Asia Pacific businesses are advancing on digital transformation, CenturyLink global study finds

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More than half of large APAC companies have implemented formal digital transformation strategies and are eyeing improved customer experience, greater ability to manage risk and reduced operational costs

Enterprises in Asia Pacific (APAC) are leading the way in digital transformation, according to a new global study conducted by 451 Research and CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL). Fifty-seven per cent of large companies across Asia Pacific now have a formal strategy for digital transformation and are actively digitising some of their business processes, compared with 47 per cent in Europe and 45 per cent in North America, the comprehensive study of more than 600 large enterprises across APAC found.

As the adoption of digital disrupts every industry, it is critical that large enterprises transform the way they do business to keep pace with the competition. According to the study, the three key factors driving digital transformation are desires to improve customer experience (44 per cent), manage risk (43 per cent), and reduce operational costs (41 per cent).

However, despite leading the way in embarking on digital transformation, the majority of enterprises in APAC are mindful about how long it will take to successfully complete a full transformation within the organisation. Almost two thirds (63 per cent) of respondents estimate that it will take three to six years to achieve a company-wide digital transformation, and another seven per cent estimate going beyond seven years.

This is largely due to the length of time it takes to overcome complexities that surround digital transformation, both from a business and a technological standpoint. The top three barriers to successful digital transformation identified by enterprises in APAC are:

  • potential failure to secure sensitive data – 35 per cent
  • inflexible IT systems and lack of operational agility – 32 per cent
  • inability to migrate legacy IT and business applications to the cloud – 31 per cent

“In a global business economy dominated by disruption, reinvention and escalating threats, speed to market is of the essence,” said Gery Messer, CenturyLink managing director, Asia Pacific. “While it’s encouraging to see the majority of enterprises in APAC have begun digital transformation projects, the complexity that surrounds their journeys can result in significant roadblocks. However, by simplifying the foundational steps behind digital adoption, APAC enterprises can focus their resources on innovation and customer experience, and truly lead the world in digital transformation.”

On top of long-term commitment and planning, the study identifies choosing the right partner as a critical factor for success. Fifty-five per cent of companies are using or expect a need for an IT or communications service provider partner in support of their digital transformation programs, and just under half (49 per cent) use or will use a specialist cloud service provider.

“Digital transformation programs are now being viewed as strategic, long-term initiatives that receive top-level executive backing in APAC,” said Agatha Poon, research director, APAC Services, 451 Research. “Sixty-nine per cent of businesses are actually increasing their spending levels to push through the business benefits and commercial gains they expect as digital transformation outcomes. A critical aspect of these transformation roadmaps is entrusting some of the transformational fundamentals to third-party service providers, enabling business leaders to refocus internal resources on developing new services and applications to support innovative business initiatives.”

The digital transformation survey was conducted by 451 Research in the first quarter of 2017, including interviews with 613 decision-makers across businesses with 500 or more employees in Australia, China, Hong Kong India, Japan and Singapore. The survey ran concurrently among businesses in North America (the United States and Canada) and Europe (Austria, UK, Germany and Switzerland).

The full results of the study are published today as part of the “APAC Business in Pursuit of Digital Transformation” report by 451 Research and CenturyLink.


About CenturyLink

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) is a global communications and IT services company focused on connecting its customers to the power of the digital world. CenturyLink offers network and data systems management, big data analytics, managed security services, hosting, cloud, and IT consulting services. The company provides broadband, voice, video, advanced data and managed network services over a robust 265,000-route-mile U.S. fibre network and a 360,000-route-mile international transport network. Visit CenturyLink for more information.

About 451 Research

451 Research is a preeminent information technology research and advisory company. With a core focus on technology innovation and market disruption, the company provides essential insight for leaders of the digital economy. More than 100 analysts and consultants deliver that insight via syndicated research, advisory services and live events to over 1,000 client organizations in North America, Europe and around the world. Founded in 2000 and headquartered in New York, 451 Research is a division of The 451 Group.