29 October 2015

Productivity, customer delight, differentiation: why Singapore organisations are going digital

Source: CA Technologies website.
Singapore organisations would embrace digital transformation to improve workforce productivity (51%) and customer satisfaction (49%), and to differentiate themselves from the competition (46%). These are the top three drivers – beyond revenue and profit motives, of digital initiatives for Singapore organisations, according to a global study titled, Exploiting the Software Advantage: Lessons from Digital Disrupters. Commissioned by CA Technologies and conducted by Freeform Dynamics, an IT industry analyst firm, the study surveyed 1,442 senior IT and business executives including 615 respondents in Asia Pacific and Japan: mainland China, India, Singapore, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea.

The study reveals that nearly half (48%) of Singapore organisations are executing digital transformation as a coordinated strategic programme. Digital transformation is defined as exploiting modern technology and communications to transform key aspects of business to achieve a state of digital readiness. The most popular ongoing or planned digital initiatives are in workforce efficiency or effectiveness (55%) and customer services (54%).

However, despite recognising the importance of a digital presence to customer engagement and market development, Singapore companies have yet to actively embrace the innovations needed to deliver that transformation. For example, only 32% see social networks as essential to customer engagement and market development, and a mere 22% believe the use of mobile technology is critical to customer engagement and market development. Just 21% of Singapore companies believe the Internet of Things will be critical, and an even smaller proportion - 19% - feel the same way about wearables.

Companies that have achieved high level of digital transformation are reaping the benefits. As a result of their digital initiatives, almost half (48%) of the Singapore respondents have seen an increase in overall profit. Four in 10 have experienced increased customer acquisition, while 38% have witnessed positive customer retention and a growth in revenue.

“This study provides proof that companies which forge ahead with digital transformation will be able to compete more effectively in the application economy. Companies in Singapore are certainly aware of the advantages of remaining competitive, but I believe more can be done to help businesses reap their desired benefits,” says Stephen Miles, CTO, APJ, CA Technologies. “Intimately linked with this concept of digital transformation is the effective use of software, which more local companies can look into to improve efficiency and effectiveness.”

The results of the study also spurred the development of the Digital Effectiveness Index (DEI), a measurement tool developed in partnership with Freeform Dynamics. Responses relating to market competitiveness and business scorecard metrics were translated into numeric scores then combined to form the DEI. Survey participants were then segmented according to their index scores.

Using this measure, an elite group of Digital Disrupters has emerged: companies achieving high returns from digital investments and driving market and organisational disruption. In Singapore, they represent the top 8% of respondents based on the DEI. The study shows that revenue and profit growth among the APJ Digital Disrupters are twice as high as among mainstream organisations.

These Digital Disrupters possess traits and behaviours that mainstream Singapore organisations can learn from in order to develop their digital transformation capability. For example, 95% of global Digital Disrupters agree/strongly agree with the need to become more of an app-centric, software-driven business, versus 74% of Singapore respondents. Moreover, 77% of global Digital Disrupters have agile development fully in place, compared to 52% of Singapore companies. While 64% of global Digital Disrupters broadly use application programming interfaces (APIs) to build mobile apps, only 41% of companies in Singapore do.

“To stay ahead in the application economy, Singapore companies need to disrupt across their traditional organisation structures, processes and systems. Mainstream businesses simply cannot continue with the status quo—they must undergo significant change to fully integrate digital into all aspects of their business. By becoming an agile, software-driven organisation, they can quickly create the omnichannel digital apps needed to thrive, deliver a superior customer experience and close the gap on competitors,” said Miles.


*The global online survey of 1,442 senior IT and business executives was sponsored by CA Technologies and conducted by industry analyst firm Freeform Dynamics in July, 2015. A total of 615 respondents were from Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ); this covered Australia, mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea. The study’s respondents assume senior business and IT positions at public and private enterprises across nine industry sectors with revenues of US$250 million or more. The study was augmented by in-depth telephone interviews with key industry executives.