The Guide: Digital Transformation in Singapore
Singapore is one of the countries that has embraced the benefits of digital transformation. The Singapore government has invested heavily in ensuring that there is a conducive environment for onshore and offshore companies offering digital solutions. Since 2010, the government has encouraged both medium and small-sized enterprises to adopt digital transformation in their operations.
This is mainly by offering grants and various incentives to make many businesses consider implementing digital transformation. These include the “Innovative Credit (PIC) Scheme, now-defunct Productivity and the Technology Adoption Programme.” Additionally, the government also offered “the SMEs Digital Go Programme” most recently.
The government grants enable enterprises to fund any new software and hardware project that seeks to digitize business processes. Besides, these grants may also help cover any costs of training that would be necessary for your employees. Acquiring skills allows them to fully utilize new tech tools and technology in implementing your operations.
What is Digital Transformation?
This refers to a process that involves integrating digital technology into various areas of your business. The main aim of digital transformation is to change how businesses operate to help deliver value to their customers for sustainable growth. Thus, the process represents a cultural change that requires any organization to experiment with new solutions and challenge the status quo. This ensures that the organization’s employees don’t get comfortable with poor results or any failure.
Digital transformation is important to all businesses, from small businesses or startups to large enterprises. It provides an effective way to help businesses remain relevant and competitive in this digital era. A successful journey into digital transformation should begin with a problem statement, clear opportunity, and an aspirational goal on what you want to achieve. The objective or aspirational goal may be transforming how businesses conduct business or adopting the latest digital technologies.
The benefits of digital transformation
Business growth comes as good to every entrepreneur, but it is important to understand that this success has a cost when it reaches a given level. Digital transformation entirely changes how your business operates to address these challenges. Here we look at some of the top benefits of digital transformation to your business.
Digital transformation may involve the integration of an SAP or ERP system to shed light on the operations of your businesses in the current process. Integrating such systems helps you identify patterns and trends that you may not have recognized before. With the ability to gain deeper access to daily real-time data, you can maintain the steady running of all the operations in your business.
The other important aspect in the operation of businesses is ensuring transparency across all your teams. For instance, the Accounting team and Customer Success Team address the issue when clients delay making payment rather than waiting for the accounting team to inform everyone.
Implementing an ERP system helps dramatically improve efficiency in your business operations. This includes improving the way employees communicate across different departments and the flow of data within the organization. It also includes the seamless transition over the lifetime of your customer. The enhanced efficiency allows for a more efficient business process, which saves money, time, and resources.
Apart from improving efficiency and overall business operations, digital transformation helps minimize costs. This allows businesses to grow their revenue over time. Integrating relevant systems also helps in the timely recognition of flaws within key business processes. With the timely recognition and response to flaws, businesses are able to maximize opportunities.
Besides, digital transformation helps improve transparency in business management and various business aspects. Both the management and employees can enhance their best practices and grow their revenue. This is through timely flaws recognition, evaluating the trends within business operations, and maximizing data-driven opportunities.
Many organizations incur lots of expenses and waste time while maintaining old legacy products and systems. Adopting digital transformation does not only save you money upfront, but it also saves you time and money after the implementation. In this case, you need to ensure your business integrates quicker problem identification and more efficient processes.
It is advisable to invest in the right ERP software as it guarantees several opportunities in cost savings and also in general operations. For instance, it is easier for a product-based company to get better insights into raw materials timelines and volume needs. Digital transformation allows ordering raw materials in a data-based manner and strategically, leading to cost savings.
Better Employee Culture and Engagement
With digital transformation, businesses can adopt Human Capital Management software to retain and attract new talent. Utilizing such a system could help address performance reviews, make sure that employees get the right training, coaching, and support from management. It could also play a crucial role in improving employees’ individual performance.
Apart from maximizing human resource opportunities, this system can also enhance the overall work experience in any organization. Integrating ERP software and other similar systems helps make the employee’s job more efficient, straightforward, and intuitive. Thus, employees are able to enjoy their jobs as they become less stressed.
These systems set your current and future team of employees up for great success. This is by providing transparent, more efficient, and seamless technology. Thus, adopting such systems helps an organization identify new trends and stay organized in its work. This helps improve their productivity and makes them enjoy their time at your organization.
