Ideas Lunch Series Alumni Online Sharing: At the Driving Seat of Digital Transformation


From small to large organizations to independent entrepreneurs, most of us are adopting some forms of digital transformation to keep our businesses and economy afloat in the COVID times. What is digital transformation; and how can businesses leverage on this? 

On July 23, BBA & MSc alumna Maria HUI, Director of Marketing and Operations at Microsoft Hong Kong, shared valuable insights and experience at the HKUST Business School Ideas Lunch Series – Alumni Online Sharing. The session was moderated by Professor Dongwon LEE from the Department of ISOM.

Maria explained the process of digital transformation as changes achieved by utilising technology. By technology, she was referring to “ABC” – artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and cloud computing. 

Before taking on her current role, Maria worked as an HR Director at Microsoft and as a management consultant beforehand. She has actively introduced data analytics to others even before the rise of machine learning. “I’m proud [that I was able] to acquire the knowledge of data analytics and have a basic understanding of how the cloud can change our lives. And with that, I was able to impose and implement that in different areas. It helped me a lot.”

Maria recounted a transformative experience as the HR Director by bringing in a chatbot function into her department to automate some repetitive HR tasks. As a result, her team was able to free up extra time and headspace to focus on core business and work on innovative solutions.

In the “new normal”, many companies in Hong Kong and abroad are adapting their infrastructure and investing in technology to support employees to work remotely, leverage data for market insight, and help leaders make better decisions by using AI to collect data and generate predictions and automate certain tasks. 

Maria provided several examples of Microsoft supporting tech-savvy brands as well as traditional manufacturing firms, on their digital transformation process to establish new infrastructure and develop additional software to support newly-emerged business demands during COVID-19.

All in all, digital transformations aren’t solely for the tech-savvy. Maria encouraged non-tech people, such as business graduates and individuals in other roles, to embrace the benefits of digital transformation with an open-minded and growth mindset. Any kind of transformation or change takes time and requires trials and errors to achieve optimal results. A successful digital transformation demands everyone in the organization to be on board – "A digital transformation is the responsibility of everyone!”

For more happenings at the HKUST Business School alumni circle, stay tuned with us here.