Businesses often find themselves lagging behind digitally. Source: Shutterstock

Businesses often find themselves lagging behind digitally. Source: Shutterstock

Asia Pacific businesses are laggards when catching up digitally

MOST business leaders recognize transformation as an imperative. However, many are unable to successfully change themselves to meet the demands of the new digital era.

In the coming months, however, failing to catch up could cause serious damages.

According to a recent report by law firm Baker McKenzie, 75 percent of businesses in the Asia Pacific acknowledge that they are falling behind digitally. When it comes to leveraging new technologies, only 25 percent of respondents said they are confident they are staying ahead of the curve.

Often, businesses that suffer the full brunt are those who were not born digital-first.

According to the law firm’s Asia Pacific Head of Technology, Media, and Telecoms Adrian Lawrence, these businesses often fail to recognize that disruptions are not isolated, and no industry is immune.

“Firms that are failing to appreciate that disruption requires a top-down, across the business response are falling behind, and risk reaching a point where they will never catch up.”

The report recommends that businesses be cognizant of the fact that accelerating technological change comes with increased risks.

One such risk is data breaches. 34 percent of executives recognize the gravity of breaches and acknowledge that data privacy cannot be an afterthought. A key concern of both businesses and consumers, data breaches are disastrous.

When the theft of information occurs, all facets of a business suffers. This will bring along irreversible financial and reputational damage, which often leads to the demise of a business.

Thus, the move to prioritize data privacy is a wise one. It adds credibility points to a company, winning customer trust and loyalty.

The report also showed that most companies are choosing to invest in technologies that can improve the capturing and usage of data which indicates a shift towards recognizing that quality data provides a competitive edge.

Also, when it comes to implementation, big data was ranked as most important. This was followed by cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and client relationship management systems.

In terms of roadblocks, most business leaders see regulators and policymakers as the main reason their business is falling behind digitally. Almost half of the executives involved (46 percent) perceive them to be severely behind the digital curve.

When policymakers are out of step with the rate at which technology is progressing, the laws they implement fail to provide appropriate support.

As a result, organizations lack the liberty to deploy technologies that can drive innovation. Constrained by multiple parameters, the collaboration between various industrial players can’t be fostered.

The march forward in this age of constant disruptions is not an easy one, but it need not be lonely. To thrive, organizations must work with regulators and industry partners, to ensure that they move forward together, ultimately benefiting all involved.