Better Operating Model
Depending on your operating model, digital transformation can help improve your IT infrastructure and entirely change how your business operates. Integrating new digital technologies and solutions helps open new opportunities. Thus, adopting a great ERP system helps in the optimization of your business’s reach and growth.
Better Customer Experience
Digital transformation helps improve customer experience by making it easier to recognize flaws in service delivery. For instance, if a customer contacts customer service to confirm a particular delivery that is delayed. The person in charge can get deeper into checking the order and determine what led to the mix-up. It also allows the Customer Service Agent to offer more insight into what led to the delay in delivery. This will help the customer understand the entire process better, which can help save the sale.
Utilizing the right ERP system allows you to integrate an ordering platform for your customer. With the integration of the system, customers could get visibility into the available and inventory remaining products and services. This allows a business to create a simple and cleaner purchasing process that appeals to every customer.
Enhancing Competitive Advantage
Digital transformation helps improve the infrastructure of your business. This helps enhance the competitive edge that your business enjoys within your industry. But, businesses need to plan on how the functionalities and features of the new system would help make their organization stand out from its competition.
Focus mainly on your core competencies and where the new system can help your business improve. This means that the functionalities and features of the software that you choose should match your business needs. Besides, the software should also help enhance your core competencies to enable you to maintain a competitive advantage.
Therefore, if you want to achieve sustainable growth, you need to step out of your comfort zone and start your digital transformation journey. It is also important to surround yourself with the right software programs and professionals to achieve a successful digital transformation in your business.
When digital transformation is implemented effectively, it helps you respond to the customer and market needs on time. The outbreak of COVID-19 has set a stage for the upset of traditional business practices in favor of IT transformation. With the effects of the pandemic, most businesses are aware of the importance of adaptability and flexibility in business. But, it is advisable to choose the ideal software for your organization. You also need to integrate the software properly to ensure that your business operations are not disrupted as you transform.
Improved Supply Chain Management
One of the major benefits of IT transformation is ensuring that your business has more improved supply chain management. With better supply chain management, companies have visibility in their supply chain, better understand your products’ microeconomics, and enhance vendor management. Microeconomics includes the entire journey from raw materials to delivering your products to customers. For instance, if logistics and shipping are part of your key competencies, you need to consider how the department will meet your needs using the ERP IT transformation process.
Types of Digital Transformation
With the new era of globalization and the latest technologies, digital transformation is one of the priorities in every business plan. As mentioned above, digitalization enables companies to alter competitive landscapes and find new and effective ways to deliver value to their customers. It also allows businesses to change the underlying economics within their industry.
Many people might argue that technological change is an obvious thing, but this time it is clear that it is happening faster than ever before. But, even with plentiful benefits and changes, some executives are still hesitant to start the IT transformation journey, mainly due to the fear of disruption and other associated risks.
While technologies may pose serious threats even to established organizations, they also come with several unprecedented opportunities. Thus, many business owners are more afraid of missing growth opportunities than being driven out of the market. The following are the main types of digital transformation:
In most cases, companies target business processes while implementing digital transformation. Some of the new technologies in IT transformation provide businesses with new and effective ways to help reinvent processes. These solutions include machine learning, data source, analytics, and other technologies. Many businesses reinvent their process to reduce cycle times, lower costs, or increase quality.
A good example of this type of digital transformation is the case where Airbus has installed heads-up display glasses to enhance human inspection quality in planes. Besides, the process transformation can also be seen in food vendor shops like Domino’s Pizza, which have entirely transformed the ordering process through a software product deployment.
Some organizations are also implementing technologies such as robotic process automation that help streamline processes at the back office, especially legal and accounting firms. Thus, process transformation offers significant value to businesses, which explains why the adoption of technology in these areas is gaining popularity. CDO or CIO leads process transformation since they tend to direct their effort to specific areas in your business.
Domain transformation is a digital transformation that targets an area that usually receives little focus but offers enormous opportunity. New technologies transform services and products, create a new set of new competitors, and eliminate industry boundaries. But, many executives fail to appreciate the real opportunity for these technologies to create new businesses beyond their current markets. This means that this form of transformation is more likely to offer a new value to the business.
