Matthew Miller
Apr 25, 2017

Digital transformation? 7 in 10 APAC companies haven't really started

Only 17 percent of companies describe themselves as delivering a new digital experience.

Digital transformation? 7 in 10 APAC companies haven't really started

In research released today by Ogilvy & Mather's strategy and innovation consultancy OgilvyRED, more than 70 percent of APAC companies reported that they are working toward delivering a new digital experience, while 17 percent are delivering already and 7 percent haven't even started. 

OgilvyRED’s Digital Transformation Survey, conducted between September and November, included 82 respondents in senior marketing positions within companies in Asia with more than 500 employees. The respondents typically held titles of VP, CMO or above, with either global, regional or local marketing responsibilities.

Lucy McCabe, president of OgilvyRED Asia Pacific, commented that while digital adoption has passed a tipping point in terms of awareness, the results show that the journey to digital transformation "is, in fact, a road less far travelled than we might think.”

That said, 86 percent of respondents have seen significant increases in digital marketing budgets over the last three years, and 55 percent pointed to growing ecommerce as a priority. This indicates broad buy-in and investment in digital transformation, according to the report.


According to the report, companies expect digital-transformation efforts to lead to increased revenue and competitive advantage. However, reducing costs, developing new products/services, and improving the supply chain emerged as low-priority outcomes. This should raise a red flag, according to the report, because "digital transformation opens up new data and insights, new service opportunities and new distribution channels"; transformation should not be solely about marketing goals, but should be tied closely to operational goals.

According to the report, the key questions organisations should be asking themselves are as follows:

  • Do we have a clear vision of where we want to be?
  • Do we have board level leadership of change?
  • Are we transforming fast enough to keep ahead of the consumer?
  • Will our transformation create deep impacts across the business, not just for communications?
  • Are we aligned on the experience outcomes for consumers?
  • How can we unblock internal barriers to change?
  • Do we have the right partners with the right skills to support us on the journey?

Challenges and keys to success

Companies identified the following keys to success for implementing a transformation process, in descending order or importance: leadership; customer insights; internal functional expertise; integration between marketing, IT and sales; and finding the right partners.

However, companies identified a clear skills gap when it comes to managing the complexities of a serious transformation project. While marketers in Asia Pacific do not see technology maturity as a barrier, they do find the technical challenges in implementation difficult to overcome, the report said.


“Challenges vary between sectors and markets, but the key is to identify the road blocks and bridge those gaps," McCabe said in a release accompanying the report. "Companies need to challenge traditional success metrics and deliver consumer experiences based on intimate algorithms that shape the experience around that consumer.”

Skills gap

Companies identified expertise in data, customer measurement and marketing technology as critical in delivering more relevant experiences to consumers, but these are the areas where marketers feel that weakness in their internal expertise compromises their ability to deliver, the report said. Marketing automation, ecommerce and cross-channel enablement and execution were also seen as gaps.


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