Telstra published a research identifying how Asia Pacific (APAC) business decision makers are calibrating their digital transformation strategies while balancing cost management initiatives and plans for growth in new markets. In the inaugural report, The APAC Transformation Vision: Balancing Digitalisation Ambitions with Cost Objectives, Telstra found that six in 10 organisations are planning for market expansion – either within APAC or globally – despite disruption brought about by the pandemic.
Gathering insights from over 400 business leaders from across seven markets including Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, the research found that more than half of the organisations planning for market expansion intend to execute plans for expansion within the next 12 months. The top reasons cited for market expansion are to gain competitive in-market advantages (36%), increase potential revenue (34%), and diversify revenue streams (34%).
“The pandemic was a time for businesses to learn and fail and learn again. Times are shifting; streamlining the way we operate in the future of work with technology as a key enabler for the modern workplace, and focusing on value creation will be the crux of what makes a good business great in the current – and future – business climate,” commented Geraldine Kor, Managing Director, South Asia, Telstra.
The research highlights that cost is still a critical consideration in the modern business environment. Respondents are managing costs by investing in services to prevent IT downtime (58%), streamlining technology solutions (57%) and exploring flexible financing options (49%).
According to the research, while the focus for businesses has been on recovery and business continuity, ongoing progress with transformation suggests that organisations have bigger aspirations for digital transformation (DX). More than 60% of organisations have increased the pace of DX and innovation projects as part of their top pandemic recovery priorities. However, the journey has only just begun – more than half (55%) of organisations have yet to fully implement and activate their DX strategy. In addition, almost half of surveyed organisations plan to engage external expertise to help with ICT design and management.
In terms of the technological obstacles, surveyed organisations faced the greatest challenge in securing IT spending for employees’ connectivity and services to ensure business continuity during the pandemic in 2020. They also had issues implementing additional cybersecurity protection and compliance measures and increasing VPN capacity to cope with more people working remotely.
These struggles have translated into swift action to enhance IT infrastructure and scale up technological capabilities to accommodate new modes of work. In Malaysia, the top five priorities for organisations that are increasing ICT spends include: Remote working quality and uptime (64%), cybersecurity (62%), cloud infrastructure and services (58%), applications and data (55%), and collaboration and communications (45%).
To sustain business growth, 85% of respondents agree that a robust business strategy incorporates customer experience (CX). Forty-four percent of organisations are already using external CX expertise to enable service delivery and drive customer retention. Fifty percent of organisations have plans to do so, outlining clear opportunities for CX-related partnerships in the current climate.