A good example of domain transformation is checking how Amazon (the online retailer) works. The online store established a new market domain by launching AWS (Amazon Web Services). Today, AWS is the largest infrastructure/cloud computing service, shining in a domain that IT giants like IBM and Microsoft formerly held.
But, Amazon was only able to enter such a competitive domain due to a combination of solid IT capabilities that the company had developed in computing and storage databases. These IT capabilities were built to offer support to their core retail business, which increasingly required computing services to grow. In this case, you need to understand that Amazon Web Service is not a business extension or just an adjacency for Amazon but an entirely new market space. The new domain (AWS) now represents about 60 percent of the annual profit made by Amazon.
Some executives, especially those in non-tech businesses, may be tempted to take Amazon’s experience as unique, but their ability to get technology may be higher than other organizations. Other digitally-native organizations that share almost a similar experience of expanding into new domains include Google and Apple. This shows that with the latest technological advancements, gaps in technology are no longer seen as barriers in the digital world.
With enough resources, any company can gain access to new technologies necessary to unlock growth and achieve great results more efficiently and affordably. The latest technologies are being used to unlock new business domains. These technologies include machine learning, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and IoT (internet of things). Fortunately, these technologies can be easily sourced from different software development companies rather than just from traditional IT services providers like IBM or Microsoft.
Organizational/ Cultural Transformation
Usually, successful digital transformation requires you to redefine cultural or organizational processes, mindsets, capabilities, and talent for the IT industry. Every successful organization understands that digitalization requires agile workflows and decentralized decision-making. It also requires a higher dependence on business ecosystems and a bias toward learning and testing.
For instance, Experian (a consumer credit agency) is a perfect example of successful digital transformation. The agency transformed its organization by incorporating collaboration and agile development into its workflows. By carrying out a fundamental shift to make its employees focus more on data rather than equipment.
Additionally, Pitney Bowes, one of the oldest postage equipment firms, successfully underwent a transition into becoming a ‘technology company.’ According to its management, the company was able to achieve this by promoting innovation as part of its culture. They also focused on shifting organizational values to ensure that they suit customer needs. It is clear that neither of the companies given as an example focused on culture and organization.
These companies focused on promoting digital mindsets, agility, innovation, and innovation skills into the organization to drive their growth. Pitney Bowes executives started its transformation by mainly focusing on customer-facing functionalities. Similarly, Experian also began its digital transformation journey with a lighthouse IT project to develop internal APIs. The company forced its teams of employees to adopt IT workflow practices.
But, progress on enterprise initiatives brought about organizational changes such as innovation and agile development over time. This means that organizational/cultural change is a long-term requirement in business success. With the rapid technology advancement, many industries will continually be forced to implement digital transformation.
The importance of digital transformation in Singapore
Digital transformation is one of the most important skills in Singapore as it makes up 35 percent of the organization’s digitalization plans. Unfortunately, it was also mentioned by 29 percent of employees as one of the most difficult skills to acquire in the country, according to a survey by Censuswide. After digital transformation, the other important skills include software development/programming/coding and machine learning/automation/AI.
With many Singapore companies emphasizing digital transformation, this area has also become a field that aligns with employee’s interests. Most employees also have an interest in other areas, including cybersecurity and data analytics. Apart from these tech skills in such fields, many employees also believe that teamwork, leadership, and creativity also promote business growth.
As Singapore focuses on transforming into a Smart Nation, it is also working on developing policies that promote faster growth in new digital capabilities. The new capabilities enable both workers and enterprises to emerge stronger, especially in this era of globalization and the latest IT advancement. While delivering his 2021 Budget speech, Heng Swee Keat (Minister for finance in Singapore) said that the government would create digital leaders. This is through establishing local core enterprises that produce IT leaders that can compete globally and within the region. Besides, the government would also scale digitalization by allowing SMEs to access relevant digitalization advisory and resources.
