C-suite executives in Singapore are cautiously optimistic on the domestic economic outlook and their organisations' prospects for growth, according to a new study by Accenture.
The report, "CEO Briefing 2014 — The Global Agenda: Competing in a Digital World," is based on a survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit for Accenture. Some 1,041 C-level executives from 11 industries across 20 countries around the world were surveyed.
Fifty-six percent of the Singapore respondents claimed that they are optimistic about the domestic economy in 2014. Three quarters of them are optimistic about their own organisation's growth too.
Despite this optimism, the Singapore respondents believe that they will be facing cost challenges in the next 12 months due to raw material costs and the high cost of capital. This is reflected in the survey as only 58 percent of the respondents predicted higher profits this year.
When asked about their growth strategies, 66 percent of the Singapore respondents plan to drive growth in their domestic markets in the next three years by selling new products and services. In line with this, a majority (77 percent) of them will be increasing their research and development expenditure this year to support innovation efforts.
Human capital will be a principle area for investment for the republic too. Respondents in Singapore forecasts that they will not only further invest in human capital (73 percent) but also increase their staff count (53 percent) this year.
The survey also unveiled that more than half (55 percent) of the Singapore respondents understand that digital technologies enable them to improve their process efficiencies and reduce cost. However, less than a third (32 percent) of them are primarily utilising these technologies to drive growth or find new ways of reaching customers. Jonathan Wright, ASEAN managing director of Accenture Strategy, advised organisations to leverage digital technologies such as "analytics to drive better decisions around new product development, customer acquisition and talent."
Wright pointed out that organisations in Singapore are beginning to re-think the role of the republic in their ASEAN and APAC portfolios as their business grow. "As Asian markets develop, we are seeing business models and the role of regional headquarters evolving to provide high value services across the region by leveraging the competitive advantages - stability, highly-skilled workforce, developed infrastructure - that the country has to offer."
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