Digital transformation is a must for many APAC businesses but it isn’t proceeding particularly smoothly, according to a new survey of CIOs and IT managers commissioned by Appian (NASDAQ: APPN), a leading low-code and business process management platform provider.
The Digital Transformation and the Use of Intelligent Automation survey of 300 CIOs and IT managers found APAC businesses had progressed in their digital transformation efforts, but there was still a lot of work to be done, particularly in the areas of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA).
However, the survey also showed significant barriers to further progress, including IT cultural disconnects and slow delivery speed. Some CIOs cited pressure for more aggressive timelines using slower development tools than those favoured by their IT teams.
State of digital transformation in the APAC region
APAC organisations’ digital transformation efforts are well underway and gaining maturity. Nearly half of all respondents (48%) say their organisations are steadily implementing digital transformation, 7 per cent are piloting projects, 12 per cent are currently scaling pilot programs up, while 20 per cent are fully deployed.
The top drivers for digital transformation include improved agility (81%), customer experience (CX –62%), innovation (58%) and automation (53%). IT is well-aligned with these goals, although CIOs prize CX improvements more highly than their IT teams – 74 per cent against 54 per cent.
Additionally, almost all respondents report the deployment of one or more intelligent automation (IA) systems, including:
- Artificial intelligence (AI) – 69%
- Business process management (BPM) – 56%
- Robotic process management (RPA) – 48%
- Machine learning – 44%
- Chatbots – 29%
However, APAC organisations have still more work to do when it comes to their digital transformation – 64 per cent of respondents report plans for new AI and RPA deployments in the next 12 months.
APAC IT teams are facing several challenges in achieving business outcomes. They include organisational culture (52%), meeting desired speed of delivery (50%), customer demand (45%), skills gaps and shortages (43%), and pressure to adopt AI, RPA and analytics (43%).
IT teams are also feeling pressure from other organisational issues such as:
- Risk management concerns – 47%
- Legacy technologies – 44%
- Limited resources to train/recruit staff - 42%
- Uncertainty about required financial investment - 42%
- Change management concerns – 41%
- Adapting to new technologies - 38%
- Ability to meet deadlines - 28%.
Despite the combination of these many pressures, as well as CIOs’ plan for aggressive timelines to deploy IA technologies in the next 12 months, 46 per cent of CIOs also stated they anticipate a future shift towards full custom coding. This differed to their IT colleagues, who expect to continue the steady use of faster and easier to use low-code development tools.
The lack of strategic alignment shows there is a major disconnect between the business goals of CIOs versus the priorities of their colleagues in senior IT roles. It creates a barrier for the success of their organisation’s digital transformation progress, particularly considering the pressure to integrate IA systems is expected to continue ramping up at a rapid rate.
Lack of alignment on the best path forward
A move to fully custom coding will accentuate the challenges – such as cultural resistance, speed of delivery, customer demand, skills gap and resource shortages, and ability to meet deadlines – IT departments say they face as a result of digital transformation and desired business outcomes.
However, enterprise low-code development platforms can help organisations accelerate application creation with robust but easy-to-use drag-and-drop visual design tools. They provide IT and business teams with a collaborative environment to easily translate ideas into powerful software applications quickly. This gets applications and features to market faster without compromising on quality, performance and experience.
These platforms also have intelligent automation capabilities that allow organisations to easily integrate emerging technologies such as RPA, AI and machine learning. As a result, low-code platforms have the power to overcome many of the toughest barriers APAC organisations face in their progress towards a successful digital transformation.
Appian vice-president of Asia-Pacific, Karen Astley, said: “Software is defining the future of how work gets done and all organisations – and departments within them – must become aligned to accelerate IT delivery of new applications and integration of emerging technologies.
“However, it is important this is done without sacrificing quality or heightening the challenges and issues already being felt, which could pose a significant risk to digital transformation advancement.”
For more information on Appian, click here.
The Digital Transformation and the Use of Intelligent Automation survey, conducted by IDG, gathered responses between August and September 2019 from 300 IT leaders (50% CIO or C-level) at organisations with more than 500 employees. Fifty-seven per cent of respondents were based in Australia, and 43 per cent were from Singapore.
Appian provides a low-code development platform that accelerates the creation of high-impact business applications. Many of the world’s largest organisations use Appian applications to improve customer experience, achieve operational excellence, and simplify global risk management and compliance. For more information, visit www.appian.com.