The key pillars holding the country’s Smart Nation goals include digital society, digital government, and digital economy. Most employees also support the government’s plan of improving technology skills through their Smart Nation plans. Some also believe that government digital transformation plans will help in the digitalization of the different industries. This is by developing digital infrastructure and culture. But, some employees see the government efforts as a double-edged sword that might hamper the digitalization of the industry. This is because the government will also be competing for the already scarce talent.
But, generally, there is great acceptance and agility of the government efforts on promoting digital transformation from the local workforce and businesses. Most employees are embracing the great flexibility that comes with digitalization work methods. Therefore, the digital transformation is important in Singapore for two major reasons:
- Allows the country to remain competitive globally and regionally
- It helps address rising labor costs
The application of digital transformation in the Singapore Government
The Singapore authorities advocate for the adoption of innovative technologies in various areas to help shape how the government conducts business. Through GovTech, the government has developed a Smart Nation plan and also focused on delivering IT services to SMEs and other enterprises. Some of the main areas of application of digital transformation in the government include:
IT Capability Centers
One of the major areas of application of IT transformation in the Singapore government is establishing five capability centers. These centers are meant to help develop government capabilities in the latest technologies and strengthen engineering expertise in the Public Sector. Besides, the five centers also will enable GovTech to build and develop innovative services and products that are citizen-centric. These innovative services and products can be deployed across the entire government through statutory boards and Ministries.
Cybersecurity is emerging as one of the main application areas in digital transformation due to the growing threats of cyber-attacks. The Singapore government is now investing in the development of comprehensive cybersecurity capabilities through the capability centers to support its plans. These cyber capabilities include blue-teaming capabilities, which help uncover and quickly respond to cyber threats. They also include red-teaming capabilities, which help detect vulnerabilities in Smart systems and Government ICT.
Apart from building cyber-defense capabilities, the government center partners with different agencies to offer cybersecurity governance and implement secure architectures. It also works with these agencies to provide technical guidance, which helps create a fast and safer Smart Nation.
Application Development, Design, and Development
The capability centers use an “outside-in approach” that allows them to deliver government digital services that are citizen-centric. This helps support the public sector in its digital transformation journey. The center has an in-house team with in-depth technical expertise in software development and design methodologies. These methodologies include user experience design, Agile, DevOps, quality engineering, and PaaS (platform as a Service). This enables them to deliver reusable, scalable, and resilient digital services that match the plans of the Government Technology Stack.
Artificial Intelligence and Data Science
The capability center utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to develop smart platforms and extract data-driven insights. This enables them to support government policies and enhance the delivery of digital services. Besides, the center plays a key role in helping public agencies undergo digital transformation. This is by empowering public workers and officers to improve their data skills. It also works with agencies to help support their data infrastructure and data strategies.
Internet of Things and Sensors
The capability center handles all the design work and implementation of the Internet of Things infrastructure, which serves the huge Smart Nation platform. Additionally, the IoT infrastructure allows connectivity by smart objects. These include mobile and static objects such as sensors, mobile devices, and wearables. It also allows for high-speed data transmission from the sensors.
Besides, the center also uses the Internet of Things and other emerging technologies to develop the government’s capabilities. It also collaborates with public agencies, research institutes, and commercial organizations to experiment and test pilot new technologies for any problems before deployment.
Government ICT Infrastructure
The center applies a digital transformation to develop the infrastructure of a centralized Info-communications Technology (ICT). This center consists of data centers, networks, devices, and applications. It also includes other infra scaled across government institutions.
Thus, the center uses a digital transformation to create an agile, resilient, cost-effective, and secure infrastructure that enhances the user experience to empower public officers. The infrastructure is also optimized for the operations of the Singapore government. Besides, the center applies IT transformation to offer support and guidelines to government agencies.
Study Cases of Digital Transformation
With the effects of COVID-19, many companies have been forced to consider their operations and strategies to stay in the market and better engage with their customers. Digital transformation remains a top priority in helping startups, and large businesses maintain a competitive edge in this era of globalization, the latest technology, and the pandemic. Here we look at the study cases of digital transformation in areas that it has been successfully implemented.
