Asian firms fail to adopt new tools

20 August 2012

SINGAPORE: Brand owners in Asia Pacific may be limiting their prospects for growth having failed to adopt the latest technologies, a report has revealed.

CA Technologies, the software firm, and Vanson Bourne, the research group, polled 685 chief information officers globally, and broke out the results for nine Asian markets, including Australia, China, India, South Korea and Thailand.

Overall, only 17% of the panel were involved in defining business strategies at present. A key issue encouraging this trend was that IT is still typically seen as a cost, not an investment.

The analysis further stated that 81% of the sample thought a "lack of digital literacy" among senior management could be limiting growth rates.

By contrast, just 19% of participants believed that the leaders of their company fully understood the capabilities and possible impact of new and emerging technologies.

"The sorts of problems senior-level digital illiteracy can cause for the business include responding slowly to market changes, missed business and investment opportunities, poor competitiveness, slower time to market and IT investments that are underachieving," the study said.

"Senior managers must acknowledge that the value from IT comes not from technology but from the ability to manage and exploit information."

More positively, around 75% of contributors thought that enhancing in-house IT capabilities was considered to be "strategically important", even if this was often at the functional level.

"Asian business leaders today have largely accepted that IT has a role to play in enhancing the competitiveness of businesses," said Lionel Lim, President, Asia Pacific & Japan, CA Technologies.

"For IT to be truly transformational to businesses, leaders need to elevate the role of CIOs to be more strategic than operational."

Despite the somewhat negative situation currently observable, Lim predicted attitudes and policies would change as the major shifts associated with digitisation swept through the region.

"CIOs are much more in tune with their businesses than they were 10 or 20 years ago," he added. "We see CIOs becoming more involved as a member of the business leadership team and communicating the value of technology more effectively."

Data sourced from CIO India; additional content by Warc staff