Singapore drops to 2nd in digital agility totem pole

Australia has overtaken Singapore, which is now at second position in the latest update of the Digital Agility Index, according to Workday.

Also, the latest study showed that in every five (37%) organisations in Singapore are still lagging in digital agility, being in the slow and tactical stages of digital agility maturity.

This is despite the opportunity to accelerate digital transformation and increase technology adoption during the pandemic. The study found that the fear of failure and cross departmental collaboration were among the top challenges cited by organisations in Singapore in pursuing digital transformation.

Commissioned by Workday and conducted by IDC between December 2021 and February 2022, the study surveyed more than 800 senior HR, IT, and Finance leaders from across nine markets and 15 sectors in the Asia-Pacific region, including Singapore.

From their scores, organisations are identified either as “Agility Leaders” if they are found to be in the agile/integrated stages of digital agility maturity, or “Agility Followers” if it is determined that they are in the slow/tactical stages.

The study found that across the nine APAC markets surveyed, progress in digital agility is uneven. Organisations in Australia achieved greatest progress in digital transformation efforts and ranked first this year. 

Singapore, which ranked first in 2020, dropped to second position, followed by New Zealand, Korea, and Hong Kong. Taiwan, a new addition to the study, came in sixth, followed by Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand.  

Across the nine markets surveyed, only 38% of organisations are in the advanced stages of digital agility. Still, progress is being made overall as this figure reflects an 18 percentage point increase when compared to 2020. 

For the 62% of organisations in APAC lagging in digital agility (“followers”), technology adoption is often driven by functional requirements and business needs such as for e-commerce, safety measures, and remote work during the pandemic.

The study suggests that more organisations could leverage technology to gain data-driven insights which would contribute to greater digital agility. 

In Singapore, only 36% of organisations are supported by an integrated HR and finance platform with predictive analytics. Among the IT leaders surveyed, close to three in every five (57%) said they face challenges in choosing the right technology solutions that can help drive business growth. 

Additionally, among finance leaders, only 37% said their organisations ensure resiliency by using automated detection of financial disruption based on predictive capabilities.

There are also opportunities for organisations in Singapore to pursue digital transformation more holistically to bring about better outcomes including in attracting and retaining talent. Close to four in every five (77%) HR leaders in Singapore said they face challenges in delivering high HR service standards in times of rapid change.

Also, 83% lack a holistic talent strategy supported by data analytics to identify training needs, growth areas and drive employee engagement. In fact, only a third (32%) of organisations in Singapore have enterprise talent systems and policies to maximise talent attraction and retention.