutions for healthcare and beyond, aiming to redefine the intersection of technology and healthcare.
As part of this partnership, the organizations recently met with Ahmad Fahmi Mohamed Fadzil, Malaysia’s Minister of Communications and Digital Malaysia, to discuss contributions to the digitalization of the healthcare industry.

H3C Launches Academy

Kuala Lumpur, Nov 8: H3C has partnered with Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) to launch the H3C Academy in Malaysia. This initiative provides training and certifications in computer network design, targeting small and medium-sized enterprise networks.
The curriculum covers various areas, including network fundamentals, routing, security, wireless technologies, cybersecurity, and the Internet of Things.
The partnership aims to address the growing demand for skilled computer networking professionals in the rapidly expanding digital landscape and prepare students and professionals to meet the evolving demands of the digital world.
Rockies Ma, Managing Director of H3C Malaysia, expressed their commitment to fostering innovation and empowering students to shape Malaysia’s digital growth.
YBhg. Prof. Datuk Dr. Md. Amin Md. Taff, Vice Chancellor of UPSI, highlighted the importance of equipping students with essential digital skills, aligning with their dedication to nurturing competent digital talents.

MR D.I.Y. Unveils Year-End Sale

Kuala Lumpur, Nov 8: MR D.I.Y. Group [M] Berhad is set to brighten up the year-end with its ‘MR D.I.Y. Year-End Sale.’
This event, which began in November, offers discounts of up to 30 percent on 150 essential products.
Shoppers can enjoy savings on items ranging from hardware and household essentials to sports equipment and food products.
Alex Goh, Head of Marketing at MR D.I.Y., shared, “At MR D.I.Y., we aim to bring joy to every Malaysian this year-end through our Year-End Sale, ensuring there’s something for everyone at ‘Always Low Prices.'”
The sale features enticing discounts on selected products like the PREMIER Kitchen Towel (6 pcs) at RM12.90 each, DETTOL Multi-Surface Cleaner Assorted (1.5L + 500ml – Lavender/Lemon) at RM14.90 each, and a 5-meter trailing socket at RM28.90 each.
This sale is MR D.I.Y.’s way of enhancing the shopping experience and providing unbeatable savings to Malaysians.
It’s an opportunity for shoppers to prepare for the holidays while enjoying substantial discounts.
Don’t miss out on this chance to make your year-end shopping both delightful and budget-friendly.

Altus Group Expands Global Presence with Forbury Acquisition

Sydney, Nov 9: Altus Group Limited (TSX: AIF), a prominent provider of asset and fund intelligence for commercial real estate (CRE), has officially inked a definitive agreement to acquire Forbury Property Valuation Solutions Limited (“Forbury”), a leading CRE valuation software provider specializing in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region.
Forbury, known for its cloud-based solutions, offers tailored valuation tools designed for the APAC market. These tools empower users to make well-informed decisions regarding the optimal times to refinance, refurbish, reposition, or divest their CRE assets. With over a decade of trust in the market across various asset classes, Forbury’s flagship product, Forbury Commercial, has become a staple for commercial property valuation in the APAC region.
Gordon Richardson, President of Altus’ APAC Analytics division, expressed enthusiasm about the strategic move, stating, “The addition of Forbury’s widely adopted valuation solution bolsters Altus’ global valuation offer in our growing APAC region. With this acquisition, we are solidifying our strategic commitment to Australia and the broader APAC region, addressing a variety of customer requirements through market-specific valuation capabilities. We’re looking forward to joining forces with Forbury’s 34 employees to enhance the value we bring to clients.”
Steve Surridge, the founder of Forbury, shared his excitement about the milestone, stating, “This is an exciting milestone for Forbury and our team. With a global valuation platform, Altus is ideally suited and well-resourced to help accelerate Forbury’s growth and build on our success. Forbury’s valuation tools will be a strong complement to Altus’ existing APAC-focused offers for CRE investors, developers, lenders, proprietors, and advisors.”
The transaction is slated to conclude on or about Dec 1.
This acquisition marks a significant step for Altus Group as it further strengthens its foothold in the APAC region, demonstrating a commitment to providing enhanced services and solutions to its clientele.

Samaiden’s Green Triumph

Petaling Jaya, Nov 9: Renewable energy specialist, Samaiden Group Berhad, celebrates a significant victory in the latest Corporate Green Power Programme (CGPP) by the Energy Commission (EC). Samaiden’s subsidiary, Samaiden Sdn. Bhd. clinched an individual export capacity of 13.42 MWac and, in partnership with Premier Supreme Sdn. Bhd., secured an additional 29.90 MWac, bringing their total capacity to an impressive 43.32 MWac.
The EC’s stringent selection process chose Samaiden as one of the 10 successful candidates out of 46 applicants in the second batch of awardees. This recognition not only highlights Samaiden’s competitive edge but also emphasizes its contribution to Malaysia’s renewable energy targets.
Ir. Chow Pui Hee, Group Managing Director of Samaiden, expressed her honor and excitement for the project, stating, “This selection is a testament to our team’s unwavering dedication and technical excellence in the field of renewable energy. We are excited to channel our expertise into this project and set a precedent for sustainable practices in the industry.”
As the CGPP progresses, Samaiden gears up to commence operations with a targeted commercial operation date set for 2025. This achievement not only aligns with Samaiden’s vision for a sustainable future but also reflects Malaysia’s commitment to combatting climate change and promoting the use of green energy.

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