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Global study finds APAC businesses leading the way in digital transformation

25 May 2017

A recent global study from CenturyLink has revealed Asia Pacific (APAC) businesses are making good headway through digital transformation.

‘Leading the way’ in fact, with 57 percent of large companies across Asia Pacific (APAC) now maintaining a formal strategy for digital transformation and actively digitising some of their business processes, as opposed to 47 percent in Europe and 45 percent in North America.

According to CenturyLink, as the adoption of digital disrupts every industry around the world, it’s crucial that large enterprises transform the way they do business to keep pace with the competition.

The study also revealed the three key factors that are driving digital transformation; desires to improve customer experience (44 percent), manage risk (43 percent) and reduce operational costs (41 percent).

However not all is sunny in APAC, despite leading the way in embarking on the digital transformation journey. The majority of enterprises in APAC are mindful about how long it will take to successfully complete a full transformation, with 63 percent estimating that it will take three to six years to achieve a company-wide digital transformation, and another seven percent estimating more than seven years.

CenturyLink affirms this is largely due to the length of time it takes to overcome complexities that surround digital transformation, both from a business and a technological standpoint.

The three biggest barriers to successful digital transformation amongst enterprises in APAC are potential failure to secure sensitive data (35 percent), inflexible IT systems and lack of operational agility (32 percent) and inability to migrate legacy IT and business applications to the cloud (31 percent).

CenturyLink managing director for APAC, Gery Messer says in a global business economy dominated by disruption, reinvention and escalating threats, speed to market is of the essence.

“While it’s encouraging to see the majority of enterprises in APAC have begun digital transformation projects, the complexity that surrounds their journeys can result in significant roadblocks,” Messer says.

“However, by simplifying the foundational steps behind digital adoption, APAC enterprises can focus their resources on innovation and customer experience, and truly lead the world in digital transformation.” 

On top of long-term commitment and planning, the study identifies choosing the right partner as a critical factor for success.

55 percent of companies are using or expect a need for an IT or communications service provider partner in support of their digital transformation programs, while 49 percent will use a specialist cloud service provider.

Research director for APAC Services at 451 Research, Agatha Poon says digital transformation programs are now being viewed as strategic, long-term initiatives that receive top-level executive backing in APAC.

“Sixty-nine per cent of businesses are actually increasing their spending levels to push through the business benefits and commercial gains they expect as digital transformation outcomes,” Poon says.

“A critical aspect of these transformation roadmaps is entrusting some of the transformational fundamentals to third-party service providers, enabling business leaders to refocus internal resources on developing new services and applications to support innovative business initiatives.” 

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