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COVID vs DX: Singapore businesses grapple with security and collaboration, but maintain cautious optimism

News Facts:

  • Local survey commissioned by Fujitsu Asia explored the pandemic’s impact on businesses and their digital transformation plans
  • Close to 1 in 2 respondents were highly confident of their companies’ ability to handle the next big disruption
  • Most respondents were realigning their priorities in their current DX strategy, but only 1 in 5 intend to reduce budgets
  • Security-related capabilities, especially in the areas of data, network and cloud, were top priorities
  • Collaboration-related issues were top IT challenges, especially among the healthcare and education sectors
  • Fostering a data-driven or innovation culture, a key pillar in DX strategies, ranked near the bottom of the list among respondents’ future-proofing priorities
Singapore, October 15, 2020 – Businesses in Singapore are fairly confident about their ability to survive the next global disruption, as they have adapted to the COVID-19 situation with their digital transformation (DX) initiatives largely on track. Amidst government efforts to support and strengthen Singapore’s economy and boost digital transformation efforts, a survey commissioned by Fujitsu Asia shed light on the challenges, learnings, and upcoming priorities among over 100 business leaders in Singapore across various sectors.

Despite ongoing economic pressures, only 22% of respondents planned to reduce their DX budgets. Security across all aspects of DX initiatives proved to be one of the biggest challenges faced, as 70% of respondents cited data security as their top IT priority. As companies reshuffle their priorities ahead to include remote working and collaboration needs, the importance of fostering a data-driven or innovation culture however ranked near the bottom of the list.

Mr Motohiko Uno, President, Fujitsu Asia said: “The Government’s Smart Nation drive over the years has injected confidence among businesses to remain relatively unruffled in the face of one of the world’s biggest crises. The pandemic spotlighted DX’s role as a necessity to help organisations stay resilient in the face of major disruptions, and the importance of safe-guarding the security aspect of data, network and cloud platforms. Yet the future-proofing of businesses goes far beyond protocols and technology – organisations need to transform in ways that ensure that both employees and customers trust the outcome, a key pillar in successful DX strategies.”

The survey results were shared in conjunction with Fujitsu ActivateNow, Fujitsu’s first ever global flagship thought leadership digital event. Held on 14 October, Fujitsu ActivateNow saw Fujitsu executives and subject matter experts share technology and market insights on digital innovation and solutions for business management in the future.

Confident of the future, DX budgets stay on track

Respondents were optimistic of the post-COVID era, with 84% rating their preparedness level at 6 and above (out of 10), and close to half (47%) rated it between 8 and 10.

Digital transformation initiatives remain on track. When COVID-19 impacted their operations, 22% saw a reduction in their IT/DX budgets, and one in three kept their budgets unchanged. To support their DX operations, one quarter increased their in-house initiatives, while 13% tapped more often on the expertise of third-party vendors.

The banking sector was most likely to be in-sourcing its digital initiatives (61%). The engineering sector reported the greatest increase, with one in three respondents saying that they are in-sourcing their DX initiatives more than they were before, even as they experienced the most budget cuts (50%). The education sector is most likely to maintain their IT/DX budgets (42%), while the public sector was most likely to report a budget increase (50%).

Security Across all Aspects are Paramount

Respondents (70%) cited data security as their top priority, followed by network security (48%) and cloud security (44%).

Businesses were already investing in cloud capabilities even before the disruption brought about by COVID-19. Zooming in on cloud strategies, an essential part of DX initiatives, respondents shared that their top cloud investment focus priority is “just getting on the cloud” (29%), The survey also found that 22% of businesses are allocating resources and budget to cloud security.

Pain Points: Remote working and Collaboration

During the onset of the pandemic, collaboration (26%) and security (23%) were the two most-cited challenges. The education sector’s main pain point proved to be collaboration (42%). One in two respondents in the healthcare sector cited collaboration as their biggest IT challenge, as they coped with the workload at the frontlines. For the transportation sector, its primary IT challenge was external communication (33%).

Businesses also shared the three biggest challenges they face in building resilience into their businesses. They are workflow and process complexity (almost 53%), security (49%) and resiliency (37%).

Two in three respondents (67%) in the education verticals named workflow and process complexity as their biggest resilience headache, in line with the overall findings. But for banking, the main challenge is security (67%), and company culture (67%) for the healthcare sector.

A Disruption-ready Future: Keeping Sight of Trust and Human-centric Transformation

Since the start of the pandemic, businesses placed high priority on two key areas in terms of resiliency – minimizing downtime to maintain maximum customer availability, and adapting their business model to the reality of the circuit-breaker measures. Respondents also placed a higher priority on maintaining or increasing productivity among staff, compared to promoting optimism or maintaining headcount stability.

Moving forward, respondents cited working from home (55%), better business continuity planning (41%) and collaboration (40%) as their top three priorities in future-proofing themselves against the next COVID-level disruption.

While successful DX initiatives are often a result of combining technological, structural and cultural transformation, respondents however ranked the need to foster a data-driven or innovation culture on a low priority.

Notes to editors

This survey was carried out online by Jicara Media in August 2020 with 108 management-level respondents from 103 companies. Respondents were from mid to large-sized businesses in Singapore across sectors such as banking, education, engineering, healthcare, retail, transport and manufacturing.

Online resources for Singapore

About Fujitsu Asia

Fujitsu Asia was established in Singapore in 1997 to provide leadership in business development, technology innovation and customer support as regional headquarters for the Fujitsu group of companies in ASEAN and was subsequently established as the Asia region headquarters in 2014. Building on Fujitsu’s three decades of experience in the region and with a pool of highly skilled engineering talent, Fujitsu Asia is dedicated to providing comprehensive integrated IT-based business solutions that deliver tangible business value and enable customers to meet the challenges of the new global economy. Fujitsu Asia is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tokyo-based Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702), a leading provider of IT-based business solutions for the global marketplace. For details, please visit:

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Date: 15 October, 2020
City: Singapore