A new survey by Ernst & Young finds that whilst the Asia Pacific region may be lagging in the digital transformation race at the moment, it is set to hit the front within two years.
This new impetus is mainly because the culture in the region is ready for the change. This, in turn, is driven by a strong and growing customer focus. In fact, the report categorises the focus on customers as an ‘obsession’ and one that is as strong as (in some cases stronger than) the focus on profitability. ‘Meeting changing customer demands’ was the most popular answer when respondents were asked about the drivers for change.
As a result, in two years’ time, 87% of Asia Pacific companies will be well advanced on the digital transformation journeys, ahead of their counterparts in Europe and the Americas.
Technology investment is also robust for companies in the region, with investment in Artificial Intelligence and cloud technologies high on the agenda.
Interestingly, the primary focus for IT departments in the region is to create a culture of innovation, and is more important than issues such as security.
Partnerships are discussed in the report but there is a disagreement about how effective they are. Most digital leaders in Asia Pacific acknowledge the need for partnerships and how beneficial they can be. At the same time there are definitely some cautious notes as leaders also realise that partnerships can be significant investments – but risky ones.
The key drivers for the emergence of the Asia Pacific region as mature and digitally ready boil down to culture. It seems that, finally, business culture across the world but particularly in the Asia Pacific region is about to pay dividends.
With what seems a genuine obsession on meeting customer needs and by investing in technology, people and partnerships, Asia Pacific is poised to take its place as the digital leader.
Now, of course, with the business world looking into the biggest chasm in a lifetime, it will be very interesting to see whether COVID-19 adds impetus to the race or whether it stops investment in its tracks.
One thing is for sure, the business world will not be the same in two years’ time. Indeed, as we have said before, COVID-19 is the biggest digital disruptor in a decade.
Related content – Malaysia leads Asia Pacific in digital transformation projects.