The era of digital technology has been the catalyst for transformation in all business sectors to a new landscape. Disruptive technology has triggered challenges to businesses in renewing their work processes, management practices, communications, and customer relationships. Today’s businesses can no longer rely on traditional and silo business processes. Businesses need to respond immediately in an innovative way to align their positions with the emergence of digital technology. Automation technology, Internet of Things (IoT), Business Intelligence (BI), Blockchain and co-creation based technology need to be applied to provide effective business process. In addition, the use of smarter supply chain technology is also a necessity for businesses to promote better collaboration with business partners. In improving customer service, businesses need to provide 24/7 services and immediate feedback to their customer. In this, AI smart self-service technologies such as voicebots and chatbots can be employed to provide a better customer experience to create changes in customer behaviour.

According to through its Job Outlook 2019 report, most employers are undergoing digital transformation to upgrade their business in a more innovative way. The focus of digital transformation by most employers is the use of big data, promoting the customer experience through IT, and digital marketing. Despite this development, businesses face the challenge of finding highly skilled digital employees with diverse competencies. Therefore, it is the responsibility of institutions of higher learning to provide the right learning content in building highly skilled and inclusive employees. Previously, universities have seen entrepreneurship as an important aspect to be applied to their graduates by providing entrepreneurship modules that must be taken by all students. Today, once again universities need to strengthen their students’ ability in mastering knowledge related to digital technology to meet the changes in the employment sector.


In responding to this development, several international bodies that are often referred by many universities in formulating program curricula, such as The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), The Association for Information Systems (AIS) and The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) have suggested several reforms that universities need to make to adapt graduates to this digital era. The ACM/AIS 2020 report on the competency model of undergraduate students was made due to the ubiquitous proliferation of digital technologies throughout society and businesses. The report suggests the need for trans-disciplinary programs that incorporate emerging digital technology content such as IoT, AI, blockchain, data analytic and visualization so that students remain relevant to industry needs. In addition, AACSB through its 2020 Business School Data Guide report, emphasizes the importance of including data analytics and e-business topics, such as digital marketing, customer relationships and supply chain management, in the programs offered.

In general, universities need to remain relevant in designing the curriculum to be in line with the digital development of technology in today’s world. The development of holistic talent and diversity related to digital knowledge will add value to them in seizing employment opportunities. The appropriateness of offering relevant programs will create a win-win-win situation for universities, industries and talent.

About the authors:

Dr Halina Mohamad Dahlan and AP. Dr Abdul Razak Che Hussin are our research experts in Information Systems, particulary in decision support systems, e-learning and e-commerce.  For more information about their work, visit and


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