Hitachi Data Systems’ Take on the Top 5 Trends for APAC in 2017 Part 2

Mr. Russell Skingsley, the APAC Chief Technology Officer of HDS was in Kuala Lumpur recently to elaborate on the findings and to elucidate HDS’ take on the trends in 2017 through the APAC lens.

According to the new report by Forbes Insights, in association with Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), entitled “How to Win at Digital Transformation: Insights from a Global Survey of Top Executives,” companies in Asia Pacific (APAC) are pulling ahead when it comes to the implementation of digital projects. Amongst those surveyed, 55% of APAC respondents expect their organizations to undergo vast digital transformation in the next two years, 6% more than the global average of 49%.

The global study—based on a survey of 573 senior executives worldwide of which 34% were from the APAC region, as well as on one-on-one conversations with top executives—reveals that, regardless of industry or location, companies are being placed under increasing pressure to transform to keep up with market demands.

The research suggests that those in APAC are further along the road to digital maturity than their global counterparts, with the transition toward digital maturity pointing to five major steps:


  • Make transformation a top strategic priority: The survey confirms that digital transformation is the top strategic priority in the region (60% versus 50% globally). The strategic emphasis on digital transformation is reinforced by executives’ focus on investment. Investing in new technologies to enable digitization is the joint top investment priority for APAC respondents over the next two years (65%), along with increasing data and analytics capabilities (65%).


  • Business outcomes need to drive digital transformation (DX): New business models and industry competitors were the top drivers for DX (both at 42%), followed by new technologies (38%) and customer expectations (33%). Ability to innovate was the top measure of DX success, selected by 57% of APAC respondents and higher than the global average of 46%. This was followed by revenue or margin growth (54% in APAC vs 46% globally) and cost reduction (49% in APAC vs 43% globally).

At the same time, there are issues companies still grapple with and must resolve:

  • Untapped potential of data and analytics: While less than half of APAC companies (45%) see themselves as advanced or leaders in data and analytics, the clear majority (95%) have already seen revenue increases due to the use of data and analytics. APAC, once again, was ahead of the pack – 39% of respondents have seen an increase of more than 5% on revenues thanks to data analytics, compared to 31% globally.

Only 5% of respondents from the region have seen no impact or are unsure of the effects. These findings indicate the clear potential that data analytics present for businesses in 2017.

  • An enterprise-wide approach to DX needs to be adopted: Currently, cross-functional teams are not involved enough in developing (40%) or implementing (also 40%) strategy, with the bulk of this work done by IT (57% and 59% respectively). In APAC, 55% of respondents believe that IT is fully ready for digital transformation while only 42% consider other business functions to be fully ready.
  • Companies must learn how best to marry technology with human resources: Technology has long been a core focus of DX strategies but, as the research highlights, people also have a big role to play in the APAC region.

Technology is seen as one of the top three challenges (26%) and the top contributor to successful digital transformation (54%) in the Asia Pacific region. Nearly half (42%) of respondents felt top-level executives were the second top contributor to DX success (versus just 29% globally). Likewise, ‘Lack of Talent’ was cited as the top challenge to the implementation of DX by APAC respondents (29%).

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