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13 November 2017 | Francis Prince Thangasamy, Vice President, Product Management, Asia Pacific
The Asia Pacific region is abuzz with digital programs this year. Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative has sparked off plans for the country to go cashless and its citizens to enjoy conveniences like digital payments for parking. Meanwhile, online marketplaces such as Taobao and Amazon Prime Now are opening up more online shopping options for consumers in the region. Fintech services are also gaining traction in Hong Kong—with the Hong Kong Fintech Association being launched recently.
With digital transformation taking root in Asia Pacific, the tide is shifting for IT operations. Enterprises across the region are quickly learning that IT is no longer just a cost center, but a fundamental enabler of competitive advantage. In our survey conducted with 451 Research, we discovered that enterprises viewed improved reliability of systems, networks, and infrastructure as the single most important IT-led investment priority for digital transformation. Approximately 42 percent of respondents placed this at the top of their list in order to drive their digital business.
In light of this, it is no wonder that improving operational efficiency is the top organizational goal for digital transformation in Asia Pacific. Around 28 percent of enterprises ranked it as the most important desired outcome of their digitization programs. With the region’s businesses becoming more digitally competitive, enterprises that want to stay ahead should take an impartial look at their IT strategy by asking themselves the following three questions:
About 43 percent of enterprises stated that they intend to use IT as a strategic differentiator for innovation. Adopting this mindset is extremely important for organizations to effect change. Furthermore, the stereotype of the Asian organization solely focused on cost savings is slowly becoming a myth. When asked what were the top three drivers motivating digital transformation, reducing costs came in third behind customer experience and risk mitigation. Many organizations in the region have already woken up to the fact that IT is their launchpad to gain a competitive advantage. Those that do not change their viewpoint will find themselves left behind very soon.
As business processes and customer interactions become more digitized, enterprises today find themselves sitting on a goldmine of data. Approximately 42 percent of respondents stated that they want to improve operational efficiency to use data for better decision-making. This is especially pertinent for sectors like retail and financial services. In these industries, customers interact with brands via channels that are increasingly digital and diverse. These include e-commerce portals, online banking services, and mobile apps. Gaining insights into their purchasing behavior and interactions is key to understanding customer preferences and tailoring services that keep them coming back for more.
A highly connected world brings with it highly connected demands. Enterprises today must be able to deliver consistent, reliable and flexible experiences—no matter where they are located. Hence, 39 percent of respondents indicate that operational efficiency was important for enabling the optimal use of human resources, infrastructure, goods, and materials. In order to do, they must make IT seamless, empowering employees to work smarter, more flexibly, and to connect with customers while minimizing the risk of downtime. Organizations must work toward becoming a global 24/7 digital business in order to meet increasingly growing customer demands.
The impact of operational efficiency should not be underestimated in today’s rush to digitally transform. Enterprises must give it its due attention in order to create the right foundation for strategic innovation, generating actionable insights, and delivering a truly seamless round-the-clock digital experience that customers want.
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