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Only 4% SG businesses are digital leaders: Report

Just four per cent of Singapore businesses are Digital Leaders, according to the Dell Technologies Digital Transformation Index (the DT Index). The DT Index, which was completed in collaboration with Intel, maps digital transformation progress of mid to large-sized companies and examines the digital hopes and fears of business leaders.

The study found that 35 per cent of Singapore heads of business believe their organisation will struggle to meet changing customer demands within just five years and 43 per cent of them fear that they will be left behind.

Two years after the DT Index’s initial launch in 2016, Dell Technologies and Intel have more than doubled the scope of the research, from 16 countries to 42 and benchmarked 4,600 businesses, using the following groupings. This is the first year Singapore is included in the study.

The Digital Transformation Index highlights that only four per cent of companies surveyed in Singapore are Digital Leaders, and more than half are in the bottom two groups – Digital Followers and Digital Laggards – meaning that they are either moving too slowly or don’t even have a digital plan in place.

According to the research, 97 per cent of Singapore businesses are facing major impediments to digital transformation today. 84 per cent of Singapore business leaders believe that digital transformation should be more widespread throughout the organisation and only 36 per cent believe they’ll reach a point where they’ll disrupt rather than being disrupted within five years.

The top five barriers to digital transformation are:
1. Lack of budget and resources
2. Data privacy and cybersecurity concerns
3. Lack of the right in-house skill sets and expertise
4. Lack of the right technologies to work at the speed of business
5. Weak digital governance and structure

“We’ve talked about being on the cusp of tremendous change for some time now. That’s no longer the case. The next digital era has arrived and it’s reshaping the way we live, work and conduct business. Which means that time is of the essence. Genuine transformation needs to happen now, and it needs to be radical,” said Eric Goh, Managing Director and Vice-President, Singapore Enterprise Business, Dell EMC.

The research also indicates that businesses are taking steps to overcome their barriers, along with the threat of being outmanoeuvred from more nimble, innovative players. This can be seen with the:

• 66 per cent of Singapore businesses using digital technologies to accelerate new product/services development
• 52 per cent of businesses building security and privacy into all devices, applications and algorithms
• 44 per cent striving to develop the right skills sets and expertise in-house, such as teaching staff how to code
• 48 per cent sharing knowledge across functions, by equipping IT leaders with business skills and business leaders with IT skills

Companies are also turning to emerging technologies and cybersecurity to power (and secure) their transformation.

Planned investments within the next one to three years:
• 67 per cent of Singapore businesses intend to invest in cybersecurity
• 52 per cent of Singapore businesses intend to invest in IoT technologies
• 50 per cent of Singapore businesses intend to invest in Artificial Intelligence
• 38 per cent of Singapore businesses intend to invest in multi-cloud
• 35 per cent of Singapore businesses intend to invest in Flash

A small but significant number of businesses in Singapore are even planning to experiment with nascent technologies. 31 per cent will be investing in blockchain,16 per cent in quantum computing and 23 per cent in VR/AR.

“It’s an exciting time to be in business. We’re at a crucial intersection – where technology, business and mankind meet to create a better, more connected world. However, only technology-centred organisations will reap the rewards offered by a digital business model, including the ability to move quickly, to automate everything and to delight customers. This is why digital transformation needs to be a number one priority,” added Mr Goh.