(Singapore, 22 July 2020) Nearly half (48%) of Singapore organizations have accelerated their digital transformation plans as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, while 38% have slowed down, a new study by Workday has revealed.

The study, called the Workday Digital Agility Index and conducted in partnership with global technology market intelligence company IDC, surveyed nearly 900 senior business leaders and C-suite executives in HR, finance and IT across nine markets in Asia Pacific.

Rob Wells, President for Workday Asia, said: “Recent events have brought into focus the importance for businesses be digitally agile. Without the right technological backbone, organisations can no longer move quickly to adapt to rapid change. ”

“Most companies this year have had to make significant changes to their financial and human resourcing plans, at quick notice, and our research shows offline processes have hampered this,” he added, noting that this study aims to encourage more leaders to think seriously about how they approach digital transformation and invest for the sake of the long-term health of their organisations and workforces.

Workday is a provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources.

Its findings provide a comprehensive analysis of digital agility in leading Asia Pacific organisations in the wake of COVID-19.

Owing to a lack of digital agility, nearly three quarters (71%) have struggled to make changes to their financial plans for the year, with 63% unable to realign their organisational structures.

In terms of people and processes, over half (56%) of organisations have been unable to track their people’s skillsets to form special taskforces in response to the pandemic, and 44% were not able to manage new approval and business processes.

When asked which areas of their business are hit the hardest, Singaporean organisations identified supply chains (44%), sales (42%) and the workplace (40%).

A short-fall of digital skills has proven to be a significant barrier for organisations in faring better with digital agility amid COVID-19.

Over half (54%) of Singaporean organisations lack an enterprise-wide culture of agility.

Just over half (52%) of organisations say that less than half of their people are equipped with digital skills and capabilities. Some 17% say that they have almost no employees with digital experience or skills.

The lack of digital expertise may be due to a prevailing mindset within Singaporean organisations of not viewing talent as a source of competitive advantage and therefore not investing in finding and nurturing it.

Some 81% of Singaporean organisations do not see talent as an important strategic asset and lack the proper tools and processes to manage it.

This mindset also has a spill-over effect for organisations’ employee experiences. Only 37% see the employee experience as an essential consideration in their decision-making.

 All organisations surveyed see digital transformation as a priority, with 94% using digital technologies to execute their business continuity plans.

The most important areas of focus for Singaporean organisations in their digital transformation plans for the next 12 to 18 months are front-end systems for customer touchpoints (56%), front-end revenue generating systems (54%) and back-end finance systems (50%).

However, these focus areas are relatively evenly spread with the least important being back-end HR systems (39%) and back-end admin systems (27%).