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Engaging people and technology to transform businesses

This year's EY Entrepreneur Of The Year winners embrace the human touch along with digital advances

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The winning entrepreneurs at this year's EOY awards are recognising the value of both technology and humans in innovation.

THE theme of this year's EY Entrepreneur Of The Year (EOY) Singapore awards - "Embracing transformation, driving innovation" - aptly reflects the business imperatives that are determining growth and success in this age of disruption.

Technological advances are increasingly redefining and augmenting the roles of humans in business. As organisations look to seize the upsides of technology, many often ask: do we need new technological capabilities or new human skills?

Faced with this polarising question, this year's EOY award winners are challenging the boundaries between the two. The truth is, businesses need innovation, and therefore, both are essential.

According to Christopher Ng, group CEO of Rigel Technology (S) Pte Ltd and EY Entrepreneur Of The Year - Sustainable Bathroom Solutions: "Technology and people should be integrated and balanced in order to nurture an effective organisation."

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Such integration must be an intentional and ongoing process. "Through continuous training, improved processes and artificial intelligence, we increase efficiency. Our employees have become the augmented engine that drives human digital engagements," says Laurent Junique, CEO of Teledirect Pte Ltd and EY Entrepreneur Of The Year - Outsourced Solutions.

Such a view is echoed across all the five EOY winners this year, whose businesses cut across both traditional and emerging industries. Von Lee Yong Miang, chairman of Expand Construction Pte Ltd, and also EY Entrepreneur Of The Year - Engineering and Construction, who operates in a typically labour-intensive industry, shares that he is constantly encouraging his people to think of innovative ways to do the manual work and to adopt technology to improve productivity.

On the other hand, technology companies are realising that being more human could be the "super power" driving success. As Jeffrey Tiong, CEO of PatSnap and EY Entrepreneur Of The Year - Analytics Intelligence believes: "Only if you have a capable team, will the rest come after. I understand that we all have our super power and kryptonite."

With the plethora of technological solutions for innovation, organisations can be paralysed by choice. This is where purpose lends a strategic focus. "Technology is meant to serve people, to help them enrich their lives," says Cheong Chia Chou, managing director of Pictureworks Pte Ltd and EY Entrepreneur Of The Year - Media and Lifestyle.

Clearly, these winning entrepreneurs, who have been selected by an independent judging panel for excelling in entrepreneurial spirit; financial performance and value creation; strategic direction; national and global impact; innovation and personal integrity and purpose-driven leadership, are recognising the value of both technology and humans in innovation.

Indeed, the best digital strategy must also be a human one.