Digital Maturity in Asia/Pacific Has Reached a Tipping Point

Digital Maturity in Asia/Pacific Has Reached a Tipping Point

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31 percent of CIOs in Asia/Pacific have evolved their digital initiatives to the scaling stage, up from 19 percent in 2018, according to a survey from Gartner. This indicates that digital business is maturing throughout the region, from tentative experiments to application at a massive scale. The major driver for scale is the intent to increase customer engagement via digital channels.

The 2019 Gartner CIO Agenda survey gathered data from more than 3,000 CIO respondents in 89 countries and all major industries. 671 CIOs are from 16 countries within Asia/Pacific, representing $6.1 trillion in revenue and $73.7 billion in IT spending. The survey results show that digital business has reached a tipping point. 47 percent of Asia/Pacific CIOs report their enterprises have already changed their business models or are in the process of changing them. 40 percent report evolving consumer demands are driving their business model change.

The survey results indicate that transformation toward digital business is supported by steady IT budget growth. CIOs globally expect their IT budgets to grow by 2.9 percent in 2019, but Asia/Pacific is the leading region with an expected 3.5 percent growth. However, this is a significant cut from the 5.1 percent projected budget increase in 2018. Boards of directors typically also ask for a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure digital transformation progress. The Gartner survey found that 81 percent of Asia/Pacific CIOs measure the return on investment (ROI) of digital.

The top five areas that Asia/Pacific CIOs will invest new or additional funding in 2019 are: business intelligence and data analytics (42 percent); core system improvements and transformation (33 percent); artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (33 percent), cybersecurity and information security (32 percent); and digital business initiatives (30 percent).

34 percent of CIOs in the region expect AI to be the most disruptive game changer for their organizations in 2019, taking the top spot away from data and analytics, which now occupies second place at 26 percent. 49 percent have already deployed AI technology or deployment is in short-term planning, coming in second behind cybersecurity (86 percent). The top three ways Asia/Pacific CIOs are using AI are for chatbots (37 percent), process optimization (27 percent) and fraud detection (20 percent).

The rise of social engineering attacks, such as phishing, require a broader behavioral change of all employees. In 24 percent of the digitally top performing organizations in Asia/Pacific, the boards of directors are accountable for cybersecurity rather than the CIO alone. Nevertheless, CIOs are combining measures to harden information processing assets with efforts to influence the people that use technology to improve security against cyberthreats.

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