4 in 10 organisations in Singapore still lagging in digital agility

Photo by Zen Chung

A study commissioned by Workday has found that four in 10 organisations in Singapore (37%) are still lagging in digital agility, being in the slow and tactical stages of digital agility maturity. This is despite the opportunity to accelerate digital transformation and increase technology adoption during the pandemic.

The study found that the fear of failure and cross departmental collaboration were among the top challenges cited by organisations in Singapore in pursuing digital transformation.

Conducted in association with IDC, the IDC-Workday Digital Agility Index Asia/Pacific 2022 highlights the extent to which Asia Pacific (APAC) organisations have progressed in digital agility since the COVID-19 pandemic.

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First started in 2020, the study assesses and ranks organisations on the Digital Agility Index (DAI). From their scores, organisations are identified either as “Agility Leaders” if they are found to be in the agile/integrated stages of digital agility maturity, or “Agility Followers” if it is determined that they are in the slow/tactical stages.

Singapore drops to second position in Digital Agility Index, overtaken by Australia

The study found that across the nine APAC markets surveyed, progress in digital agility is uneven. Organisations in Australia achieved greatest progress in digital transformation efforts and ranked first this year.

Singapore, which ranked first in 2020, dropped to second position, followed by New Zealand, Korea, and Hong Kong. Taiwan, a new addition to the study, came in sixth, followed by Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand.  

From a regional perspective, only 38% of APAC organisations are in the advanced stages of digital agility. Still, progress is being made overall as this figure reflects an 18 percentage point increase when compared to 2020. 

For the 62% of organisations in APAC lagging in digital agility (i.e. agility followers), technology adoption is often driven by functional requirements and business needs such as for e-commerce, safety measures, and remote work during the pandemic.

Lack of data-driven insights in driving digital agility in Singapore

The study suggests that more organisations could leverage technology to gain data-driven insights which would contribute to greater digital agility. Only 36% of organisations in Singapore are supported by an integrated HR and finance platform with predictive analytics.

In fact, among the IT leaders surveyed, close to six in 10 (57%) said they face challenges in choosing the right technology solutions that can help drive business growth. Additionally, among finance leaders, only 37% said their organisations ensure resiliency by using automated detection of financial disruption based on predictive capabilities.

Opportunities to drive greater agility in managing talent

There are also opportunities for organisations in Singapore to pursue digital transformation more holistically to bring about better outcomes including in attracting and retaining talent.

Close to eight in 10 (77%) HR leaders in Singapore said they face challenges in delivering high HR service standards in times of rapid change. In addition, a staggering 83% lack a holistic talent strategy supported by data analytics to identify training needs, growth areas and drive employee engagement. In fact, only a third of organisations (32%) in Singapore have enterprise talent systems and policies to maximise talent attraction and retention.

This is a critical area that requires attention as it enables organisations to successfully execute digital initiatives and become more agile in capturing new opportunities.

Need for greater collaboration between CFOs, CHROs, and CIOs to drive enterprise agility in the post-pandemic era

In the new norm led by a digital-first economy, leveraging digital agility can offer competitive advantages but this is only possible if organisations rethink their approach to closing digital agility gaps through technology and alignment of functional business requirements across the C-Suite.

For positive business outcomes, not only must organisations accelerate their digital transformation to narrow the agility gaps but also have an integrated approach as a strategic imperative.

This requires CFOs, CHROs, and CIOs to collaborate and work on their cross-functional digital transformation initiatives, integrate digital talent management, as well as HR and finance processes.

“While there is considerable progress with more organisations making the leap to become agility leaders, the fact that the majority of organisations within Asia Pacific are still lagging creates an opportunity to help organisations digitally accelerate,” said Sandeep Sharma, President for Asia, Workday. 

“With agility now a key source of competitive advantage in today’s digital-first economy, organisations supported by data-driven processes and imbued with digital skills and work cultures are best positioned to thrive in today’s changing world.”