Nearly a quarter of Southeast Asian businesses are digital leaders, a new study by German software giant SAP SE and Oxford Economics shows.
The ‘Leaders 2020’ study shows the figure for Southeast Asia is higher than the global average of 16 percent. The new class of high-performing companies is reporting stronger profit growth, higher employee engagement and cultures that are more inclusive.
These high-functioning organizations have executives who communicate a company-wide digital strategy, keep management and worker skills up to date, and streamline organizational structure.
Analysis of Southeast Asian firms in the Leaders 2020 study also affirms the business benefits of diversity, showing a correlation between those who are leading in digital transformation and those who have a heightened understanding of the importance of diversity.
Digital Leaders around the world and Southeast Asian respondents are both more likely to recognize diversity’s positive impact on culture (66 percent and 62 percent, respectively), but only digital leaders are more likely to see the benefits in financial performance (37 percent vs. 25 percent).
Companies have become more diverse in Southeast Asia than in other regions over the past three years. Three-quarters of Southeast Asian respondents saw diversity improvements in the general workforce of their organization, and 42 percent saw an increase in board and senior leadership, compared with 67 percent.
However, less than 40 percent in Southeast Asia state that their company has effective diversity programs in place, signaling more could be done, especially at the senior executive and corporate board levels.
The Leaders 2020 study also found that only 61 percent of Southeast Asian executives (vs. 55 percent globally) are making data-driven decisions, a key factor that makes a digital leader. It is of little wonder that only 62 percent of Southeast Asian executives (vs. 59 percent globally) feel that employees are equipped with the skills necessary to keep up with digital technology.
“A diverse workforce encourages bold, innovative ideas to flourish and in turn, presents insights which are only made possible through that diversity. It is of little coincidence that these two capabilities—leveraging data for decisions and maintaining a diverse workforce—both occur for high-performing organizations,” said Scott Russell, president and managing director of SAP Southeast Asia.