SINGAPORE: Digital transformation remains very much a work in progress for companies across Asia Pacific, according to new research which suggests that only around 17% are delivering a genuinely new digital experience.

For its Digital Transformation Survey, OgilvyRED polled 82 respondents in senior marketing positions in companies in Asia with more than 500 employees.

The strategy and innovation consultancy reported that 63% were currently in the process of digital transformation, while 13% had a plan and were about to start the process; just 7% had done nothing.

"The journey to true digital transformation is, in fact, a road less far travelled than we might think," the report noted.

That was especially true for FMCG businesses with previously disintermediated consumer relationships – these are more focused on marketing transformation.

The top four outcomes sought in this regard included extending reach to new audiences, increasing relevance and engagement with consumers, transforming the way value is delivered to consumers and increasing consumer satisfaction.

"Marketers are taking a full funnel approach to marketing transformation," the report observed.

It added that many organisations are investing heavily in digital marketing: 86% of respondents had seen significant increases in their digital budget over the past three years while the overall budget had remained broadly stable.

"Increased revenue and competitive advantage are clearly seen as high priority outcomes," the report said.

Developing new products and services and improving the supply chain were given a lower priority, but this would be a mistake, according to OgilvyRED.

"As digital transformation opens up new data and insights, new service opportunities and new distribution channels, marketing goals need to be closely aligned to operational goals."

While most marketers have an idea of where they want to get to, they identified several barriers that are hampering their progress.

Internal change management was the most challenging, as they struggled with the complexity of bringing together all departments – marketing, IT, sales, customer service, R&D, supply chain management – to deliver a truly consumer-centric experience.

Alongside that, many pointed to a lack of expertise in many areas, from data analytics to cross-channel execution.

"We need experts who have already been on this journey," one respondent told OgilvyRED. "We don't have time to make mistakes."

Data sourced from OgilvyRED; additional content by WARC staff