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Companies going digital need to ensure they get it right
SINGAPORE is making a big statement about its digital aspirations, with Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat unveiling a series of initiatives aimed at developing the digital capabilities of firms in his delivery of Budget 2018 on Monday.
The Open Innovation Programme, a new virtual crowdsourcing platform that will match the digital requirements of businesses to solutions created by infocommunications and technology (ICT) firms, will launch in the second quarter this year.
An additional S$145 million will be set aside over the next three years for the Tech Skills Accelerator (TeSA), which was first launched in 2016.
TeSA is a tripartite initiative by the government, industry and the National Trades Union Congress to strengthen the digital workforce, and to enhance employability for individuals in the technology profession.
TeSA will be expanded into new sectors such as manufacturing and professional services, where digital technologies are increasingly important, according to Mr Heng.
The accelerator will also scale up existing programmes to support more people to learn emerging digital skills, such as in data analytics, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT) and cybersecurity.
Matthew Johnston, area vice-president for Asean and Korea at data firm Commvault, noted that digital transformation is critical to any organisation that wants to conquer disruptive technologies and survive in the future economy.
Jake Goh, chief of Singapore-based e-commerce company RateX, told The Business Times: "Singapore's economy is undergoing a paradigm shift, catalysed by digital-first business models. Amid a landscape where talent, information, resources are a few clicks away, never before has speed to market proven crucial for business competitiveness and success.
"From a consumer's perspective, people want easily accessible yet more personalised experiences, especially from apps and softwares. The best companies are those which are quick to draw actionable insights from data, while growing its consumer base in parallel."
Alex Crompton, director of company builder Entrepreneur First, said that Singapore has the capability and "the will to be world leading" for its companies, for which it must develop investment initiatives to support them at their early and growth stages.
THE DIGITAL WAY
As companies today rush to become more digital, they should be wary of ending up with piecemeal initiatives or misguided efforts that could lead to missed opportunities, sluggish performance, or false starts, going by a McKinsey report.
The same report asserts that the first step for companies is to understand exactly what digital means to them and their businesses.
"It's tempting to look for simple definitions, but to be meaningful and sustainable, we believe that digital should be seen less as a thing and more a way of doing things. To help make this definition more concrete, we've broken it down into three attributes: creating value at the new frontiers of the business world, creating value in the processes that execute a vision of customer experiences, and building foundational capabilities that support the entire structure."
When asked if digital is the silver bullet for all companies, Gillian Tee, chief of Singapore-based caregiving service startup Homage, said: "I do not believe that digitisation is a blanket silver bullet to make a company successful in the long term.
"I am convinced, however, that products and services are entering an era where technology is one of its key value enablers, if not its core and primary value driver. For that reason, I believe it's important for company owners to figure out how you want technology to play a role in driving all of your operations and products."
According to San Francisco-based electronic signature (eSignature) firm DocuSign, that the global eSignature market is expected to grow close to 35 per cent annually for the next five years is "just another indication that the pace of digital transformation is accelerating, with more and more businesses set to become completely digital in the very near future".
DocuSign said that once an organisation decides to pursue the benefits of eSignature, the next step is to make sure that it can be up and running quickly in a way that will not be disruptive to the organisation.
What should an organisation look for? According to DocuSign, here are some must-haves when considering the right digital solution:
- Seamlessly integrates with all of your core platforms
Whether it's for Salesforce, Microsoft 365, Google, Box or other enterprise platforms, an eSignature solution that provides out-of-the-box connectivity will make your life easier. Also, look for robust API capabilities that allow deeper integration and can scale as you do.
- Extends the usability of your current applications
The right eSignature solution will offer a seamless experience across your applications. Look for solutions that improve your workflow by integrating across applications - so users just sign once and all applications in the workflow automatically update.
- Improves workflows and business outcomes
Features such as automated reminders, customer dashboards and authentication processes are key requirements to include in your digital process.
- Ensures privacy, security, and scalability
It's critical that your eSignature solution provides the highest levels of encryption, anti-tampering controls, and multi-level user authentication. Compliance to major standards and having a robust audit trail feature are must-haves. And, be sure your solution can scale quickly as your digital business grows.
Take the digital plunge with the right eSignature solution and you will soon see why everyone is embracing digital transformation - it saves time and money and gives customers what they are looking for.