S’pore businesses tapping tech to expand overseas: Survey

SINGAPORE – Plenty of local businesses plan to expand into new markets over the next 12 months, with most of them investing in digital technologies to do so, noted a new survey.

It also found that the coronavirus pandemic is still having a significant impact on firms’ digital strategies.

The poll of 100 information technology decision-makers in Singapore noted that 54 per cent of companies are accelerating their adoption of new technologies due to Covid-19, while 67 per cent said their IT budgets have increased.

There was also a vote of confidence in the new approach, with 68 per cent of respondents saying technology changes and investments made during the pandemic are here to stay.

Businesses are adopting more aggressive IT strategies and accelerating their digital transformation journeys, said Ms Leong Yee May, South-east Asia managing director for American data centre operator Equinix, which polled 2,900 IT leaders globally in March.

This will enable them to leverage data-backed insights to be more secure and agile, she added.

However, the survey found that progress on sustainability has been hit by the pandemic, with 53 per cent of Singapore respondents saying their firms either slowed down some non-essential sustainability efforts or halted them all. Only 31 per cent stepped up such efforts.

Ms Leong said: “Maintaining progress on green initiatives will also be key for long-term growth and success, which is crucial to meet evolving regulations and stakeholder requirements around sustainability.”

Improving cyber security was a key priority for 85 per cent of respondents here, while complying with local market data regulations and future-proofing their business were critical for 83 per cent.

IT leaders plan to take advantage of technologies such as 5G, the Internet of Things and Web3, which is built on blockchain.

The poll, which was released on Thursday (July 7), also noted that 69 per cent of respondents said they are moving to an everything-as-a-service model. This generally refers to services being provided remotely and on a subscription basis.

They cited simplified IT infrastructure, improved user experience and flexibility as key reasons for doing so.

The IT leaders’ most feared threats were cyber attacks and downtime caused by infrastructure issues, followed closely by security breaches and data leaks.

They also cited other factors that could limit Singapore’s growth, such as supply chain issues and challenges in moving towards hybrid work.