A study commissioned by Workday, a global leader in enterprise technology for finance and human resources, has found that most organisations in Thailand (91%) are still lagging in digital agility - falling into the slow or tactical stages of digital agility maturity. This is despite the opportunity to accelerate digital transformation and increase technology adoption during the pandemic. The study found that the lack of suitable and skilled talent in talent acquisition and actively retaining them were the top two challenges cited by Thai organisations in pursuing digital transformation.
Conducted in association with IDC, the IDC-Workday Digital Agility Index Asia/Pacific 2022 highlights the extent to which Asia Pacific (APAC) organisations have progressed in digital agility since the COVID-19 pandemic. First started in 2020, the study assesses and ranks organisations on the Digital Agility Index (DAI). From their scores, organisations are identified either as "Agility Leaders" if they are found to be in the agile/integrated stages of digital agility maturity, or "Agility Followers" if they are determined to be in the slow/tactical stages.
Thailand drops to 9th position in Digital Agility Index, overtaken by Indonesia
The study found that across the nine APAC markets surveyed, progress in digital agility is uneven. With only 9% of organisations in Thailand at the advanced stages of digital agility, Thailand ranked ninth in the DAI, one position below its 2020 ranking. It was overtaken by Indonesia which ranked eighth, having shown more progress in technology advancements. Organisations in Australia achieved the greatest progress in digital transformation efforts and ranked first this year, followed by Singapore, New Zealand, South Korea, and Hong Kong. Taiwan, a new addition to the study, ranked sixth, followed by Malaysia.
From a regional perspective, only 38% of APAC organisations are in the advanced stages of digital agility. However, progress is being made overall as this figure reflects an 18 percentage point increase when compared to 2020. For the 62% of organisations in APAC lagging in digital agility (i.e. agility followers), technology adoption is often driven by functional requirements and business needs such as for e-commerce, safety measures, and remote work during the pandemic.
Shortage of skilled talent for digital transformation
The lack of skilled talent to carry out digital transformation initiatives is a key challenge to be addressed in Thailand. 80% of HR leaders surveyed said they have challenges in identifying the right skills needed to support evolving business requirements. Only a minority (7%) of organisations in Thailand have a holistic talent management strategy in place with employee engagement and data analytics to identify training needs and growth areas, which highlights the importance of closing the talent gaps within their workforce.
Lack of enterprise-level technology adoption to drive digital agility
Complete integration of digital tools and processes can offer a single holistic view into resources, enable data-driven insights, and drive greater digital agility. However, 61% of organisations in Thailand currently execute digital initiatives at the line-of-business level as necessitated by immediate needs, rather than at a strategic, cross-functional enterprise-wide level. This in turn hinders business growth. Implementation challenges differ by functions as well. Challenges cited by IT leaders include lack of consistent integration across systems which impacts decision making (40%) and difficulty in choosing the right technology solutions that can help drive business agility (70%). On the other hand, finance leaders (80%) said they faced challenges in building a culture of cost containment for predictable cash flow. Only 3% of Thai organisations currently manage costs by using data-driven cost optimisation that leverages enterprise-wide and ecosystem data.
Need for greater collaboration between CFOs, CHROs, and CIOs to drive enterprise agility in the post-pandemic era
In the new norm led by a digital-first economy, leveraging digital agility can offer competitive advantages. This is only possible if organisations rethink their approach to closing digital agility gaps through technology and alignment of functional business requirements across the C-suite. For positive business outcomes, not only must organisations accelerate their digital transformation to narrow the agility gaps but also have an integrated approach as a strategic imperative. This requires CFOs, CHROs, and CIOs to collaborate and work on their cross-functional digital transformation initiatives, integrate digital talent management, as well as HR and finance processes.
Comments on the News
"While there is considerable progress with more organisations making the leap to become agility leaders, the fact that the majority of organisations within Asia Pacific are still lagging creates an opportunity to help organisations digitally accelerate," said Sandeep Sharma, President for Asia, Workday. "With agility now a key source of competitive advantage in today's digital-first economy, organisations supported by data-driven processes and imbued with digital skills and work cultures are best positioned to thrive in today's changing world."
"The unprecedented disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic forced many organisations to fast-track their digital transformations. It is not surprising to see increased technology adoption driving agility improvement," said Lawrence Cheok, Associate Research Director of Digital Transformation, IDC. "However, true digital agility is about capitalising on change in order to thrive. To do so, organisations need to emulate agility leaders and make the leap from tactical to strategic enterprise-wide transformations in their culture, people, processes, and technology implementation."
To learn more and access the full report:
IDC-Workday Digital Agility Index Asia/Pacific 2022 https://www.workday.com/content/dam/web/sg/documents/other/idc-infobrief-thriving-in-uncertainty-how-digital-agility-maximises-business-success.pdf
 Digital agility is the ability of an organisation to rapidly adapt to business disruptions by leveraging digital capabilities to not only restore business operations but also capitalise on the changed conditions.
About the Study
This global study to determine the state of digital agility among Asia/Pacific organisations was commissioned by Workday and conducted by IDC, a global technology market intelligence company, between December 2021 and February 2022. Over 800 senior HR, IT, and Finance leaders from across nine markets and 15 sectors in Asia Pacific were surveyed. In addition, their organisations were assessed based on four Digital Agility Dimensions, namely, organisation and culture, people, processes, and technology.
Workday is a leading provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources, helping customers adapt and thrive in a changing world. Workday applications for financial management, human resources, planning, spend management, and analytics have been adopted by thousands of organisations around the world and across industries — from medium-sized businesses to more than 50% of the Fortune 500. For more information about Workday, visit workday.com.