Three quarters of business leaders in Singapore believe that they need to transform to a digital business to enable future growth, according to the Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Study.
However, the transformation journey for most organisations in Singapore is still at its infancy, with only 34 percent saying that they have a full digital strategy in place today.
Half of the organisations in Singapore are in progress with specific digital transformation initiatives for selected parts of their business. Sixteen percent of respondents have very limited or no strategy in place.
According to the business leaders surveyed, the top barriers to digital transformation include cyber threats and security concerns; lack of digitally skilled workforce; lack of leadership shown by board of directors; and lack of organisational leadership skills to ideate, plan and lead execution.
These findings were part of Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Study, which surveyed 1,494 business leaders from Asia—including 118 from Singapore— between October and November 2016. All respondents were pre-qualified as being involved in shaping their organisations' digital strategy.
The report also identified the top five technologies that are relevant to business leaders in Asia: Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, wearable technologies, virtual/augmented/mixed reality, and quantum computing.
"Lessons from past industrial revolutions have taught us that organisations that do not evolve fast enough will be less competitive or even obsolete as they face disruptions in every industry," said Kevin Wo, Managing Director, Microsoft Singapore. "While it brings disruption, the 4th Industrial Revolution also presents opportunities for organisations of all sizes to digitally transform themselves with data and the cloud as key enablers."
Eight in 10 business leaders in Singapore agree that cloud computing and the decreasing cost of devices have made it more affordable for companies of any sizes to transform digitally.
Seventy-six percent of the business leaders also regarded cloud computing as essential in their digital transformation strategy.
"Emerging technologies, specifically, cloud, analytics and new capabilities like AI and IoT will give organisations new capabilities to transform," said Wo. "But real transformation only happens when they bring their people along with them. Equipping employees with the right tools to enable them to be part of solution to be more responsive, data-driven and customer-centric are also key."
Microsoft advises organisations to engage customers and deliver a new wave of deeply contextual and personalised experiences, while balancing security and user trust.
Businesses should optimise their operations by gathering data across a wide, dispersed set of endpoints; drawing insights through advanced analytics; and then applying those learnings to introduce improvements on a continuous basis.
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