Are Singapore’s Businesses Ready to Thrive in the Digital Age?

“Who led the digital transformation of your company? A chief executive officer, a chief technology officer or COVID-19?” This popular meme was circulating the digital space in 2020. Well, nothing spurred the need to have a digital transformation blueprint faster than the COVID-19 pandemic.


Anticipating change, staying relevant

Companies face enormous pressure to remain agile and relevant in this era of rapid technological change. In a recent study done by Microsoft and IDC Asia Pacific, 73 per cent of Singapore organisations – both mid – and large-sized – have accelerated the pace of digitalisation in response to the pandemic. 

The Singapore government recognises that the digitalisation of business processes is a growing necessity in the current pandemic. As part of the Fortitude Budget back in the early days of the pandemic, a much-needed emphasis was placed on digital transformation; over S$500 million was allocated to support businesses’ digital transformation during the pandemic.

Building a Smart Nation 

Citing the 2017 National Day rally on living smart and building a smart nation, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong urged businesses and Singaporeans to take full advantage of information technology (IT). Leveraging on IT to stay relevant, generate new jobs and new business possibilities. 

Given the country’s vision to develop Singapore into a Smart Nation, initiatives like Singapore Quick Response Code (SGQR) were stepping stones to encourage SMEs to embrace change and go digital. 


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Hawkers this Chinese New Year were selling food, decorations and clothes online as a part of the Double Happiness initiative. This programme aims to promote hawker culture and Chinese New Year traditions while adopting online solutions amid Singapore’s digital push. About more than 20 hawkers joined this initiative when it was launched.

 

Digital Transformation in Reality

The economic uncertainties caused by the pandemic have raised some of the challenges that SMEs face when it comes to digital transformation. Despite the renewed effort, many businesses still face issues digitalising in such a difficult period. And even though 83 per cent of SMEs in Singapore have digital transformation blueprints in place, only two in five SMEs perceived their efforts to be successful. Drilling down to the core of the matter; SMEs do face a number of barriers to transforming their businesses digitally. The most common concerns are high cost (56%) and lack of digitally skilled workforce (40%).


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Digitalisation in Supply Chain 

Let’s be honest; supply chains aren’t always efficient. There is still room for improvement, and it is looking like disruptive technology will help us get there. From robotics to the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data, disruptive technologies will allow businesses to alter their supply chain to be more sustainable and efficient. However, the revolution in supply chain management is far from over. 

While Covid-19 accelerated the need for change, transformation still requires impetus from the organisations’ leadership team. To help give logistics firms in Singapore a much-needed boost to their digitalisation efforts, C-level executives can sign up for the Masterclass in Transformational Strategies for Supply Chain and Logistics Managementconducted by The Logistics Institute Asia Pacific – a collaboration between the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Georgia Institute of Technology. The course would provide the much needed skills, knowledge and confidence for leaders to drive their digital transformation.

Addressing the high cost and lack of skilled workforce faced by businesses, funded programmes such as the Masterclass can help Singapore businesses. As the world shifts to become more interconnected and digital-based, it is clear that digitising your business and your supply chain is not only the logical next step but the crucial one. This is even more so for Singapore, in order to keep Singapore relevant in this new industry age 4.0.

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