SINGAPORE (May 2): Despite acknowledging the significance of digital transformation as a stepping stone to achieve their business goals, Asia Pacific businesses are still suffering from a lack of digital competencies, according to new research by the Economist Intelligent Unit (EIU).

Commissioned by digital performance company Riverbed, the study is based on survey results from over 500 senior business & government leaders across North America, EMEA and Asia Pacific, and focuses on assessing behaviors, skills and abilities that help organisations improve their digital performance.

Among the regional markets surveyed, Asia Pacific was most likely to cite a lack of digital competencies as a key barrier to achieving important business goals at 61%, as compared to North America and EMEA at 54% and 56%, respectively.

In line with the sizeable 67% of Asia Pacific respondents who say that their digital competency gaps have negatively affected user experience, over half of respondents also indicated the need significantly improve digital experience management in their organisations.

Yet, over 41% of the region’s respondents report only neutral or no measurable benefits from their digital strategies – suggesting that these firms have yet to achieve meaningful results despite placing a central importance on improved digital competency.

Riverbed notes the IT function therefore plays a “pivotal role” in overcoming this capability gap, and must be agile as 57% of those surveyed cite IT infrastructure modernisation and transformation as their top digital competency for achieving their business goals.

“The survey results echo what we’re hearing from businesses and government leaders across the region every day: there’s a sense of urgency around addressing digital-competency gaps to fully deliver on their digital transformation efforts,” comments Bjorn Engelhardt, senior VP, Asia Pacific & Japan at Riverbed Technology.

The way Engelhardt sees it, these survey findings also reinforce the notion that leading organisations can stay ahead of competitors by prioritising their investments in tools to measure, monitor, and improve the end-user experience as well as in IT infrastructure modernisation.

“The study shows a clear consensus among respondents that improving digital competency is vital for boosting organisational performance, even if some are not yet witnessing the results. Nevertheless, among the highest performing, the lessons are clear—do not hesitate, encourage internal collaboration, and, even if you feel ahead of your competition, never stop looking over your shoulder,” adds Robert Powell, editorial director of EIU Thought Leadership (Americas).