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Less than a quarter of digital transformation efforts in Asia Pacific are optimised - study

Only 22.7% of digital transformation efforts in Asia Pacific are optimised, according to new research from NTT.

NTT has released its 2021 Global Managed Services Report, which found that one year since the onset of the pandemic, organisations globally have undergone major transformations as they seek to strengthen resilience, increase agility and deliver greater efficiencies.

 In Asia Pacific, 89.7% of business and IT leaders agree COVID-19 has caused significant changes to their operating processes, while 91.8% say it has accelerated their digital transformation strategy. 

Changes to operating processes, along with digital transformation acceleration have presented organisations with an opportunity to reimagine their technology strategies and how it aligns to the business. The report found 92.4% of technology teams globally agree their overall technology strategy is aligned, either fully (49.8%) or partially (42.6%) to the organisations business strategy needs. 

This highlights how IT teams have become more responsive to organisational demands. Similarly, it has pushed business stakeholders to fast-track services and solutions already held by IT, such as enabling a distributed workforce, to a far wider audience.

However, despite greater strategy alignment, some disconnect in priorities exists between the business and IT. Globally, 69.9% of operations teams believe the need for a technology strategy that drives business efficiency opportunities is crucial, yet only 48.0% of IT teams agree. Further, 69.6% of operations teams globally consider speed and agility a key component of technology strategy, in contrast to only 53.4% of IT teams.

"The unprecedented challenges that COVID-19 has impressed upon businesses has forced the issue of business and IT alignment into the limelight," says Damian Skendrovic, Executive Vice President at NTT Ltd. 

"And there is still work to do to ensure core orgnisational priorities are understood by all. IT is under an immense amount of pressure to deliver against present requirements, while concurrently planning for future delivery and innovation," he says. 

"With technology and agility front and centre of the business conversation, alignment of priorities is no longer optional, it is critical for the sustainability and resilience of the business."

As global organisations seek to strengthen resilience, the research highlights significant differences in approach. While some consider cost optimisation as a way of creating greater resilience, others are focused on being bold and brave. They view the pandemic as a chance to take advantage of market opportunities and to scale, with 33.8% globally pivoting technology focus to achieve this.

Interestingly, this figure rises to 41.7% if an organisation currently has at least three-quarters of their IT managed by third parties. On the other hand, if an organisation has little to none of their IT managed by a third party, the percentage drops significantly to just 25.7% prepared to pivot focus.

"While not all organisations view disruption as an opportunity, one-third have adjusted course because they see a chance to do things better and take advantage; particularly in relation to enabling a more distributed workforce and innovative technologies," says Skendrovic. 

"Bold and brave businesses are approaching resilience in a new and innovative light, and trusted technology partners are helping them achieve this."

The research also highlights how embracing emerging technologies and the ability to automate and deploy innovation at speed as key strategies underpinning the future of business success. And while, in Asia Pacific, 93.9% of business and IT leaders agree emerging technology is crucial for their technology strategy, less than half (43.6%) believe they have the technology available to meet the organisations immediate objectives.

This brings to light the conundrum faced by many global organisations. The need to balance present needs, while also investing in technology and process modernisation to capture opportunities to scale and evolve in short, to be bold and brave.

"Rapid change has been forced onto IT teams. While business stakeholders expect to exercise a degree of agility in execution IT is saddled with managing their own challenges," says Skendrovic.

"From managing vendor complexity, which further extends to integrating disparate systems, along with emerging technologies and legacy infrastructure; through to budget constraints and a lack of skills to keep pace with business demands," he says.

As speed to market becomes a primary competitive differentiator, optimising digital transformation efforts is critical. Organisations who showcase the characteristics of being bold and brave are 50% more likely to optimise their digital transformation efforts and partner with managed services providers for over half of their IT support.

Skendrovic says reducing the mounting infrastructure administration pressure on IT teams by embracing a DevOps culture and platform automation, allows IT to optimise transformation efforts by focusing on innovation, and ultimately results in better Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) and cost-optimisation, as well as the delivery of continuous improvement across the business.

"While change isn't always perceived as positive in the moment, it is important to remember that transformation presents new opportunities for agility, scale, and innovation."