MARKETS & INVESTING | Staff Reporter, Singapore

1 in 4 firms lag industry peers in company upgrades

Six in ten of them struggled with lower profits in 2017.

Despite the implementation of Industry Transformation Maps (ITM), one in four companies are lagging behind and have yet to transform their businesses, the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) revealed.

According to their National Business Survey, these so-called slow starters have not prioritised digitalisation with only one in five increasing their implementation of new technology in the past 12 months.

"In 2018, the Slow Starters may have to play catch up and adopt technology at a faster pace to improve business performance," SBF said.

About six in ten slow starters have reported lower profitability in the past year, as compared to the average of 44% for all businesses surveyed.

Meanwhile, the study showed that 33% have already accelerated the transformation to yield stronger business results.

Half or 52% of the businesses surveyed feel that ITMs are a good idea, but they do not know enough about the ITMs to assess their impact.

"Early signs of business transformation, however, are reassuring," SBF said.

Nearly three in 10 companies, or 28%, believe that digital innovation is absolutely critical to the survival of their businesses. Six in 10 companies are reported to be currently using or offering digital services or solutions.

Moreover, six in 10 said that support for digital transformation should be the focus of the next Singapore Budget – ahead of relaxation of foreign employee quotas at 53% and facilitation of overseas markets access at 51%. 

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