Eliminating a New Type of Digital Divide in Singapore

When it comes to the ongoing digital revolution that is currently taking place in Asia-Pacific, there is little doubt that Singapore is playing a leading role. In many ways, this is no surprise considering that the government is pursuing its Smart Nation vision. This includes creating an even stronger economy fuelled by digital innovation, as well as providing the best homes possible for its citizens.
Within this context, most organizations in Singapore are already on their digital transformation journey. A recent study by Dynatrace and IDC titled "The Digital Transformation Blueprint: Software-Defined Enterprises in the Asia Pacific," saw 71% of Singaporean organizations stating data capitalization and monetization as their digital transformation priority.

However, while this is true, most businesses are struggling to achieve real transformation. While most have been successful in initiating digital strategies and operations, they often find themselves in siloed digital projects that are unable to be scaled up.  This clearly demonstrates that there is still a lot more for organizations in the Lion City to do to maintain its position as a leader in digital transformation.      

The New Digital Divide

Traditionally, a digital divide refers to the difference between those who have easy access to the Internet and those who do not. However, in today’s digital age, we are witnessing a new kind of digital divide. This divide refers to organizations who are digitally progressing versus those who are struggling.

Across Asia-Pacific, we noticed that 38% of organizations are making the strategic, organizational, technological, and financial decisions that will set them up to digitally transform their organizations in the next several years.

The majority (62%) are digitally static. Perhaps most worryingly, this is happening within every country in Asia-Pacific – including Singapore. As such, for companies to start leading in the digital economy, they have to overcome five digital deadlocks: outdated KPIs, silos of transformation and innovation, their often-limited expertise, and the execution of inadequate tactical plans. Until these issues are addressed, then the gap is going to continue widening.  

The Situation in Singapore

Singapore is indeed one of the countries at the forefront of digital transformation in Asia-Pacific, but there is still more to do to prevent this digital divide from getting more significant. Our report surveyed 100 enterprise-level organizations. It found that in 2018 alone, 30 to 50% of companies upgraded their IT infrastructure and enterprise applications, and invested in cloud and mobility services.

Furthermore, 77% are investing in technologies for intelligent enterprise core leveraging data management, cognitive artificial intelligence, as well as machine learning. However, 37% of organizations still have separate digital IT and core IT technology architecture, which could contribute to an overall slowdown in digital transformation if they fail to come up with a fully integrated transformation strategy that goes across the entire enterprise. So far, only 33% of those surveyed in our report have achieved this.

In general, we found that most organizations tend to be still focused on customer experience applications, which in Singapore accounted for 72% of firms, compared with 65% across the region as a whole. For cloud-based applications, Singapore emerged as a regional leader, with 76% of companies embracing these, compared with an average of 59% across Asia-Pacific.

Closing the New Digital Gap

To overcome this, organizations need to develop a digital success blueprint:

  1. A single enterprise strategy. Organizations need to rally around a single strategy as opposed to organizations that are trying to coordinate multiple digital strategies rooted in the various LOBs and functional areas.
  2. Resoluteness to make the required organizational and cultural changes. Organizations who are digitally successful are twice more likely to have digital embedded throughout the organization as opposed to residing in a central digital group.
  3. A long-term investment strategy based on the principle that digital is inherently valuable to the business. Digitally progressing organizations are more likely to fund their digital transformation through a capital budget as opposed to a short-term funding mechanism.
  4. A single digital platform to scale technology innovations. Organizations need to focus on scaling digital operations and therefore work towards a single digital platform.

What the Future Holds

To be a truly digital enterprise, organizations will require a set of processes, governance, and software intelligence platform. It allows the systems to be self-organizing, self-healing, and self-optimized. Platform applications and business services are continuously driving both internal and external users, orchestrating and aligning their activities across the ecosystem in real-time. These mission-critical applications or services must be pervasively available at all time.

Together with the shift towards continuous software development and deployment, emerging initiatives and needs are driving fundamental changes in how IT service delivery is managed. In light of these changes and added complexity, complete visibility, real-time monitoring, and IT operation automation are essential requirements for any enterprise driving transformation. This will allow faster software release, innovation at scale, and unrivaled customer experience.

Singapore is currently one of the countries pulling ahead in the digital transformation journey, thanks in no small part to the government’s Smart Nation initiative. Companies in Singapore can approach transformation from the perspective of an outsider looking in, and they will become leaders in their industries. They will have the technology to adapt continually to new information, opportunities, and threats while involving stakeholders to enhance products and services, business models, and strategies.

Rafi Katanasho, CTP & VP Solution Sales, APAC, Dynatrace wrote this article.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of HR&DigitalTrends.