Malaysia Leads APAC In Showing Returns From Digital Transformation Projects

Workday, President Asia, Rob Wells, addresses business leaders at Workday’s Discover Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur

A study by Workday, a global leader in enterprise technology for finance and human resources, has found that Malaysian companies are leading in Asia Pacific in quantifying the return from their digital transformation initiatives, with 58 percent of C-Level executives seeing measurable returns. By comparison, only 47 percent of companies in Singapore and 34 percent in Japan had seen returns.

The study titled “Digital Dysfunction in Asia Pacific” was conducted in partnership with IDC Asia Pacific, and looks at the barriers to digital transformation from the perspectives of 1,000 C-level Executives and business leaders in Human Resources (HR), Finance and IT.

The findings come as the Malaysian government has announced commitments to digitalisation this year and driving the Malaysian digital economy forwards. Malaysia’s digital economy is projected to contribute 21 percent of its GDP by 2022.

When looking at the key challenges to digital transformation, almost half (49 percent) of C-level executives in Malaysia see organisational silos as a key challenge – an environment where a company’s departments do not share operational information with one another. Frustration with organisational silos was also felt by the other business leaders surveyed, with 73 percent of HR leaders and 54 percent of IT leaders in Malaysia highlighting this as a key barrier to transformation.

When it comes to measurement, more than two-thirds (69 percent) of C-level executives in Malaysia say they do not currently have a balanced scorecard approach to align and measure digital transformation initiatives. 47 percent of C-level executives also cite a lack of common technologies and shared metrics as key barriers to cross-functional collaboration, with more than one third (34 percent) saying their organisations need to invest more in technology.

More than half (52 percent) say that their digital transformation initiatives are uncoordinated, with three quarters (73 percent) of HR departments lacking implementation plans for digital transformation, along with half (50 percent) of finance teams and 38% of IT teams.

From the perspectives of HR and finance leaders, almost all (93 percent) of HR leaders and 80 percent of finance leaders agree that an integrated HR and finance technology solution is needed for greater visibility – the highest in the Asia Pacific region. One in five (20 percent) finance teams and 13 percent of HR teams in Malaysian companies have systems which are fully integrated and have been successfully transformed – which was similar to other countries in the region.

 Rob Wells, President, Workday Asia, said, “As Malaysia’s digital economy rapidly expands it is great to see that local companies are keeping pace and leading the region in their efforts to digitally transform. Despite this success, there still remains work to do to break down company silos to effect change at an enterprise level.
“Investments in technology can help companies disassemble information silos and reimagine the business in a way that allows an organisation to stay competitive in a disrupt-or-be-disrupted world. The advent of cloud technology in Financial and HR management will allow business planning to be more strategic, collaborative and real-time, especially if brought together in one single system for maximum benefit.”
 Daniel-Zoe Jimenez, AVP & Head of DX, Future Enterprise & SMB, IDC Asia Pacific, said, “The survey results are consistent with IDC’s research, and show that while 93 percent organisations in Malaysia are undergoing digital transformation, 55 percent are stuck in their digital transformation journey.
“The key theme that comes through in this research is the lack of collaboration and integration among different functions across the region. Digital transformation is a team sport and requires strong support from the top and close collaboration among team members, from HR and Finance to IT and digital teams. Key investment in the right technologies will help both increase employee and finance visibility and drive cross departmental collaboration, accelerating digital transformation success.”

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