Companies in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) are the most confident about their digital readiness across Asia-Pacific, according to a new study released by Cisco.
Titled Ready, Steady, Unsure – A Technology Perspective into Asia-Pacific’s Readiness for Digital Transformation, the study shows that majority of companies in the six largest economies of the ASEAN bloc are confident that their current digital transformation strategy is appropriate to help them stay competitive (94 percent), and that they are adequately prepared to adopt relevant technologies to accelerate digital transformation (93 percent). The confidence among companies in ASEAN is higher than the rest of the Asia-Pacific region (84 percent).
While companies in ASEAN are prepared to accelerate digital transformation, confidence levels vary across companies. The study shows 19 percent of IT leaders in large organizations (more than 10,000 employees) do not think they are ready to adopt relevant technologies for digital transformation, compared with 7 percent in smaller companies. Unburdened by legacy systems and large user base, younger and smaller companies have a unique opportunity to leapfrog their IT development.
The study is based on a survey of 1,325 senior IT managers in companies with more than 500 employees across a range of sectors in Asia-Pacific. The results of the survey highlight that IT managers in ASEAN rate Cloud, Cybersecurity, Big Data and Analytics and Automation as the top technologies that are shaping the digital future of their business.
Vish Iyer, Vice President, Architectures, Cisco Asia-Pacific, Japan and China said: “Modernization of IT infrastructure is an absolute necessity to succeed in a digital world. Today, 95 percent of IT operations are still done manually, which means it is very hard and time-consuming for IT to keep up with the business demands and growing number of users and devices. Cisco is helping companies make the foundational aspects – their networks, private and public clouds, and cybersecurity framework – much simpler to not just upgrade, but also manage, consume and protect. This way, we are able to help companies shift their focus from IT management to the realization of new value, new innovation and new business models.”
The study shows that despite the high confidence and awareness of technologies shaping business’s digital future, adoption rates are relatively low across the region. Among the respondents in ASEAN, only 60 percent have started to adopt Cloud, 59 percent Cybersecurity solutions, 55 percent Big Data and Analytics, and 48 percent Automation.
Even in Cybersecurity, which is highly critical to the success of Digital Transformation, almost half of the respondents (47 percent) admitted to having a reactive approach and implementing security solutions and upgrades only after a breach.
The IT leaders attribute low adoption rates to budget constraints (47 percent), lack of adequate talent (43 percent) and unfit IT infrastructure (42 percent).
While a majority of IT leaders (92 percent) in ASEAN say their companies have modernized the IT infrastructure – including networks, data centers and cybersecurity – in the last three years, almost half of them (46 percent) admit ignoring innovation and post-sales support in a bid to lower overall pricing. These cost-based decisions, however, have led to regret among more than one-third (37 percent) of IT leaders and help to explain the lack of confidence in their IT infrastructure to support new technologies.
Naveen Menon, President, Cisco ASEAN said: “Over the next decade, technological innovation will accelerate the pace of change across industries. The ASEAN region, and companies operating here, have a unique opportunity to leapfrog the more developed nations on this front as they don’t have legacy IT infrastructure encumbering them. However, without the right resources – especially budgets and talent – companies will be limited in their ability to lay the right foundation to adopt and develop technologies they truly need to accelerate their transformation.
“This is the perfect opportunity for policy makers, academia and businesses to work collaboratively to groom future talent that can transform entire economies. At Cisco, we are proud of the role that our Networking Academy has been playing on this front. Since its inception, the Networking Academy has trained more than 885,000 professionals across ASEAN,” he added.
The study’s suggested recommendations include the adoption of an integrated cybersecurity framework, optimization of the network for cloud and the recognition of the long-term business value of a strong IT foundation defined by scalability, automation and security capabilities.