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Digital Transformation Through an Asia-Pacific Lens

Manish Bahl, Senior Director of Centre for the Future of Work, Cognizant | Dec. 21, 2015
Digital is the key to addressing the wants and needs of current and future online consumers, who will represent half of Asia's population by 2020, up from one-third today.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Digital transformation has been the most talked about topic of 2015. Many business leaders are probably overwhelmed by the buzz surrounding digital transformation. However, progressive business leaders are already cutting through the noise and are unlocking huge amounts of value from digital. Nowhere is this playing out faster than in the Asia-Pacific region. While digitally-enabled consumers throughout the world are shaking up business models, value chains and ecosystems, nowhere is this more apparent than in this region. Digital is the key to addressing the wants and needs of current and future online consumers, who will represent half of Asia's population by 2020, up from one-third today.

Cognizant's recent study, "Asia Rising: Digital Driving", highlights that a sea of change in value generation is under way in the region. In fact, 96% of the companies surveyed for the study are well on their way to digitally transforming their businesses in the region. And, these changes are having significant business impact. Asian decision-makers surveyed for the study cited that going digital could propel revenue growth by more than 13% for their organizations by 2017. However, the transformation agenda is also introducing some unforeseen challenges, in the form of new investments, organizational structures, internal skills, change management, and roles and responsibilities for companies.

Defining digital

As digital technologies become mainstream, organizations must continuously innovate to deploy these technologies to drive market differentiation and performance. Digital transformation is more than just technology. It means the ability to connect technology, data science, devices, design, and business strategy to change a business process or customer experience. It is about putting the customer, device, organization or business process at the center in connecting the physical world to the digital world.

The drivers of digital transformation

Today, no business or industry is immune to the impact of digital disruption. Even highly-regulated industries, such as financial services, are under intense pressure to recast their operations. For instance, the payments arena that accounts for 20% to 25% of bank revenue is undergoing a profound transition as new digital entrants challenge long-established incumbents. All enterprises, traditional as well as progressive, are looking to leverage digital technologies to rewrite their industry and their own future.

With growing customer and market expectations, businesses are expected to respond to fast-changing market, technology, competitive and customer dynamics, to run in a more prudent way. Hence, leaders need to continuously question the status quo in order to reappraise every underlying principle of their businesses and embrace digital ideas. For instance, why do banks need to have a physical infrastructure in the first place? What if the physical infrastructure moves entirely virtual?


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