Why YouTrip Mastercard is a hype?

In the hope of maintaining Singapore as the regional financial hub, the government has been encouraging Singapore banks to adopt technology in improving business operations. Ever since Singapore Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong highlighted that banks should adopt blockchain technology in bank settlements in 2015, fintech  start-ups from all around the world flew into Singapore. In 2018, YouTrip, an e-wallet start-up, left its home ground – Hong Kong – one of the world’s largest financial hubs to launch their venture in Singapore.

YouTrip positioned itself as a multicurrency e-wallet for travellers. It has developed technical infrastructure for multicurrency exchanges with a network of FX providers. The uniqueness of its technology is to offer FX exchanges to individual at a competitive rate that banks cannot provide. However, that itself is not going to give YouTrip an edge against the traditional money changers as their rates are almost the same. Furthermore, storing money digitally in the e-wallet is useless if travellers can’t use that to make payment in stores.

As such, YouTrip partners Mastercard (stock quote:MA) . Intuitively, this makes the YouTrip card more “useable” as users could make their payment if the respective merchants accept Mastercard. The strategy works. Months after their launch, number of users has surpassed 50,000. That caught investors’ attention. In May 2019, YouTrip raised USD 25.5M in Pre-Series A funding which is quite impressive for a Singapore-based company that is barely a year old.

YouTrip is a Bank Disruptor?  

The recent capital injection is useful in helping YouTrip to improve their technology infrastructure which is the backbone for all financial institutions. In fact, this is the challenge that YouTrip must overcome. Normal people deposit money digitally in their saving accounts with the belief that the bank’s technology could safeguard their savings. Let’s extend the idea further. When we top up money in YouTrip e-wallet, can we expect from them the same security level that bank is offering? If you have read my earlier blog post, YouTrip is trying to assure the public that they have the same level of technology that bank has in terms of risk management and anti-money laundering capability. However, building up the infrastructure equates to building faith among users which takes time. By and large, YouTrip, as a company, is still too young for the public to put their trust (saving) with them.

To succeed in the fintech space, a fintech start-up has to offer the same level of services (or even better) that the bank is offering. As a matter of fact, that’s the value that fintech start-up is offering to the market. YouTrip has identified that digitalizing the existing business model of money changer is the way to enter the market which undeniably, they have succeeded and even convince major payment solution company like Mastercard and locally, Ezlink to participate in their growth stories.

They have great partners and now, it is for them to shape the market behaviour.  

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Friends have been asking me about @youtripsg MasterCard. My reply is always the same it is a good for travel. You get better exchange rate and for some major currencies, you could even buy and keep them in the E-wallet and that’s good for traveller who like to plan their trip ahead to capture the best possible rates. Travellers should give this a try. Now you could even get an additional $10 if you sign up and do your first top up via my referral link http://bit.do/youtrip-weewu P.s. it is also a #ezlink card if that matters to you. #instatravel #travelphotography #travelgram #instalifestyle #mastercard #youtrip #instafinance #discountcodes #discount #referralcode #reward #instareward #singapore #fintech #startup #ewallet

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E-wallet business – More Than Just a Debit Card

E-wallet, as the name suggested, should work like a WALLET. It should be able to keep fiat currencies, credit cards and reward cards etc.  YouTrip positioned themselves as a wallet for travellers only provides the entry to the market but personally, I don’t think it is going to be sustainable. Singaporeans love travels but their time are mostly spent in Singapore. Although YouTrip card holders could use their cards to pay for public transports, there are other players rolling up similar services that gives better discounts. In short, the YouTrip card has not much use in Singapore given so many other options available.

There must be strong enough reasons for users to continue keeping YouTrip card in their wallet

Where are the merchants?

Banks refuses to lower rates as it hurts profitability. Offering low fees is a good penetration strategy but that is not going to be the barrier for new entrants. YouTrip needs to bring in more partners into their ecosystem. For a start, they should just be focusing on bringing more values to travellers. For instance, a reward system in the form of discount for travel insurance or hotel booking for heavy YouTrip users (frequent travellers) that will encourage card usage.

