With unpredictable global political and social tensions mounting, one study has singled out DX-readiness as a marker of pandemic survival.

By now everyone in the IT world and beyond knows that the world is investing in digital transformation (DX) to survive the pandemic and what follows in the new landscape.

One small global survey has attempted to add some value to this common knowledge by profiling the rate of digital transformation (DX) in large enterprises, between regions in APAC.

Around 300 senior business leaders from large enterprises—97% with revenue above US$1 billion and 44% above US$10 billion—spanning 11 industries across the Asia Pacific region (APAC), Europe and North America.

Leaders, laggards and the average group

In APAC and North America, about 25% of firms have the requisite digital transformation (DX) capabilities in place, compared to 17% in Europe. APAC was found to be in the lead (at the time of the small survey) in using AI to improve customer experience (CX), deploying core enterprise software in the cloud and automating core processes. Furthermore, APAC firms were actively investing in their less-developed capabilities, significantly outpacing companies in other regions in deploying digital sensors and developing key digital partnerships, and equaling Europe in developing end-to-end CX.

The survey by Tata Consultancy Services had found that organizations with at least four of the six digital capabilities (end-to-end digital CX; AI-based CX analytics; cloud-based core enterprise systems; highly-automated core business processes; digital sensors for tracking products; key partnerships in digital ecosystems) in place were less likely to report declining revenue due to the pandemic effects—64% compared to ‘followers’ (73%) with three or fewer capabilities, or average enterprises (68%) with more than three in capabilities either in place or in development.

Digital leaders were cited to be more optimistic, with 74% expecting revenues to bounce back within two years, compared to 54% of followers and 59% in the average group.

Other key findings

  • While 68% of companies globally had seen revenue declines, 90% either maintained or increased their digital transformation budget
  • Globally, business initiatives around an end-to-end CX have seen most traction, already deployed (25%) and under development (44%). Similarly, the use of analytics and AI to improve CX was in deployment (24%) of companies and under development (39%)
  • Higher levels of automation in core business processes was another priority area: with 23% citing deployment and 44% citing ‘under development’
  • In APAC, cloud capabilities were a priority, with core software deployed in the Cloud (35%) and under development (36%).
  • More than a quarter of APAC companies (28%) had automated core processes and deployed AI to improve CX, with automation under development (47%) and AI-driven analytics under development (38%).
  • Only 22% of companies polled from APAC have deployed an end-to-end digital CX, compared to 29% in North America, but 50% of APAC companies were investing in digital CX compared to 38% in North America, indicating that the region will not be in catch-up mode for long.
  • Globally, high-tech and insurance had the best digitalization incidence: 22% of companies in high-tech and 16% in insurance were ‘leaders’ that had deployed at least four of the six digital capabilities.

Said Girish Ramachandran, President, TCS Asia Pacific: “These regional variations revealed that companies that embraced digital transformation performed better during the pandemic. With good digital readiness pre-COVID and a strong commitment to strengthening their capabilities, companies in APAC are setting themselves up to be better prepared to face the realities of a post-pandemic world. However, with so many firms focused on deploying digital technologies, it is also clear that having these digital capabilities will soon be a business imperative rather than a competitive advantage.”