Asean firms confident in digital strategy, but tech adoption rates still low: Study

OCTOBER 25, 2018 - 5:32 PM

MORE than nine in 10 companies in the South-east Asian region are confident in the competitive advantages of their digital transformation plans, according to an industry poll.

The level of confidence among respondents from six Asean countries (94 per cent) beats out the rest of the Asia-Pacific, where 84 per cent of firms were confident in their digital strategy.

Still, the study also found that technology adoption rates are relatively low across the region - a challenge that respondents attributed to  budget constraints, lack of adequate talent and the constraints of their information technology (IT) infrastructure.

Cloud services were the most widely used technology in Asean, with an average adoption rate of 60 per cent, followed by cyber security (59 per cent) and Big Data and analytics (55 per cent).

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But the Internet of Things was the least widely taken up, with just 28 per cent of South-east Asian companies having adopted it.

The use of automation, which is now used by just under half (48 per cent) of Asean companies, is projected to rise, according to the survey, as the majority of companies in most countries said that it would shape the future of their operations.

“In Asia, expect to see automation in manufacturing expanding beyond its heartlands of Japan, South Korea and China,” the report noted.

“Manufacturing companies see automation as a shaping technology - even in those countries where labour is cheap.

“As many executives in countries like India, China see it impacting their company's future as those in South Korea and Singapore, where automation is much more advanced. And then in countries like the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam even more executives see it shaping their business.”

The study, which was commissioned by Nasdaq-listed technology firm Cisco, polled 1,325 senior IT managers from large companies across six sectors in Australia, China, India, Japan and South Korea, as well as in the Asean markets of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Naveen Menon, Cisco president for Asean, said in a media statement: “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 policymakers, academia and businesses to work collaboratively to groom future talent that can transform entire economies.”