Business value a key factor for tech adoption: Lan Kwai Fong Group
Over the last three decades, Lan Kwai Fong Group has established itself as a household name in Asia.
With extensive brands, properties and investments, the group is highly regarded as the foremost entertainment, hospitality and lifestyle brand in the region. A market leader in a host of different fields as varied as F&B, retail, leisure and entertainment, the COVID-19 pandemic came as a jolt- especially considering the fact that the Group is in an industry which involves a human touch. At the same time, businesses have to evolve and accordingly Lan Kwai Fong Group embraced digitalisation.
So, what challenges did the Group face? Did it have to spend a lot in the digitalisation journey? How complex was the process?
Addressing 1,000 plus delegates at W.Media’s Digital Week Northeast Asia edition, Vincent Alliaga, Director of Technology, Lan Kwai Fong Group outlined that it embarked on its digital journey with caution and pragmatism.
“We took a pragmatic approach and the predominant focus was the business value that it (technology) brings,” said Alliaga. For starters, the Group decided that many expensive solutions have zero impact on the business. It is impossible to find a solution that works with everything. So, we looked at tech that can easlily connect to existing systems, stated Alliaga.
He gave the example of Lan Kwai Fong Group’s CRM system. “Some databases are old – like in the F&B industry. Others such as CRM in the property industry is fairly advanced. We look at solutions that work well with each other.”
Some of Lan Kwai Fong Group’s restaurant systems were not touched for the past decade, and these are working well with its newer systems. “Changes are good but changes fr the sake of doing it, is not advisable. At the end of the day, CTOs can think of the perfect system but it has to gel with the business requirements,” pointed out Alliaga.
Lan Kwai Fong Group also decided to transform some of its systems. As an example, in August last year, in the midst of pandemic, it moved to an e-commerce model, without making large investments. It was architected in such a way that the investments and return on investments were in tune with each other.
Also, Lan Kwai Fong Group’s property development business has different flavours across different geograpahies. Also, customer experience was a key focus area, considering that it is a services industry.
Alliaga explains. “In Hong Kong, property development is done in a traditional way. Last year we had to sell remotely to buyers in Hong Kong, China. We adopted Virtual Reality (VR) and virtual visits. We ensured that it is tied to a business value and not just doing VR for the sake of VR. I can say it has helped our sales people.”
Industries that have faced biggest challenges include hospitality and in these tough times changing the culture of a business set in its ways, is often a challenge. “It is hard to tell them that you need the screen to interface with the people but ultimately it is about understanding the customer better. In the property industry it is slightly better,” summed up Alliaga.