Increasing Scalability in Automotive Company
Digital transformation has helped automotive companies scale their IT transformation journey. Most of the leading companies have undertaken transformation to move from a traditional process that involved manual processes to automation. Besides, many of these companies have a complex organizational structure that consists of multiple independent departments. These departments offer several solutions for customer projects and internal use. Some of these applications come with similar features, but there was no solution in reusing them.
These companies are required to build SaaS platforms to reduce costs, optimize operations and scale their digital transformation. This would enable them to streamline and standardize their digital products to use in different departments. But, every automotive company needs to verify their ideation, measure the product’s ideal ROI, and address potential risks. Most companies in this category undergo digital transformation while looking for additional expertise and consulting in cloud development.
But, before embarking on your digital transformation journey, you need to identify the business value of the platform. This should be done by conducting two Discovery Phases, with the main phase focusing on the product and the other one on unveiling the platform’s business value.
The developer interviews different teams in the organization to understand the business needs of his or her client and the functionality of every solution. Besides, the developer conducts workshops to develop a value proposition and formulate a product vision. During the discovery phase, the developer is able to prepare the product requirements that describe the project, its features, goals, architecture overview, and optimum technology stack. Researching before the development process helps these companies make evidence-based decisions that may lead to a number of potential risks.
By undertaking digital transformation like developing a SaaS platform has improved their operation. The SaaS platform integrates all vehicle benchmarks that the client initially researched. This comes with the following benefits:
- By developing an application on the SaaS platform, automotive companies can reduce man-hours by 1.5 times as compared to when it is developed without the platform. This helps save on the operating cost.
- SaaS offers flexibility for OEMs (clients) in choosing payment options and benchmarks in the subscription accounts.
- The platform helps replace a long manual process that involves preparing benchmarking reports for customers. It also allows internal application users to publish these reports, manage customers’ access depending on subscriptions and update pricing.
Large-Scale IT transformation in Telecommunication Companies
One of the successful case studies in digital transformation is the story of Lebara, which is one of the leading mobile virtual network operators in Europe. The company serves customers in 8 different countries. It focuses on delivering “Pay As You Go mobile SIM cards” as well as other related services and products for international communities. Lebara products make it easier for migrants to enjoy all the main telecommunication services. These include entertainment, communications, and financial services.
The company started a transformation program 6 years ago with the help of a top consulting agency. While implementing the program, the company worked with many IT service providers. Lebara was able to find a long-term partner with the ability to deliver on all of their software development needs. The new IT vendor took responsibility for the full-cycle development process of new products and maintaining them. It also took the responsibility of new IT transformation streams.
The telecommunication giant needed to make changes to meet its growing customer base and offer a seamless user experience. First, Lebara had to migrate its Hybris B2C platform to the 4.8 version; initially, it was the 4.3 version. The company outsourced a developer to build a master system for online and offline channels (SMS, USSD, website, customer service, and mobile app). This website is available in Germany, UK, Spain, France, Denmark, and the Netherlands. With the website, users are able to buy, activate and register their SIM cards, change and buy plans (SMS, data bundles), configure auto top-up or top-up. Besides, the website enables its users to manage multiple user accounts, access support online, and check the balance.
Some of the benefits of its digital transformation include:
- Enhanced management of data flows and simplified business processes
- Seamless user experience
- Increased flexibility due to a multi-cloud strategy cloud strategy. Helps the company avoid vendor lock-in(Offers the opportunity to negotiate favorable terms with cloud vendors)
- Enhanced scalability and saving infrastructure with microservices and cloud
- Able to introduce innovations much faster due to microservices architecture
- Prevent downtime and ensure faster time-to-market due to the automation framework
- Faster optimized NI reports due to data lake development. All reports on clients are ready on time (8 AM daily)
Agri-Services Digital Transformation
Another case study is the digital transformation journey of Origin Enterprises plc, which is a huge Agri-Services group. The company has top market positions in the UK, Ukraine, Poland, Ireland, and Romania. Origin Agri-Services group is based in Dublin, and it focuses on delivering integrated agronomy services.
It provides strategic inputs and value-added technologies that promote the delivery of sustainable and profitable food production solutions to primary producers. The Agri-Services company needed to develop IT solutions that optimize internal processes and systems in the agriculture space, smart planning for primary producers, and a mobile app with offline GPRS tracking. It also required recommendation solutions and nutrient planning, and others.
