SINGAPORE (Oct 10): Only 4% of businesses in Singapore can be considered digital leaders while more than half are digital followers and digital laggards, meaning that they are either moving too slowly or don’t even have a digital plan in place, according to the latest Digital Transformation Index (DT Index) by Dell Technologies.

The index was compiled in collaboration with Intel and maps digital transformation progress of mid- to large-sized companies, as well as examines the digital hopes and fears of business leaders. The study was launched in 2016 and this is the first year that Singapore is included.

The study also showed that 35% of Singapore heads of business believe their organisation will struggle to meet changing customer demands in the next five years and 43% of them are afraid that they will be left behind.

A majority 97% of local businesses are currently facing major impediments to digital transformation. Hence, digital transformation should be more widespread throughout the organisation, believes 84% of Singapore business leader, while only 36% think that they will reach a point where they will disrupt, rather than being disrupted in the next five years.

The index was compiled in collaboration with Intel and maps the digital transformation progress of mid- to large-sized companies and examines the digital hopes and fears of business leaders. The study was launched in 2016 and this is the first year Singapore was included.

According to Dell, the top five barriers to digital transformation are: lack of budget and resources, data privacy and cybersecurity concerns, lack of the right in-house skill sets and expertise, lack of the right technologies to work at the speed of business, and weak digital governance and structure.

Nonetheless, businesses have been seen taking steps to overcome their barriers, along with the threat of being outmanoeuvred from more nimble, innovative players.

This is apparent as 66% of Singapore businesses have been seen to leverage on digital technologies to accelerate new product and services development, 52% of businesses are building security and privacy into all devices, applications and algorithms, 44% are striving to develop the right skills sets and expertise in-house, and 48% are sharing knowledge across functions, by equipping IT leaders with business skills and business leaders with IT skills.

Meanwhile, companies are now turning to emerging technologies and cybersecurity to power and secure their digital transformation as more than half of local businesses intent to invest in cybersecurity, IoT technologies and artificial intelligence in the next one to three years.

Eric Goh, managing director and vice-president, Singapore Enterprise Business, Dell EMC, says, “The next digital era has arrived and it’s reshaping the way we live, work and conduct business. Which means that time is of the essence. Genuine transformation needs to happen now, and it needs to be radical.”

“Only technology-centred organisations will reap the rewards offered by a digital business model, including the ability to move quickly, to automate everything and to delight customers. This is why digital transformation needs to be a number one priority,” adds Goh.