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Hong Kong Companies Preparing to Cash In On a US$9 Billion Digital Transformation Bonus

According to new research from Forrester, a suitable digital software platform can make a huge difference.

Last year, IDC estimated that digital transformation would add an estimated US$9 billion to Hong Kong’s GDP by 2021, with digital products or services accounting for about 60% of total GDP. It also predicted a dramatic acceleration in the pace of digital transformation across the various Asia Pacific economies. And it looks like this is happening – fast!

According to a new study conducted by Forrester Consulting and commissioned by SAP, some 58% of Asia Pacific firms are currently undergoing digital transformation, and 42% have already completed significant portions of their transformation agenda. In practice that means they have implemented at least two intelligent technologies, the most common being IoT (93%), followed by machine learning (85%), virtual or augmented reality (80%), AI (79%) and Blockchain (74%).

The trend isn’t limited to one or two industries. Forrester found that a broad spectrum of enterprises are recognising the potential. For example, consumer products firms place a high priority on digital transformation initiatives to enable new business models (88%), deliver personalized outcomes (85%) and compete as an ecosystem (79%).

Manufacturers have also launched digital transformation initiatives to do things like enable smart factories (93%), improve customer centricity (90%) and deploy digital supply networks (90%). And, as economic pressures bite harder, retailers are following the digital trail to personalize services to target individuals rather than segments (86%), automate and optimize pricing (91%), tracking, gain visibility and optimize the supply chain (86%) and cross-sell (84%).

Even utility operators, which have traditionally been insulated from economic ups and downs, are investing in digital transformation to improve the operational aspects of their businesses, such as outage management (98%).

A challenging process

The picture is not uniformly rosy, and not all digital transformations succeed. A story in the September issue of Forbes suggested that many hit roadblocks and up to 70% of them actually fail. 

Forrester notes that Asia Pacific firms face challenges, primarily with security and privacy (38%), finding a partner (36%), and costs of individual components (34%). However, using the right tools, and adopting a suitable digital software platform can make a huge difference. Many companies are turning to solutions, like SAP Analytics Cloud, to leverage their speed, efficiency and mobility, and meet business requirements.

SAP Analytics Cloud is a smart, intuitive, and enterprise-ready application. It consolidates predictive analytics, business intelligence, and collaboration to help business leaders make data-driven decisions. This is critical in today’s commercial environment, where digital disruptions can occur at any minute, and actionable data is an essential ingredient when it comes to mapping out an effective survival strategy.

By being able to take action on data, enterprises can efficiently organise resources, pinpoint potential chokepoints ahead, and visualize outcomes. Companies can also integrate systems and processes and eliminate data silos, which helps to quickly realise value and accelerate ROI.

But, the real key to digital transformation success is a dual focus on people and technology. HR cloud solutions, such as SAP SuccessFactors, provide companies with faster insights, better user experiences and the ability to innovate.

An analog future isn’t an option

Ultimately, going digital is no longer optional – it’s an essential, no matter what the industry. The Forrester study offers a few tips for businesses to bear in mind when navigating their own transformations.

  • Identify digital initiatives to address strategic goals – Businesses must evaluate digital transformation initiatives relative to operational processes, priorities, and strategic goals.
  • Evaluate combinations of intelligent technologies to address digital priorities – Use intelligent technologies in combination to maximize the success of addressing mission-critical processes and business problems. 
  • Deploy scalable intelligent technology solutions to address industry-specific needs – Start by understanding how scalable, reusable technologies can address multiple use cases, intelligent processes, and business applications across the organization. 
  • Empower line-of-business users to drive the selection of use cases and application of intelligent technology – Business executives must play an active role in selecting technology solutions to enable industry-specific processes and business operations. Working closely with IT colleagues ensures technology solutions meet important requirements. 
  • Establish an ongoing process to ensure that the digital transformation road map is aligned with intelligent technology investments – Assemble a cross-organizational team to create a process to evaluate, deploy, and manage transformative intelligent technology solutions on an ongoing basis. 

Today, adapting to the demands of a digital economy is an important consideration for companies interested in remaining competitive and staying relevant. Especially for Hong Kong businesses that want to capture a piece of the estimated US$9 billion GDP boost that is on the way, and the digital products or services that will soon make up more than half of the city’s output.

Click these links to read the full Forrester APAC Digital Transformation report, and learn more about SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP SuccessFactors.

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