Disconnect between digital transformation and sustainability

digital transformation sustainability
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A clear disconnect exists between sustainability practices and Digital Transformation initiatives across organizations in Singapore, according to a latest report by Paessler, the monitoring experts for IT infrastructures and networks. Titled Keeping Watch: Monitoring Your Path to a Sustainable ITthe report aims to shed light on the current state of sustainability practices among businesses, and deep dives into drivers and barriers in deploying sustainable IT practices.

The report revealed that balancing the ESG metrics with growth targets (65%), cost of deployment to business (43%), lack of clarity from government bodies (48%) and lack of measuring ROI (53%) as the top barriers to adopting sustainability practices in Singapore. 

Most businesses across ASEAN and ANZ region are optimistic

While most businesses across ASEAN and ANZ region are optimistic about the business outlook over the next three years, businesses in Singapore are most conservative with 23% being unsure or pessimistic about their business outlook. The report also revealed businesses in Singapore view sustainability and digital transformation in silos and not as intertwined.

Organizations are working on developing sustainability frameworks and digital transformation strategies in a piecemeal manner. As a result, their resources, whether budgets, time or skills involved, are less effective. They also lack the capabilities and the expertise to develop a sustainability framework and work on it, clearly highlighting a disconnect between the engaged sustainability practices and their digital transformation journeys.

Benefits of IT infrastructure monitoring

At the same time, organizations in Singapore are realizing the benefits of IT infrastructure monitoring, a key cog in an organization’s IT strategy to help optimize energy consumption (81%), reduce emissions (95%), analyze the need for IT equipment (95%) and to quantify the volume of resources saved (81%). Therefore, a sustainable IT strategy backed by a comprehensive monitoring framework must be a vital part of the business operations. This will ensure sourcing material; production processes and all other components of a sustainable business can be integrated by the overarching digital transformation strategy.

With Singapore’s GDP growth forecast for 2023 expected to rise by 0.5 to 2.5 %, businesses are focusing on digital transformation, sustainability and increasing productivity and efficiency as high priority areas to be better positioned as the global economy slows.

“Many businesses see sustainability and profitability as a contradiction, but when the right values are measured, it results in cost efficiency and a competitive lead. It is imperative to build a robust IT strategy, a digital transformation strategy and develop a sustainability framework which are all integrated by a comprehensive IT monitoring framework. Bridging the gap between digital transformation and sustainability to make data-based decisions can result in resource optimization and bring economic benefits for businesses,” said Felix Berndt, Regional Sales Manager of Asia Pacific, Paessler.

Sustainability practices (ESG) and Digital Transformation efforts not on the same page

While sustainability is one of the top 3 business priorities for the next three years, it does not even feature as one of the top 5 challenges for businesses across markets and sectors. Instead, challenges such as increasing competition, digital transformation, driving growth (top line), improving profitability (bottom line), and talent management are seen as top five challenges by businesses. The top three drivers for adopting sustainable frameworks are reputation (45%), following industry operations standards (36%) and adhering to Regulatory framework and compliance (24%).

The technology, telecom, and datacenter vertical (82%) was seen as the top vertical which already has a sustainable IT strategy in place followed by manufacturing (79%) and essential services/ public sector (66%). While the public sector lags in this regard, 31% said that they will embark on their sustainable IT strategy journey in the next year. 

Digital transformation can enable sustainability

Digital transformation can enable sustainability by making businesses more efficient, reducing their environmental impact, and helping them meet sustainability goals. Engaging the right digital technologies can help monitor and optimize energy usage, reduce waste, and streamline supply chains. The knowledge and importance of a sustainable IT strategy can be improved if backed by an effective IT monitoring backbone.

Research methodology

Paessler’s Keeping Watch: Monitoring Your Path to a Sustainable IT report was conducted by Intuit Research from Dec 2022 to March 2023, to understand the current state of sustainability practices among businesses, and deep dive into drivers and barriers in deploying sustainability IT practices. Key business decision makers of large businesses (with revenue of USD 50 million to over USD 1 billion) were interviewed in six countries, namely, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand. Opinion was gathered from senior business decision makers across three key sectors – Manufacturing, Essential Services, and Tech / Telecom / Data centers.

The report is available for download here.

Related article: Know your environmental impact – how green is your cloud?

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