Businesses across ASEAN are the most confident about digital readiness when compared to the wider Asia Pacific (APAC) region, according to new findings from Cisco.
The study, “ready, steady, unsure - a technology perspective into Asia Pacific readiness for digital transformation” found that the vast majority (94 per cent) of the six largest economies in ASEAN are confident their digital transformation strategy is appropriate to help them stay competitive, with 93 per cent saying they are prepared to adopt the most relevant technologies to accelerate their digital transformation.
Furthermore, these figures are significantly higher than the rest of the APAC region, with 84 per cent stating that they are confident that their digital transformation strategy is appropriate to stay competitive.
“Modernisation of IT infrastructure is an absolute necessity to succeed in a digital world,” said Vish Iyer, vice president of architectures across APJ at Cisco.
"Today, 95 per cent of IT operations are still done manually, which means it is very hard and time-consuming for IT to keep up with the business demands and growing number of users and devices.
"Cisco is helping companies make the foundational aspects – their networks, private and public clouds, and cyber security framework - much simpler to not just upgrade, but also manage, consume and protect.
"This way, we are able to help companies shift their focus from IT management to the realisation of new value, new innovation and new business models."
The study also found that smaller organisations (seven per cent) have the potential to leapfrog larger regional organisations (19 per cent) of more than 10,000 employees in regards to their IT development primarily because small companies are less burned by legacy systems and a larger user base compared to larger more established organisations.
“Over the next decade, technological innovation will accelerate the pace of change across industries,” said Naveen Menon, president of ASEAN at Cisco.
"The ASEAN region and companies operating here have a unique opportunity to leapfrog the more developed nations on this front as they do not have legacy IT infrastructure encumbering them.
"However, without the right resources - especially budgets and talent – companies will be limited in their ability to lay the right foundation to adopt and develop technologies they truly need to accelerate their transformation.
"This is the perfect opportunity for policy makers, academia and businesses to work collaboratively to groom future talent that can transform entire economies.
“At Cisco, we are proud of the role that our networking academy has been playing on this front. Since its inception, the networking academy has trained more than 885,000 professionals across ASEAN."
A total of 1,325 senior IT managers were surveyed as part of this study across companies with more than 500 employees in various sectors across the APAC region.
Across ASEAN, cloud, cyber security, big data and analytics and automation were all found to be the top technology sectors having the biggest influence on digital future of their business according to the IT managers who were surveyed as part of this study.
However, despite the high confidence and awareness of technologies shaping the digital future of regional businesses, adoption rates are relatively low across the region, with the results indicating that only 60 per cent have started to adopt cloud while 59 per cent cyber security solutions and 55 per cent big data and analytics while 48 per cent automation across ASEAN.
Surprisingly, despite the high confidence level, only 47 per cent of respondents admitted to having a reactive approach and implementing security solutions and upgrades only after a breach; this despite its critical role in the digital transformation of an organisation.
Low adoption rates are primarily attributed to budget constraints (47 per cent), lack of adequate talent (43 per cent) and unfit IT infrastructure (42 per cent).
To illustrate this, 92 per cent of IT leaders across ASEAN claim that their companies have modernised their IT infrastructure – including networks, data centres and cybersecurity – in the last three years.
However, 46 per cent of those IT leaders admit to ignoring innovation and post-sales support in a bid to lower overall pricing, which has lead to many of them (37 per cent) regretting their decision, which helps to explain the lack of confidence in their IT infrastructure to support new technologies.
Recommendations were suggested as part of the study, including the adoption of an integrated cybersecurity framework, optimisation of the network for cloud and the recognition of the long-term business value of a strong IT foundation defined by scalability, automation and security capabilities.