- Survey highlights that companies are looking to focus on technology-enabled transformation to meet changing customer needs
- Companies looking to reskill existing employees as skills gap hinders progress in technology-enabled transformation
With consumers becoming more adept at using technology since the pandemic, huge volumes of data have been generated to allow companies to better understand their customers and tailor their products and services. Yet a recent EY research, Tech Horizon 2022, revealed that responding to these changing customer needs is the most significant customer experience challenge that companies in Asia-Pacific (APAC) face.
Tech Horizon 2022 is a global, multi-industry program that surveyed 1,668 C-suite executives and senior leaders (including 394 from APAC, of which about 80 are from Singapore and Thailand).
According to the research, about half (APAC, Singapore and Thailand: 46%) of respondents acknowledged that customer needs are changing rapidly. These changes are difficult to track and has impacted their ability to be more customer centric. In fact, just less than a fifth of respondents (APAC: 16%, Singapore and Thailand: 19%) said they are leveraging data to be predictive, drive innovation and continually improve every aspect of the business.
This is despite the top reason driving companies to undertake technology-enabled transformation is meeting changing consumer needs (APAC: 40%, Singapore and Thailand: 37%).
Jason Pang, Partner, Consulting – Data and Analytics, Ernst & Young Advisory Pte. Ltd., says:
“For many companies, data exist as isolated pieces of information. The scale and volume of data generated during the pandemic can be overwhelming for companies that do not have the necessary technology and skills to convert this data into useful insights. For a successful transformation that delivers long-term value, companies and technology leaders need to prepare their business holistically, invest in the right technology and data strategy, prioritize the right use cases, and most importantly, putting humans and change management at the heart of the transformation.”
Four foundational technologies identified to drive long-term value
Respondents to the EY research indicated that they are looking to invest in digital technologies to drive long-term value. In particular, four technologies – data and analytics; cloud; internet of things (IoT); artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) – are viewed as the digital foundation for a successful transformation. These four technologies are expected to account for the largest share of investment and to deliver the most value over the next two years.
Over half of the respondents (APAC, Singapore and Thailand: 57%) place data and analytics at the top of their priority list for technology investment, followed by cloud (APAC: 49%, Singapore and Thailand: 43%), Internet of Things (APAC: 44%, Singapore and Thailand: 43%) and artificial intelligence (APAC: 35%, Singapore and Thailand: 30%).
Gaurav Modi, EY Asean and Singapore Consulting Leader, says:
“More than investing in a single technology tool or platform, the emphasis is on picking a combination of technologies based on the goals of the organization. While foundational technologies are becoming the bare minimum for technology investments, building the right technology combination involves picking additional technologies that are unique to the sectors that the company is operating in.”
Employee skills gap hinders technology-enabled transformation
Despite the focus on technology-enabled transformation, respondents face a major issue with employee skills gap in finding, combining and analyzing the data (APAC: 63%, Singapore and Thailand: 76%). Notably, respondents indicated that data and analytics (APAC: 42%, Singapore and Thailand: 35%) is the most important digital and technology-related skill that an organization needs for its transformation.
A majority of respondents (APAC: 70%, Singapore and Thailand: 80%) agreed that the “Great Resignation” has made talent acquisition more difficult. In response, companies are turning their focus to reskill their existing employees instead of hiring experienced people (APAC: 70%, Singapore and Thailand: 72%). Having said this, ineffective upskilling or retention programs (APAC: 46%, Singapore and Thailand: 49%) is the biggest internal challenge to the success of the reskilling plans.
“To bridge the digital talent gap, companies need to take a multifaceted approach. They need to be proactive with change management and new experience design for employees, implement a holistic digital talent strategy to retain existing staff and attract new talent to secure required skills. Participating in digital ecosystems to access skills and outsourcing to a trusted strategic partner are also pathways to accelerate access to capabilities.
“Delivering differential value from a technology-enabled transformation is possible – and necessary. Aside from having the right business, technology and data strategy, the most successful technology transformations put humans – committed leadership and empowered employees – at its center, in order to succeed and realize long-term value.”
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