Singapore leads region in business technology adoption

Singapore leads region in business technology adoption
  • Singaporean businesses are the most likely to adopt technology.
  • Survey links technology adoption to better business performance.
  • Growing businesses focus on technology strategy and recruitment.

SINGAPORE, Sept. 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Singaporean businesses were more likely to adopt technologies and develop a long-term technology strategy than their Asian region counterparts in the past 12 months, according to a survey by one of the world’s largest professional accounting bodies, CPA Australia.

CPA Australia Business Technology Survey 2020
CPA Australia Business Technology Survey 2020

CPA Australia surveyed 725 professionals across industries in Australia, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia and Singapore. Respondents were asked about the past and expected technology use of their business, as well as its past and expected financial performance.

Survey findings revealed that over the next year around 70 per cent of high growth businesses in Singapore plan to invest in data analytics and visualisation software, while just over half will put money in business intelligence software. Singapore’s businesses are also the most likely to invest in robotic process automation (RPA).

“Technologies such as data analytics and RPA allow employees to deliver greater value to the organisation and their customers. This enables them to stand out in a competitive and uncertain business environment,” said Max Loh, Singapore Divisional President at CPA Australia.

Singaporean businesses that didn’t grow in the past 12 months were less likely to have undertaken a technology project and had more limited resources to invest in technology, the survey showed. The key drivers for adopting technologies are improving operational efficiency (83.3 per cent), enhancing the customer experience (47.5 per cent), and fostering collaboration among employees (32.5 per cent).

“In the current digital economy, it is essential for employees to be able to focus on more value-adding work. A relatively simple and cost-effective way for small businesses to digitalise is implementing RPA, which automates repetitive and mundane tasks,” said Mr Loh.

High growth businesses nominated complex legacy systems and a shortage of technology talent as the top two challenges they faced in technology adoption. Businesses that did not expand cited employee pushback, lack of technology understanding within management, legacy systems and financial constraints as the main challenges to technology adoption.

“While financial constraints are a key challenge, particularly for smaller businesses, several incentives are available for businesses to tap. The Singapore Government introduced an Investment Allowance scheme, available till March 2023, to help businesses manage the cost of implementing automation solutions. In the accounting sector, the RPA Adoption Support Scheme provides funding for the use of baseline RPA technologies,” said Mr Loh.

Singapore has been facing a technology talent crunch, and technology jobs will continue to be in strong demand over the next few years. Training and upskilling of local digital talent is critical, particularly in skills such as programming, cyber security, and data analytics.” 

CPA Australia recommendations

Business strategy level

  • Implement a digital transformation strategy that aligns technology adoption with your organisation’s culture, employees, risks and business objectives.
  • Identify and implement appropriate technology tools that increase productivity and improve your understanding of your clients’ current and future needs.
  • Simplify or remove legacy systems that restrict your ability to keep pace with changes in consumer preferences and needs.

Business operational level

  • Develop a technology talent pool, by providing technology training programmes to employees and adopting innovative approaches to secure top technology talent.
  • Look for technology companies that actively engage with customers and seek feedback on how to use their products to improve your business.

Risk management level

  • Commit appropriate levels of expenditure to maintaining and upgrading your cybersecurity.
  • Identify and locate your organisation’s sensitive data and ensure that appropriate tools and solutions are in place to help protect that data.

Read the full report

Business Technology Report 

About CPA Australia

CPA Australia is one of the largest professional accounting bodies in the world, with more than 168,000 members in over 100 countries and regions, including more than 8,500 members in Singapore. CPA Australia has been operating in Singapore since 1954 and opened our Singapore office in 1989. Our core services include education, training, technical support and advocacy. CPA Australia provides thought leadership on local, national and international issues affecting the accounting profession and public interest. We engage with governments, regulators and industries to advocate policies that stimulate sustainable economic growth and have positive business and public outcomes. Find out more at cpaaustralia.com.au