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Digitalisation is mandatory for competitive business

Digital transformation goes beyond technology as it encompasses cultural and operational shifts in the business landscape.

Digitalisation is no longer an option but a critical requirement for maintaining a competitive edge  in today’s rapidly evolving digital-first marketplace, according to Stanley Sum, Partner for Advisory at KPMG China.

In an interview, Sum said that cultural shifts within organisations play a crucial role in embracing digital change, saying that the digital journey of an organisation is often challenging and that successful companies invest substantial effort in fostering cultural change.

“We saw action taken by leaders ranging from knowledge sharing, establishing innovation, team hop, investing in teams digital capability, or even revamping organisational structure or performance metrics to break through silos and encourage digital adoption,” he said.

Sum mentioned that leaders take these actions because they understand that digitalisation includes effective communication and changing mindsets to achieve the desired results.

“They understand digital is not a technology only play, but transforming how business operates. Before a structured way in communicating such change and changing people's mind, it is difficult to achieve expected results thereafter,” he said.

Sum stressed that companies need to focus on core digital capabilities.

“It's not just about a particular system or technology,” he said, “but being capable of identifying, collecting, and analysing data, having an agile mechanism to translate data into insight and action, and digitally enabling the workforce.”

He also noted that achieving these capabilities can be complex due to legacy platforms, change resistance, silo mentality, and competing priorities, emphasising that strong leadership, governance, and commitment from the top are vital.

Sum also pointed out common mistakes companies make in their digitization efforts, with the most prevalent error being focusing too much on technology and neglecting to transform operational methods.

“Digitalisation involves changes in various aspects of a business, and not everything will go as planned,” he remarked, emphasising the need for agility and proper governance to review progress and adapt where necessary.

Sum urged companies to view digitalisation as a company-wide initiative, rather than a technology issue or a function-specific task.

“Looking holistically to get everyone involved is crucial in driving transformation for an organisation,” he concluded.

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