Singapore has long been a champion of integrating technology throughout government, society and the economy to form its digital tripartite foundation and drive Smart Nation initiatives. But digitalisation has now become a high-stakes endeavour. Modern organisations face increased pressure to make the right technology investment choices in the face of a potential economic downturn.

Mere transformation is no longer enough. Digital acceleration, or an iterative approach to technology implementation, suggests that digitalisation is an ongoing process and technology must change in tandem with business objectives. While new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are changing the game, jumping on this bandwagon without a proper strategy can be ineffective, and even detrimental, if not implemented properly.   

Accurate identification, timely implementation

From automated chatbots and Web3.0, to superapps and digital twins, there is no doubt that technology evolves as rapidly as it emerges. Interestingly, many of these concepts fizzle out just as fast. The challenge for organisations today is knowing exactly which technologies are worth investing in for long-term success. 

With a projected global economic recession, IT budgets are shrinking. The most effective way for organisations to move forward is to focus on emerging technologies. Globally,  the top three trending technologies for businesses looking to drive impact this year are big data (75%), AI-driven automation (71%) and predictive analytics (72%). Similarly, the APAC region is seeing similar trends in the uptake of adaptive AI, applied observability, and tapping into the power of the cloud for better streaming and managing of data in 2023.

It is crucial that both the IT and management teams work closely with one another to decide quickly on the technologies to adopt in order to remain competitive and agile. Oftentimes, lengthy procurement processes cause organisations many missed opportunities to become early adopters of new technologies. 

Uncertainty also means fresh opportunity

While businesses prioritise digital innovation to improve operational efficiency, understanding and implementing new technologies or focusing on the latest trends does not guarantee that competitive edge. This might enable businesses to keep up but offers little chance of being outstanding. 

For example, 68% of business leaders acknowledge the significance of the metaverse, but only 6% have chosen to implement it, citing privacy and security concerns (52%), high costs (51%), and uncertain returns on investments (47%) as the top blockers. Finding the right technology partner to work with them on their digital acceleration strategies could help organisations get one foot higher up the innovation ladder. The e-commerce industry, for instance, might prioritise the adoption of predictive analytics for optimising and personalising consumer journeys, while those in manufacturing or finance will benefit more from automating heavy workflows.

There is a white space for innovation and digital acceleration could help companies set the stage as disruptors within their industries.

Perfection through iteration

Technology adoption must be seen as digital acceleration rather than transformation. If an ongoing, iterative process is established, then the introduction of newer technologies such as the Metaverse, or Web 3.0 are less of a culture shock. Businesses can kickstart sandbox projects, iterating how they utilise and implement emerging technologies into their current capabilities. Once their purpose and potential for value-add are understood, an increase in investment towards such technology can be justified. 

It is also worth keeping in mind that the release of new market capabilities from competitors does not necessarily translate to a closed window of opportunity. Despite its initial success, there is still room for improvement. Companies must identify how they can do so while developing expertise, experience and confidence to drive greater impact.

The focus on short-term efficiency and avoiding overhyped, emerging technologies due to uncertainty is exactly the mindset that will propagate anti-agile strategies and legacy infrastructure. Especially once market disruptors gain strong momentum, companies who already lag will be further outpaced. ‘Must-have’ technology for businesses today was once emerging tech, and the present ones have the potential to become the new ‘must-haves’. Whether a passing trend or here to stay, it is always worth digging deeper into the latest technology that can be affordably evaluated. Being the last to adopt the next big thing is just too great for businesses to handle.

The article titled “3 step roadmap to proficient digital acceleration: identify, implement, iterate” was authored by Michael Young, Head of Asia at Endava

About the author

Mike has been with Endava for nearly a decade, with roles spanning across the business, gaining invaluable experience. He is responsible for helping organisations develop and manage large-scale digital acceleration strategies for businesses and currently oversees the company’s growth in APAC. He also leads the establishment of strong relationships with partners in the region.