Published on November 9, 2023, 5:38 am

Companies in the Asia Pacific region are facing increasing pressure to undergo technology-enabled transformation in order to meet evolving consumer demands. This is according to a recent survey conducted by EY, which highlights the need for organizations to adapt and embrace digital technologies.

The Tech Horizon 2022 survey involved 1,668 C-suite executives and senior leaders from various industries worldwide, including 394 respondents from APAC (80 of whom were from Singapore and Thailand). The survey revealed that approximately 40% of APAC respondents and 37% of those from Singapore and Thailand cited the need to meet changing customer needs as the primary reason for pursuing technology-led transformation.

However, despite recognizing this imperative, only a small fraction of the respondents (16% in APAC and 19% in Singapore and Thailand) reported leveraging data effectively to drive innovation and improve all aspects of their business operations.

Jason Pang, partner at Ernst & Young Advisory specializing in data and analytics consulting, emphasized that many companies still struggle with treating data as isolated pieces of information. To succeed in transforming their businesses through technology, organizations must invest in the right technology and data strategies while prioritizing use cases that align with their goals. It is equally vital to focus on change management efforts and human involvement throughout the transformation process.

The COVID-19 pandemic has generated large volumes of customer data as consumers increasingly rely on technology for their interactions. Businesses have an opportunity to gain valuable insights about their customers through this data and customize products and services accordingly. However, addressing rapidly shifting customer needs remains a significant challenge faced by companies in the Asia-Pacific region.

Gaurav Modi, EY Asean and Singapore consulting leader, emphasizes that delivering long-term value through technology-enabled transformations is not only feasible but necessary. In addition to developing appropriate business strategies, technologies such as data analytics, cloud computing, IoT, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) play crucial roles as foundational digital tools.

According to the survey, data and analytics ranked highest on the priority list for technology investment among over half of the respondents (57% in APAC and Singapore and Thailand). Cloud computing follows closely, with 49% in APAC and 43% in Singapore and Thailand considering it as a top priority. IoT and AI/ML also received significant attention, indicating the recognition of their potential value.

While investing in individual technology tools remains important, Modi highlights that organizations should focus on selecting a combination of technologies based on their specific goals. Customizing technology investments according to industry requirements ensures better outcomes.

Despite a growing focus on technology-driven transformation, companies face challenges related to employee skills gaps in areas such as data collection, analysis, and combination. The survey revealed that 63% of APAC respondents (76% in Singapore and Thailand) identified this skills gap as a major obstacle. Notably, data analytics emerged as the most crucial digital skill necessary for successful organizational transformation.

Moreover, the “Great Resignation” phenomenon has made talent acquisition more challenging for companies, with 70% of respondents in APAC (80% in Singapore and Thailand) acknowledging this issue. Consequently, many businesses are now shifting their focus towards reskilling existing employees rather than solely relying on hiring experienced professionals. However, ineffective upskilling programs pose a significant internal challenge to successful reskilling plans.

Modi suggests that companies must adopt a multifaceted approach to bridge the digital talent gap. This includes implementing change management strategies that enhance employee experience design, adopting holistic digital talent strategies for retention and attraction purposes, participating in digital ecosystems to access specialized skills, and outsourcing certain capabilities through trusted partners.

In conclusion, businesses across the Asia Pacific region are recognizing the need for technology-led transformations to meet changing customer needs effectively. By investing in foundational technologies like data analytics, cloud computing, IoT, AI, and ML while addressing employee skills gaps through reskilling efforts, companies can position themselves for long-term success and deliver differential value in the digital era.


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