Asean firms lacking digital strategies: Accenture survey

  • Asean businesses not taking full advantage of interactive opportunities presented by digital technologies
  • Singapore-based companies more likely to be ahead of the curve; Indonesia and Philippines least likely

Asean firms lacking digital strategies: Accenture surveyCUSTOMER-facing digital strategies are a consideration for the majority of businesses in Asean, including the Philippines, but only a third say they are at the heart of corporate strategy.
According to a new study by Accenture (The Accenture Asean Business Survey), the region’s businesses are not taking full advantage of the interactive opportunities presented by digital technologies.
In fact, the research found that digital has not been leveraged to its full potential to enable greater collaboration and flexibility among employees in the workplace; and Singapore-based companies are more likely to be ahead of the curve and Indonesia and Philippines least likely.
The survey of over 400 business executives across six South-East Asian markets showed that 66% of respondents say they face challenges in meeting customer service expectations and yet only 34% say customer-facing digital strategies are at the heart of their corporate strategy.
At the same time, two-thirds (63%) of responding companies complain that they face challenges in finding talent with the right digital experience.
South-East Asian companies are not taking full advantage of the potential of digital technologies, according to the research, and are largely using these new media for “broadcasting” information, rather than engaging in any form of co-creation or dialogue with their consumers.

  • 81% use digital channels to provide basic product or service information; and only 58% tap into multimedia
  • 63% provide real-time customer service advice, but only 51 percent solicit ideas and innovations and 56 percent listen to and track customer

Those newer to digital strategy are at the beginning of the curve and so are using Web 1.0 initiatives such as websites and online advertising, the survey indicated.
The survey showed that while almost one-third (29%) of responding companies say they have not changed their digital spend over the past year and are not planning on changing in the next 12 months, a majority (51%) say they are seeing small net spend increases on customer-facing digital strategies.
Fifteen percent say they have increased and are increasing their digital spend by over 50%. However, more than half (52%) of businesses say they are not measuring the ROI (return on investment) of customer-facing digital activities.
“South-East Asia … is no longer a ‘future potential’ digital market but already has among the world’s most active digital consumers,” said Trent Mayberry, managing director for technology at Accenture Asean.
“Yet, our research shows that businesses have yet to make digital strategies central to their thinking and are not using the interactive kinds of technologies that the region’s technology-savvy consumers would expect from them. This points to a good business case for more investment, but also for more effective measurement of the return on that investment.”
According to the research, a large majority of South-East Asian organizations (70%) believe there is a divide in digital knowledge between senior managers and digital natives within their company.
And while online-based communication tools and social media platforms appear to be the most commonly used digital tools, only 29% of respondents said they use them for internal collaboration to a great extent.
More than half (55%) said they use them only to some extent. The research suggests that, for those that use them, their use is not being formally measured.
“Our experience tells us that the companies with the most advanced consumer facing digital strategies are also those who make use of such technologies internally,” said Marco Ryan, managing director for Asean at Accenture Interactive.
“The challenge is as much one of culture as it is one of technology. Employees who make full use of digital and social media platforms to collaborate with each other are more likely to engage more effectively with consumers.
“For instance, Accenture research finds that companies looking to leverage the high social media engagement are using gamification to create differentiation,” he added.
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