Only half of Singapore IT leaders say their firm aims to disrupt competitors

Only 49 percent of IT and business leaders in Singapore believe their company is actively seeking to disruption the competition by digitising their business, the lowest among eight markets surveyed in Telstra study.

Just 49 percent of Singapore IT and business decision makers believe their organisation is actively seeking to disrupt competitors, despite 69 percent who say their company is exposed to digital disruption.

Both figures were lower than the global average of 61 percent and 73 percent, respectively, according to a study released Thursday by Telstra. Conducted by Vanson Bourne, the survey polled 1,040 IT and business leaders in eight markets: Singapore, India, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines, the US, and the UK. One hundred respondents were from Singapore.

In addition, 8 percent of respondents in the city-state believed their business was "very exposed" to digital disruption, compared to the global average of 20 percent. And at 49 percent, the number of Singapore leaders who believed their organisation was actively digitising their business to disrupt competitors was the lowest across all markets.

This, however, could be due to the fact that 97 percent believed their company already had a clear strategy around digital transformation, just about the global average of 93 percent.

With regards to the company's IT strategy, 71 percent said it enabled their organisation to only keep up, rather than stay ahead of, with the market. Just 17 percent believed IT helped their company leapfrog the market, lower than the global average of 33 percent. Another 34 percent said IT supported their organisation's business goals, but was unable to move quickly enough.

Globally, 56 percent of respondents felt their organisation would be exposed to a more competitive market in two years, with those in Hong Kong and Australia leading the pack. Their peers in the Philippines believed their company was the least exposed, but expected market disruption to have the greatest impact in the future. Some 75 percent of Indian leaders felt their company would be exposed to future competition and disruption.

Back in Singapore, to be competitive, 79 percent said their organisation would need to outsource commodity infrastructure to third-party service providers to manage and focus internal corporate resources on growth and transformation initiatives.

Another 61 percent perceived technology delivered "as a service" had enabled startup competitors to access technology previously available only to large organisations. This had resulted in increased competition on their own industry. Furthermore, 70 percent their infrastructure would become more commoditised as more businesses purchased cloud-based IT services.

"While the adoption of cloud-based 'as a service' technology has brought huge benefits to many operations such as scalable infrastructure and better utilisation, companies still need the flexibility and underlying connectivity necessary to maintain or enhance a competitive advantage in the marketplace," said Jim Clarke, Telstra's director of international marketing, products, and pricing.

"If an organisation's network underperforms or lacks flexibility, then it jeopardises multiple areas of operation for the modern company," he noted.

Tim Dillon, Tech Research Asia's founder and director who wrote the report, also highlighted the need for businesses to reassess their networking and technology strategies. "Less than 20 percent [globally] state their IT organisation totally supports their business goals, and yet these same business goals are tightly intertwined with digital and business transformation strategies.

"As disruption and competitive activity intensify, it is imperative that companies have the right foundations in place to support their future success," Dillon added.

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