Some of the benefits that come with smart farming digital solutions include:
- Allows the company to use data-driven insights, which provides more effective recommendations
- Optimized cooperation between all the key team players, including agronomists, farmers, credit providers, and product
Digital Transformation Challenges in Singapore
Digital transformation offers many benefits, but that’s not to say it is easy. IT transformation comes with costs and potential risks that could overwhelm many businesses, especially startups. Here we look at the digital transformation challenges in Singapore:
Lack of adequate digital talent to support digital transformation
Digital transformation involves many technologies and IT solutions, which means that you should not underestimate the number of highly skilled professionals needed to transform a company. Besides, IT transformation is also harder for traditional enterprises with teams of employees who have worked long without digital processes.
In this case, many companies opt to outsource fresh IT talent, but this strategy isn’t effective if the in-house team cannot blend in and work in synergy. The legacy staff may also consider IT transformation as a change that may threaten their job security. Thus, the legacy staff may unconsciously oppose any change.
Unsupportive Legacy infrastructure
Like any other developing country, Singapore enterprises transform from legacy infrastructures that do not favor any change. Outdated internal systems characterize the legacy infrastructures in most organizations. According to a study, most businesses in Singapore are held back from undergoing a digital transformation by their dependence on legacy applications. Some enterprises are even opposed to digital transformation as they do not see why they should improve from traditional processes.
Legacy systems also support file formats to a given point until these formats evolve to the extent that the legacy system can handle them. Thus, if the latest system formats cannot process historical data, this might render decades of worthless intelligence data. This data can take a longer time to convert manually into formats compatible with the new systems. Such a delay may affect operations reporting and business intelligence.
Uncertainty of digital transformation effectiveness
Most Singapore-based SMEs have doubts about the efficacy of incorporating the latest digital technologies and strategies. But, it is natural to have such uncertainties considering the cost of digital transformation. IT transformation does not also offer an immediate return on investment.
In this case, executives should rethink their doubts by evaluating the effectiveness of the transmission from the angle of customer value. Companies should only make investments in technology that offer benefits to the end customers.
Main factors for Digital transformation
Successful digital transformation may attract huge costs and risks, but changes always begin with a single step. Enterprises with legacy infrastructures that are defined by traditional processes need to focus on digital customer experience. This helps uncover immediate opportunities to experiment, learn and eliminate points of friction and hurdles in their transformation journey.
Here are the main factors in digital transformation:
Leaders should introduce a new perspective that promotes meaningful change. For instance, if your business features an “inside out” model, you need to now focus on customer wants, needs, and priorities.
Companies should also update technologies, assess operational infrastructure, policies and processes to promote change. In this case, you can start with a contact center and later make it more intelligent, unified, and collaborative.
Before undertaking digital transformation, you need to understand customer expectations, values, and behaviors. This ensures that the entire team is aligned with your digital strategies and goals.
Companies need to build a dedicated IT experience team with clearly defined responsibilities, roles, and objectives. It is also advisable to ensure that the entire organization understands the processes and objectives.
Digital transformation involves high costs, and it does not also offer an immediate return on investment. Thus, it is important to define the aim of undertaking digital transformation. This helps align shareholders and stakeholders around the new roadmap and vision. In this case, set quantifiable KPIs as it enables you to meet your objectives.
Why is TechTIQ Digital transformation Solution in Singapore?
Digital transformation is increasingly becoming a necessity and a valuable tool for every enterprise. This is because it offers several opportunities for a business to achieve sustainable growth, monetary gain, and improved customer service delivery. TechTIQ digital transformation is a solution in Singapore as it delivers effective services. Our services help your business by delivering continual business and technology transformation at a greater speed and scale.
Our company has a team of analysts and engineers that ensure that your transformation journey brings the desired business results. This includes increased revenues, improved customer engagement, and reduced operational costs. We are also able to address digital transformation challenges in Singapore as we focus on customer value. Besides, we also work with companies with legacy staff used to traditional processes to enable them to achieve seamless transformation.
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