McKinsey to help Malaysia develop tech startup hub

20 August 2015

The Government of Malaysia has commissioned McKinsey & Company to develop the country’s hub for start-ups, the MaGIC centre, into the Silicon Valley of Southeast Asia. The aim is to attract large US and Australian investors into its technology district Cyberjaya, 50 km from Kuala Lumpur. A first report is expected later this month on the transformation of the region into a new Silicon Valley.

In a bid to improve the countries international competitiveness and attract high value capital to its shores, the Malaysian government has hired McKinsey & Company to develop a technology hub that is intended to one day, rival Silicon Valley, the globe’s best place for startups and entrepreneurs. As part of its research into the development of the area, the company has reached out to venture capitalist firms internationally, including those from the US and Australia, to consider ways of developing potential funding and entrepreneur partnership programmes.

McKinsey to help Malaysia develop tech startup hub

The centre, titled the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creative Centre (MaGIC), came into existence in April 2012 after it forged a partnership with California's Stanford University to enable student and faculty exchange programmes. The US president officially opened MaGIC's headquarters in April as part of his visit to the country.

MaGIC was initially funded by $50 million from the Malaysian government, and will feature as a central link in the continued investment of funds by the Government into technology start-ups in the country. "We'll have to put more [money in]. How much I'm not sure yet," says Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, secretary general of Malaysia's Treasury, Ministry of Finance, going on to add that the review by McKinsey will give broader scope for government investment opportunities. With the further development of MaGIC in the countries’ technology district, its leadership remains optimistic in the face of the competition. CEO Cheryl Yeoh of the MaGIC states: "Singapore is known to be the start-up hub right now [in the region] because the government has made it easy for VCs to set up there … Malaysia has all the ingredients, we just need to pull it all together.”

Malasian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre

Luring investors
One aim of the move, and for which McKinsey consultants are laying the foundations, is luring wealthy Australian investors from the more mature markets into the south-east Asian region, with the potential of developing technologies to meet the growing expectations of its 630 million inhabitants. 

With the proximity of the countries, the hope is that successful start-ups fostered in Malaysia will continue to make their way onto the Australian Stock Exchange, with the likes of iProperty and iCar already down under. With other large exists by IPO in the wider pacific region stemming from Malaysia, including JobStreet which was bought out by SEEK, Japanese telco SoftBank backed GrabTaxi and ASX-listed iSelect backed iMoney. "The market is available already, you don't have to depend on the US or Chinese market, we have the population here. The problem isn't the market, the problem is you need the globally-competitive technology and you need the programs," Dr Irwan concludes.

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How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

11 April 2019

Amey Consulting has leveraged data insights to assist Network Rail with the improvement of its South-Eastern route. Using the Quartz tool, which monitors train movement, Network Rail will now be able to commit to data-enabled interventions to quickly improve underperforming train stations.

With rail services in the UK coming under strain from the demands of modern commuter life, while the infrastructure and service delivery of the nation’s railways has come in for sustained criticism in recent years, a period of regeneration is on the cards at last. Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain, and has subsequently tapped the consulting industry on a regular basis to help find areas of improvement.

The group recently drafted in consultancy BearingPoint to conduct a thorough organisational evaluation and advise Network Rail (High Speed) on attaining a ‘fit for purpose’ organisational standard – for which the consultancy was nominated at the 2019 MCA Awards. Meanwhile, ArupArcadis and Aecom have been contracted to help Colas Rail and Babcock Rail implement a decade-long framework for Network Rail, aimed at supporting the delivery of the next generation of rail systems, with the contracts said to be worth as much as £5 billion

How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

As Network Rail further aims to improve its performance and customer service offering, another area it has sought help from the consulting sector for is its South-East route. The network of railways connects London with the southern parts of the country, as well as with Europe, making it the busiest in the country, with more than 500 million passenger journeys per year. This crucial expanse of rail was plagued with small minute delays, which were impacting millions of passengers every day, while reducing the efficiency and capacity of the overall network – something Amey Consulting was selected to help solve.

Amey Consulting soon determined that with the sub-threshold delays to services only lasting for 1 or 2 minutes, most were not the subject of detailed root cause analysis, and this made their corrections almost impossible – with dire consequences. Without addressing these delays, passenger satisfaction would fall, while the capacity and efficiency of the network would be reduced, stinging the income of Network Rail even before a host of delay-related fines would hit the company.

In order to help the client gain a better understanding of where, how, when and what these small delays occur, Amey Consulting looked to demonstrate the value of data-led consulting, with a significant reduction in delays within the first month of rolling out changes to key stations. The consultants embedded themselves in Network Rail’s team, helping them learn the key skills needed to support and apply data-driven solutions.

Agile transport

This involved the deployment of the Quartz tool. The system utilises to-the-second train movement data to present the performance of individual stations across the South-East route. It allows users to effortlessly understand station performance with a high level of detail, and use this information to identify losses caused by small-minute delays. The granular data allows for targeted actions to drive efficiency savings and performance improvements. More importantly, it allows users to understand the impact of small process changes on performance. 

Steve Dyke, an Executive Partner at Amey Consulting, said of the project, “We looked to identify the physical root cause on the infrastructure, building a case for change then managing that project implementation and tracking the benefit/value.  In doing so we are working to define a data performance improvement service to the operational and infrastructure owners.”

Just as important for the project as the technology, however, was teaching the Network Rail team how to leverage it after the consultants were gone. The Amey Consulting team worked to develop an agile working culture within Network Rail’s South-East division, helping staff to be confident in using data to improve the journeys of millions of people per year by attacking the problem from the ground up.

Dyke concluded, “This is less about the tools and about the approach to managing performance.  It meant using by-the-second analysis, data science, and then agile development to visualise and identify areas where improvements can be made.  We then worked with NR to change the way they approached the management of the infrastructure changes.  So rather than pass the information down the value chain, any of which could have been missed, we managed the change end-to-end.”

The project was so successful that Amey Consulting was also among those honoured at the recent MCA Awards. The firm scooped the Performance Improvement in the Public Sector prize for its work with Network Rail, at the 2019 ceremony in London.