A majority (79%) of business leaders in Asia Pacific feel that new data insights would lead to new revenue streams, according to the Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Survey.
The survey also shows that business leaders in the region are showing urgency in embracing the 4th Industrial Revolution, where 80% of them believe that they need to transform to a digital business to enable future growth and yet only 29% said that they have a full digital strategy in place today.
“And yet, it is concerning to see that while there is widespread acknowledgement on the need to transform, they are doing so incrementally,” says Ralph Haupter, President, Microsoft Asia.
“With constant pressure from newer, agile and tech savvy players disrupting across industries in Asia, the transformation of products and new revenue models provides the greatest opportunity for organisations to truly lead rather than be disrupted.
“Leaders need to rethink business models, find new data insights which lead to new revenue streams. And they need to do this by embracing a different way of bringing together people, data, and processes. which create value in a new digital business.”
Technology advancements have ushered in the 4th Industrial Revolution, where cutting-edge technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), advanced data analytics, and mixed reality are powered by cloud computing to create limitless possibilities in transforming the way people work, live and play.
This revolution, together with rapid urbanization, emergence of the millennial workforce and a fragile global economic climate, is ushering societal and economic changes at an unprecedented pace.
Even as majority of business leaders are aware of the urgent need to transform digitally to address the changing business climate, the study found that the transformation journey for most organizations in Asia is still at its infancy.
In fact, only 29% of business leaders have a full digital transformation strategy and less than half (49%) are in progress with specific digital transformation initiatives for selected parts of their business. 22% still have very limited or no strategy in place.
Emerging Technologies in Demand
Cloud computing and the decreasing cost of devices have made it more affordable for companies of any sizes to transform digitally, according to 81% of business leaders surveyed. Majority of business leaders (78%) regarded cloud computing as essential in their digital transformation strategy.
In the next 12 to 18 months, business leaders in Asia Pacific are interested to explore a range of emerging technologies to accelerate and achieve digital transformation. The top five technologies identified by business leaders as being relevant to them are:
- Artificial intelligence: Intelligent machines or software that are able to learn and perform tasks independently. Examples include robots, chatbots and self-driving cars;
- Internet of Things (IoT): Network of sensors embedded into devices that can collect data or be remotely controlled. Examples include smart buildings, cars and home devices;
- Wearable technologies: Advanced computing and electronic technologies that are embedded into clothing, devices or bodies. Examples include smart watches and fitness trackers;
- Quantum computing: Next-generation computers using different computation systems to solve data equations much faster than traditional computers
- Virtual/ augmented/ mixed reality: Technologies enabling the merging of real and virtual worlds into new and immersive experiences. Examples include Microsoft HoloLens, Oculus Rift, and 3D video gaming.
Barriers to Digital Transformation in Asia Pacific
While there is no doubt that digital transformation will bring significant benefits for both businesses and employees, the path to digital transformation has been slow, given that only 29% have a full digital strategy in place.
Increasing security threats in today’s digital economies is real and cannot be ignored. There is a continued perception among business leaders that the cloud is less secure. However, they may be less privy to the advances being made in the cloud on security and privacy and need more exposure on how, with the current threat environment, it will be safer being in the cloud than relying on tradition forms of IT. In fact, a recent Microsoft Asia Pacific survey of 1,200 IT leaders conducted in September 2016 found that 87% believe that in the longer term, the cloud will be safer.
“People don’t use technology that they don’t trust. This is a golden rule that applies to organisations and individuals alike as we live in a mobile-first and cloud-first world. Ensuring security, privacy, and compliance are key to enabling businesses to carry out digital transformation with confidence. With the rise of mobile workers introducing new devices, apps, and data into organisations today, protecting sensitive company data requires a new and integrated approach,” said Haupter.