66% of business leaders in Hong Kong believe they need to be a digital business to succeed yet only 22% have a full digital transformation strategy: Microsoft Study

Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Study shows that business leaders are just starting to embrace disruptions as region ushers in the 4th Industrial Revolution


Hong Kong, March 9, 2017 – Business leaders in Hong Kong are showing urgency in embracing the 4th Industrial Revolution, where 66% of them believe that they need to transform to a digital business to enable future growth and 60% agree that new data insights can lead to new revenue streams for their organisations. These are some of the key findings of the Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Survey[1] to understand how business leaders are embracing the digital era.

The Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Study surveyed 1,494 business leaders from Asia, including 107 from Hong Kong. All respondents were pre-qualified as being involved in shaping their organisations’ digital strategy. The study found that the transformation journey for most organisations in Hong Kong is still at its infancy. In fact, only 22% of business leaders have a full digital transformation strategy while 50% are in progress with specific digital transformation initiatives for selected parts of their business. 28% of respondents have very limited or no strategy in place.

Horace Chow, General Manager, Microsoft Hong Kong said: “The Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Study has shown that business leaders have started to act on the need for digital transformation to address the challenges and opportunities of the 4th Industrial Revolution in the region. We urge organisations of all sizes to digitally transform themselves amidst changing demands externally and internally, to stay relevant. At Microsoft, we believe this involves transformation in four key pillars – empowering employees, engaging customers, optimizing operations and transform with new products, services or business models, and data and the cloud are key enablers of these.”

Clear Priorities for Digital Transformation but True Transformation Lacking

The Study found that business leaders are putting people at the forefront of their digital transformation strategies:

Fig 1: Prioritization of Digital Transformation pillars among Hong Kong’s business leaders today

Said Chow: “It’s concerning to see that while there is widespread acknowledgement on the need to transform, they are doing so incrementally. With constant pressure from newer, agile and tech savvy players disrupting across industries in Asia, the transformation of products and new revenue models provides the greatest opportunity for organisations to truly lead rather than be disrupted. Leaders need to rethink business models, find new data insights which lead to new revenue streams. And they need to do this by embracing a different way of bringing together people, data, and processes, which create value in a new digital business.”

Emerging Technologies in Demand

Cloud computing and the decreasing cost of devices have made it more affordable for companies of any sizes to transform digitally, according to 70% of business leaders in Hong Kong surveyed. More than half of business leaders (58%) regarded cloud computing as essential in their digital transformation strategy. Microsoft is keen to empower businesses to transform digitally, below are two successful local cases of digital transformation.

Hong Kong Productivity Council
The Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) believes that productivity is driven by the effective use of innovation and resources. HKPC consider team collaboration, quality project management and services are crucial. With an operational structure of five business divisions and a research and development centre, an all-in-one, highly centralized and functional email platform is essential for employees. The organization adopted Office 365 and fully deployed Exchange Online, a cloud-based and highly-functional email platform to all employees. It provides an efficient working environment and offers benefits to HKPC including effective communication and increased productivity, team collaboration for quality project management, enhanced information security and data recovery and excellent customer service to its partners.

HKTVmall strives to sustain Hong Kong’s status as a shopping paradise and hoping to help shops to expand the retail industry in Hong Kong, for the benefit of retailers of any size. The company recently launched a 4 million “Win a Home lucky draw” marketing campaign via app and its own website to encourage more people to register as member. With a few uncertain factors, such as number of participants, traffic, time to market, and investment on additional servers, the company chose Microsoft Azure to support their campaign. Over the ten days of the lucky-draw campaign, there were over 1.3 million views and 62,000 new customers were gained, while the amount transacted increased by 20%. Azure supported the campaign successfully with its great flexibility, reliability and scalability. The company managed to deliver even better customer experience and saved IT investment on running large scale marketing campaign.

In the next 12 to 18 months, business leaders in Hong Kong are interested to explore a range of emerging technologies to accelerate and achieve digital transformation. The top five strategically important technologies identified by business leaders as being most relevant to them are: –

  1. Artificial intelligence (AI)
  2. Wearable technologies
  3. Quantum Computing
  4. Virtual (VR) / augmented (AR) / mixed reality (MR)
  5. Internet of Things (IoT)

Emerging technologies, specifically, cloud, analytics and new capabilities like AI and IoT will give organisations new capability to transform. But real transformation only happens when they bring their people along with them. Equipping employees with the right tools to enable them to be part of solution to be more responsive, data driven and customer centric are also key.

Barriers to Digital Transformation in Asia Pacific

The path to digital transformation has been slow, given that only 22% have a full digital strategy in place. According to business leaders in the study, the top five barriers to digital transformation are, in order of priority:

  1. Lack of organization leadership to ideate, plan and execute digital transformation
  2. Lack of supporting governmental policies and ICT infrastructure to provide a sound digital transformation platform for organizations.
  3. Cyberthreats and security concerns
  4. Lack of digitally skilled workforce
  5. Uncertain economic environment, as well as no urgency or need to counter disruptors within the industry

A recent Microsoft Asia Pacific survey of 1,200 IT leaders[2]  showed that 85% of IT leaders in Hong Kong believe that in the longer term, the cloud will be safer.  “People don’t use technology that they don’t trust. This is a golden rule that applies to organisations and individuals alike as we live in a mobile-first and cloud-first world. Ensuring security, privacy, and compliance are key to enabling businesses to carry out digital transformation with confidence. With the rise of mobile workers introducing new devices, apps, and data into organisations today, protecting sensitive company data requires a new and integrated approach, all of which we have invested in significantly,” Horace Chow, General Manager, Microsoft Hong Kong.

Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more — building technology so that others can innovate, build their own technology, and create solutions that make things happen. Microsoft is uniquely able to enable businesses of all sizes to get from where it is today, to where it needs to be as digital business through its flexible technology solutions, integrated offerings and our investment in being the most trustworthy with investments in security, privacy and control, compliance, and transparency.

To find out more about how Microsoft is enabling digital transformation for organisations, visit enterprise.microsoft.com.

[1] The Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Study was conducted between October to November 2017 involving 1,494 business leaders in 13 Asia Pacific markets. The 13 markets include Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. All respondents were pre-qualified as being involved in shaping their organisations’ digital strategy, and are working in firms with more than 250 employees.

[2] Microsoft Asia Pacific survey of 1,200 IT leaders across 12 markets to understand how they are evolving their IT infrastructure strategies to meet the needs of a digital business.  Read more here: https://news.microsoft.com/apac/2016/11/24/microsoft-survey-it-leaders-in-asia-are-prioritizing-hybrid-cloud-to-transform-it/

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.

For more information, please contact:

Microsoft Hong Kong Limited
Alice Li
Tel: +852 2804 4130
Email: [email protected]

Hill+Knowlton Strategies for Microsoft
Fran Tam / Tracy Yiu
Tel: +852 2894 6294 / Tel: +852 2894 6295
Email: [email protected] / [email protected]

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