APAC firms handicapped with short-term focus on tech

Companies in the Asia-Pacific region are optimistic about their business outlook for the next 12 months, with 85% of technology leaders expecting to see moderate to high growth in this period.

This is according to an IDC report commissioned by Expereo and based on a survey of over 650 global technology leaders, including 50 from Singapore. Other respondents were from the United States, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, France, Japan and Germany.

When asked about their business outlook for the next 12 months, half of APAC enterprises expect to see moderate growth and a further 35% expect high growth. 

The ability of technology to help deliver this growth has never been higher on the agenda, with almost a third of technology leaders (33%) saying growth (to increase revenue and/or expand into new markets, segments, and/or geographies) is in their top 3 priorities driving tech investments in their organization. 

In addition, the top priority of technology leaders is now to contribute to business growth / increased turnover.

However, only 23% of APAC enterprises have reached full digital maturity – a scenario where a long-term digital business strategy is in place and there’s an orchestrated enterprise-wide digital-first trajectory. 

The reality is that most organisations are still working on opportunistic and short-term digital plans with isolated and siloed digital excellences across IT and Business units.

About a third (32%) of APAC enterprises admit to having a short-term focus, meaning digital strategy and initiatives are enterprise oriented but typically have a short lifespan. 

Interestingly, there are more than a quarter (29%) of APAC respondents who say whilst the CEO supports digital initiatives, they do not work closely enough with technology leaders, putting digital transformation initiatives in jeopardy.

When asked what the biggest risks or inhibitors are to their growth ambitions over the next 12 months, 37% of APAC respondents cited geopolitical issues as potentially affecting either their business or their technology providers. 

This is followed by inflation (31%), economic uncertainty (32%), uncontrolled spending by lines of business (33%) and performance of networks /connectivity globally (30%).

When asked about serious challenges to executing the digital initiatives aimed at enabling growth, IT integration complexity (41%), partners’ capabilities (40%), lack of regional expertise (35%) were identified.

When asked how their organisations were planning to deliver global growth over the next 12 months, the number one driver is via increased automation for more than half (52%) of respondents; a further 63% agree that automating business operations and processes is now considered important or extremely important. 

Additional growth initiatives include an increased focus on cost containment and efficiencies (49%) and increased innovation (38%).

More than two-fifths (43%) of respondents named AI as their number one technology investment priority, narrowly beating security (39%) and cloud or multicloud networking/ connectivity (37%). 

About a third (34%) of respondents believe AI/ML will be critical to fulfilling business ambitions, a further 60% say it will be important.

“Many organisations are eager to accelerate their journey toward the future through digital transformation, but the path forward remains a work in progress for many,” said Ben Elms, CEO at Expereo. “Bridging the gap between the fifth of global organisations that exhibit full digital maturity and the rest is imperative.”