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IT Industry Leaders Pinpoint Do's and Don'ts in Digital Transformation at SAP Hong Kong Forum

The pandemic-induced shift to cloud infrastructure has not only helped Hong Kong businesses overcome the current crisis, but also accelerated digital transformation to dramatically improve resilience and agility and set up future success, SAP Hong Kong Managing Director Fabian Padilla Crisol said earlier at a forum held by SAP Hong Kong.


"Every business today is operating in a world that is very different than it was just 18 months ago, and digital transformation is now crucial for survival."


"Every business today is operating in a world that is very different than it was just 18 months ago, and digital transformation is now crucial for survival. For companies that are already on a transformation journey, this is the perfect time to go further to capture opportunities and run at their best," Mr. Padilla Crisol said at SAP SAPPHIRE NOW 2021 in Hong Kong. "That's why we are increasingly seeing customers moving operations to the cloud as a priority to safeguard their wellbeing for the long term."

Hosting the forum, Mr. Padilla Crisol asked leaders from some of the world's largest technology providers for their insights into the drivers and consequences of digital acceleration for local companies. They commended Hong Kong business executives for ramping up digital transformation when anti-pandemic measures slowed other business activity. Many local leaders adopted a growth mindset and embraced transformation as an opportunity to gain competitive advantage and market share.

Grasping new opportunities

Transitioning to the cloud enabled companies that previously only served Hong Kong or the Greater Bay Area to begin offering products and services globally. It also allowed them to further support this scalability with analytics that draw on the processing power of the cloud and artificial intelligence.

Remote working is a key area of innovation. Microsoft's recently released 2021 Work Trend Index found that two-thirds of companies worldwide are preparing for a hybrid model of working, with a similar proportion of employees embracing the remote work concept.

"Hybrid work is here to stay. We need to ensure everyone can perform real work anywhere, anytime. This means going beyond the basic functionality of email and video conferencing to migrate business operations to the cloud, such as contract signing, finance procedures and HR operations. Most importantly, companies need to protect their own data, employees and customers against cyberattack while ensuring their remote operations are compliant to various legal jurisdictions. Cloud provides more agility, scalability and security to companies than traditional on-premise alternatives," Cally Chan, General Manager, Microsoft Hong Kong and Macau said. "Businesses that move their processes to the cloud and apply analytical and business intelligence tools are set for better future success."

Recalibrating mindset

Now companies know they must digitize to survive, a growth mindset is the most important thing they need, observed Olivier Klein, Chief Technologist, Asia Pacific, Amazon Web Services.

"There is no stasis; things are constantly changing and you have to set up your company and the technology around it so you can remain agile," Mr Klein said. "Once you start, there is always a way to quickly learn and experiment and better your business."

Making a choice

Likewise, the pandemic created an added sense of urgency for companies slowed down in digital transformation due to confusion about what technology to choose. Forced to adapt, companies are choosing the cloud to deliver robust, resilient and secure infrastructure and scalable intelligent tools.

"Time has long been the enemy of enterprises; the pandemic simply made change even more urgent," said Ronnie Sung, Managing Director, DynaSys Solutions. "When company decision makers are facing 'too many choices', we advise them to select an experienced technology partner that has certified support teams on a range of solutions and features, and that shares clear product roadmaps. To navigate the transformation, we recommend integrated solutions, a strong IT strategy and partners that help you stay with the journey long term."

He added that a major benefit of the cloud is that it gives every company access to all of the latest and most innovative tools and technologies, leveling the playing field. Rather than building a data center or analytics application inhouse, companies can focus on their core business.

Evolving at speed

Good news for companies already undergoing digital transformation is that they are seeing benefits already. According to Wing Lee, Executive Director, IVC Solutions, this encourages business leaders to finetune their solutions, clarify their digital roadmap and seek out new digital tools to support their business.

"Before the pandemic, many companies planned to transform gradually. Now, however, most understand that they have to accelerate their efforts and use more digital tools to successfully compete in the new normal environment," he said.

Mr. Lee cites supply chain solutions as an example of this in action. Many businesses have operated complex but stable supply chains for many years without full supply chain visibility. Thanks to pandemic disruption and rising legal and safety requirements, that lack of visibility is now a problem, but one which can be solved through digital data solutions that provide the necessary information in real time.

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