MARKETS & INVESTING | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

A fourth of Hong Kong firms invested over US$1m in digital transformation in 2018: research

Over a third said total spending on technology may grow more than 10% in the next three years.

One in four or 25% of Hong Kong businesses invested more than US$1m in digital transformation products and services over the past year, according to telecommunications and services provider Telstra’s Disruptive Decision-Making research.

The study, which surveyed 3,810 senior decision-makers from 12 industries across 14 markets globally, found that almost one in 10 or 9% of firms spent more than US$5m. This figure is set to increase as 35% of respondents said their company’s total spending on digital transformation would grow by more than 10% in the next three years.

However, when it came to measuring the impact of digital transformation, showing hard outcomes such as financial returns of this investment was difficult, Telstra noted. Where Hong Kong businesses identified the most effective outcomes of their digital transformation was in increased customer experience.

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“Measuring the progress and success of any digital transformation strategy or individual project is an absolute essential. But the metrics in which we measure success are just as important,” Paul Abfalter, Telstra’s head of North Asia and Global Wholesale, said in a statement.

“Whilst it was great to see strong digital decision-making having a measurable impact on increasing customer experience, organisations in Hong Kong are finding it harder to realise financial results from digital transformation. In fact, of all the business outcomes we surveyed, streamlining business costs and increasing revenue growth saw the lowest levels of outcome achievement in Hong Kong,” Abfalter added.

The success of digital transformation initiatives undertaken by Hong Kong companies were found to fall short of expectations due to their heavy emphasis on technology and lack of focus on people and processes.

Whilst the research found that a company-wide approach to digital transformation is significantly more likely to result in success, 60% of Hong Kong organisations are allowing business departments to drive individual digital initiatives, compared to 51% globally.

“The research demonstrates that Hong Kong organisations have an opportunity to integrate digital transformation activity across all areas of the business, but this needs to be led by a clear company strategy from the C-suite and company boards down,” Abfalter highlighted. 

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