Asia Leads in Digital Transformation


Asian enterprises are taking the lead in recognizing and responding to the latest major change to IT—digital disruption and transformation—ahead of enterprises in Western nations.

In its October 2015 report “Asia Rising: Digital Driving,” IT services firm Cognizant proclaimed:

Asia is fast becoming the center of digital innovation for the world … We believe it is critical for global decision makers to learn from the first-hand experience of leaders in the Asia-Pacific, both to participate in the enormous opportunities of digital transformation, and to import the region’s game-changing innovations, business strategies and successful approaches into their own businesses.

Cognizant’s conclusions were based on a survey of about 300 business and technology executives in Australia, New Zealand, India, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, between May and July 2015. Its main finding: 37 percent of organizations were already undergoing a formal digital transformation process, and most of the remainder planned to do so within two years. Only 4 percent saw no need.

IDC reports similar figures.[1] In November 2015, the firm predicted that, by the end of 2017, 60 percent of the top 1000 enterprises in Asia Pacific would have digital transformation at the center of their corporate strategy, with the majority creating an independent position to oversee implementation of their digital transformation strategy.

Ready for Cloud

According to the Asia Cloud Computing Association, the top Asia Pacific economies now outperform global economies in cloud computing readiness. The 2016 edition of the association’s annual Cloud Readiness Index (CRI) scores a number of non-Asian economies against their Asian counterparts for the first time.

The CRI 2016 has Asia Pacific outperforming other markets on the basis of physical infrastructure, international connectivity, broadband quality, green and sustainable policies, and data center risk. Hong Kong came in at number one, followed by Singapore, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Germany, Australia, and the United States.

According to the CRI 2016,

This puts Asia in a strong position to lead the next wave of global innovation and leadership in technology. We expect that cloud readiness leaders in Asia will strengthen their lead in technology excellence and use, and emerging economies will continue to outperform as they leapfrog into the digital age.

Impact of Consumers

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), leadership in digital transformation is often the result of consumer pressure for companies in Asia. “In many ways, Asia is becoming the place where consumer companies are figuring out how to future-proof their businesses. And nowhere is this truer than in China,” it says in its “Asia’s Digital Disruption” report.

That’s because, Asian consumers are leapfrogging their peers elsewhere when it comes to digital technology. As a result, the EIU believes “Asia’s consumers are … starting to lead the transformations that digitization enables.”

Looking Ahead

Manish Bahl, who leads the Center for the Future of Work (cFOW) in Asia Pacific, observes that global decision-makers considering digital transformation should pay attention to what’s happening in Asia Pacific. “Digital transformation matters more than any other strategic imperative for firms globally, but its relevance is greater in Asia Pacific (APAC), as the region is home to around 60 percent of the world’s population,” Bahl states. “We are at a crossroads where successful enterprises will invest in building digital transformation capabilities in APAC, and those companies which miss this turning point will soon find themselves being left behind.”

1. IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Digital Transformation (DX) 2016 Predictions APeJ Implications (AP257627)


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