1 in 2 Malaysian Businesses Believe They’ll Struggle to Meet Changing Customer Demands Within Five Years

Just 3% of Malaysian businesses are Digital Leaders, according to the Dell Technologies Digital Transformation Index (the DT Index). The DT Index, which was completed in collaboration with Intel, maps digital transformation progress of mid to large-sized companies and examines the digital hopes and fears of business leaders. The study reveals that 51% of Malaysian business leaders believe their organisation will struggle to meet changing customer demands and 48% fear they’ll be left behind within just five years.

The DT Index’s calculations are based on companies’ perceived performance in the following areas: delivering against the core attributes of a digital business**, their existing IT strategy, workforce transformation strategy and planned investments.

Two years after the DT Index’s initial launch in 2016, Dell Technologies and Intel have more than doubled the scope of the research, from 16 countries to 42 and benchmarked 4,600 businesses, using the following groupings:

According to the DT Index, only 18% of Malaysian businesses are categorised as Digital Adopters. These companies have advanced digital plans and innovations in place to power their transformation.

It also reveals that about half of the businesses surveyed (51%) are in the bottom two groups, meaning they’re either moving too slowly or don’t even have a digital plan in place.

Barriers to digital transformation
According to the research, the top five barriers to digital transformation are:

  1. Lack of budget and resources
  2. Data privacy and cybersecurity concerns
  3. Lack of the right in-house skill sets and expertise
  4. Lack of senior support and sponsorship
  5. Immature digital culture: lack of alignment and collaboration across the company

These barriers are hampering digital transformation efforts. For instance, 85% of Malaysian business leaders believe that digital transformation should be more widespread throughout the organisation, while only 10% strongly agree they’ll disrupt rather than being disrupted within five years.

“We’ve talked about being on the cusp of tremendous change for some time now. That’s no longer the case,” said KT Ong, Country Manager – Malaysia, Dell EMC. “The next digital era has arrived and it’s reshaping the way we live, work and conduct business. Which means that time is of the essence. Genuine transformation needs to happen now, and it needs to be radical.”

Conquering their challenges
The research indicates that businesses are taking steps to overcome their barriers, along with the threat of being outmaneuvered from more nimble, innovative players. We can see this with the:

  • 56% of businesses building security and privacy into all devices, applications and algorithms
  • 56% striving to develop the right skills sets and expertise in-house, such as teaching staff how to code
  • 54% of Malaysian businesses using digital technologies to accelerate new product/services development
  • 47% sharing knowledge across functions, by equipping IT leaders with business skills and business leaders with IT skills

Companies are also turning to emerging technologies and cybersecurity to power (and secure) their transformation. Planned investments by Malaysian businesses within the next one to three years:

A number of businesses are beginning to experiment with nascent technologies. Almost a quarter (24%) will be investing in cognitive systems, 16% in quantum computing and VR/AR, 14% in commercial drones and 13% intend to explore blockchain technology.

“It’s an exciting time to be in business. We’re at a crucial intersection – where technology, business and mankind meet to create a better, more connected world,” added Ong. “However, only technology-centered organisations will reap the rewards offered by a digital business model, including the ability to move quickly, to automate everything and to delight customers. This is why digital transformation needs to be a number one priority.”


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