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Smart Agriculture: Technology Is The Key Enabler To Get Ahead

According to Will Nguyen, KPMG Partner and Head of Digital Transformation in Vietnam and Cambodia, what Vietnam used to have as an advantage in agriculture is no longer an advantage at this point.
Smart Agriculture: Technology Is The Key Enabler To Get Ahead

Will Nguyen, Partner and Head of IT Advisory & Digital Transformation at KPMG in Vietnam and Cambodia. | Source: Bobby Vu for Vietcetera

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Listen and subscribe to “Vietnam Innovators” in Vietnamese: Vietcetera Podcast | Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | YouTube.

What started as a fun PC-building in high school has led to business opportunities to earn money for university. Will Nguyen, a Computer Information Systems graduate from the California State Polytechnic University-Pomona, got his first computer in high school and instantly found his connection with technology, “I immediately fell in love with it,” he recalled.

Will was born in Vietnam but moved to the US with his family when he was young. To expand his network and adopt the international experience, he returned to Vietnam and pursued an opportunity at KPMG. Currently, Will is a Partner and Head of IT Advisory & Digital Transformation at KPMG in Vietnam and Cambodia.

In this episode of Vietnam Innovators, Hao Tran met with Will Nguyen to discuss KPMG’s end-to-end technology transformation and consulting services, the goals of Smart Agriculture, and why Vietnam should take advantage of them.

Source: Bobby Vu for Vietcetera

Digital transformation at KPMG

Digital disruption is changing the world where we live and work — it modifies fundamental expectations and behaviors in any culture, industry, market, or process that is influenced by or expressed through digital capabilities, channels, and assets.

New technologies have altered markets completely, from creating new customers and competitors to unprecedented expectations. Will and his team know that the pace of change is unlikely to slow down any time soon.

While digital transformation is enabled by technology, its success goes beyond any specific sector. At KPMG, it means taking on enterprise-wide change to revolve around the organization’s business, operations models, and how its people work. Moreover, KPMG also integrates high volumes of data to predict and respond to customer behaviors.

When asked about the importance of a digital transformation partner and why companies should consider having one, Will talked about his practice at KPMG.

From defining the customer’s digital strategy and technology architecture to implementing enterprise applications such as ERP (enterprise resource planning), CRM (customer relationship management), and HRM (human resource management), KPMG does end-to-end technology transformation and consulting services.

On top of that, the firm also provides cybersecurity and audit IT-compliant services and assists companies with setting up IT departments.

Regarding the process, KPMG has four steps to guide your digital transformation journeys, each with the potential to deliver actual value.

  • Understand industry-specific opportunities for digital disruption
  • Devise an enterprise-wide operational strategy that connects the front, middle and back office
  • Create a business strategy that starts from the inside out
  • Embed culture change programs throughout the digital transformation

Will is confident that they have the right people with excellent skills in Vietnam and a group of credible alliances to successfully deliver their partner’s digital transformation.

Smart agriculture to get ahead

One of Will’s latest achievements was to help Thanh Thanh Cong – Bien Hoa Joint Stock Company (also known as TTC Sugar or SBT) with its digital transformation by implementing the first IFRS-led Oracle Cloud ERP system in Vietnam. He and his team at KPMG have successfully provided SBT with a tailored solution and system implementation to transform SBT into an innovative agriculture company.

Source: Shutterstock

By definition, smart agriculture is a solution for small farmers to overcome difficulties by giving them access to complete and timely information, skills, and techniques to make better decisions in their production and trading. It enhances agriculture productivity which is extremely important to Vietnam due to its increasing population and different consuming practices.

Moreover, smart agriculture is now more essential than ever, as Vietnam can no longer rely on its advantages. “We have good land space, favorable weather, and a young population. However, other countries have leveraged available technologies to leapfrog their capabilities in the agriculture space. That’s why what we used to have is no longer an advantage.”, Will shared. Thus, redefining agriculture with the help of technology must keep Vietnam in its leading position.

According to Will, smart agriculture’s goal is to automate the process that helps enable the digitalization of data. The availability of agriculture data will allow companies to do extensive, advanced analytics and provide insights to drive their decision-making.

“That project is one of the largest Oracle transformation projects within the region,” Will said. “It involved 21 Oracle modules which were implemented for 22 entities, cutting across four countries in the middle of the pandemic.”

It took a project team of over 500 people 11 months from kick-off to launch to finish the project. One of the significant challenges SBT and KPMG team faced was working remotely, but their efforts paid off when the system went live in July 2021 and has been bringing positive values to SBT since, helping the company moving closer to its 2030 goal of becoming a high-tech global agricultural leader, preserving sustainable growth and sharing the benefits with stakeholders – of which farmers are the beneficiaries.

Watch the full episode below.