Basically, virtual money is only useful in 2 ways – One, I can use that to buy into services or products at greater discount. Two, I can grow it so that I could use that in the future. In principle, any fintech company that can achieve both can basically be called a bank. ANT Financial is one classic example. However, most fintech start-ups are only able to deliver services or products at greater discount than credit cards companies (which is exactly what YouTrip is trying to do!). However, keeping up with this in a longer term costs money and it may not be sustainable. YouTrip has to “engineer” a new form users’ reliance to your services to keep themselves afloat in the competitive fintech business. In my opinion, better forex rate?Nah!

Grab, a South-East Asian fintech and transport services company, has established a strong network of merchants in the region. Grab Pay, e-wallet services by Grab, can be used to pay for any goods in their marketplace and delivered to users’ doorsteps. Outside Singapore, you could even use Grab to pay off your transportation in other South East Asia countries. Grab is also following footsteps of ANT Financial. They are hiring consultant and it is rumoured that they are preparing to be a virtual bank in the event that Singapore is issuing virtual bank license like what Hong Kong did

Getting merchants into ecosystem is crucial in developing use cases and I am sure there are a lot more to be explored. Grab’s way of linking transportation and merchant seems to be working in South East Asia market. YouTrip is not Grab. They have to offer use cases that are different from what their counterparts are offering. They could study what their closest competitor, Singtel Dash is doing. For a start, why not just tap on existing e-commerce players? That might be faster for YouTrip.

In short, YouTrip has a good start but it is still a hype that I am doubtful it could sustain as a travel card. As of now, I am keeping my YouTrip card in my drawer.

ConnecTechAsia Returns This Year – IMDA is positive of Singapore 5G rollout.

Huawei 5G saga with US Commerce Department is a global concern. Asia market has reignited the interest of cyber security and 5G connectivity. This year, 5G takes the centre of the stage of this year’s ConnecTechAsia.

Mr Tan Kiat How, Chief Executive, Infocomm Media Development Authority, is present to give the opening address for the launch of the event. Bringing connectivity to all is Singapore’s primary goal. Currently, Singapore is able to deliver the 4G mobile services to all Singaporean at SGD29.99/month (approx. USD 21.90)

The incoming 5G technology will create a competitive mobile market that will eventually bring more values to the customers. Consumers are not the only one benefits from the technology. Enterprises and government could also reap benefits from the deployment of 5G technology.

It is more than high speed delivery. Singapore envisions 5G as an enabler to support development of new applications and services in this new digital economy. Low-latency and high bandwidth support massive number of connected devices and that will bring Singapore closer to smart nation initiatives.

5G as a standalone network architecture is crucial to Singapore development. To do so, IMDA is allocating 3.5Ghz to two nationwide networks through call for proposals. IMDA also assures that that more spectrum availability to be deployed in the coming years.

Commenting about global economy uncertainty, Mr Tan opined that despite this trade tension, technology advancement will continue. However, he stressed the importance of collaboration between public and private sectors. In his opening address, he further elaborated, “This is why platforms like ConnecTechAsia are important. Such platforms bring together industry leaders, solution providers, entrepreneurs and policy makers to focus our minds on the key issues of the day.”   

You may watch his speech at ConnecTechAsia via my facebook post below

ConnecTechAsia, comprising BroadcastAsia, CommunicAsia and NXTAsia officially opens on 18th June at Marina Bay Sands and Suntec Singapore. Held from 18-20 June 2019, the three-day event showcases the latest smart technologies and trends that are shaping Asia’s digital future.

Sudio Tolv Review – A Good Attempt By Sudio

Last year, I reviewed the Sudio Nivå and I am rather impressed by its quality sound packed into a compact size. If you have read my review, you would have known about my water test on the Nivå. Despite it is not certified water-resistance, it survives the water test. Sudio is a young player in the audio lifestyle business but they have been catching up fast. The Nivå is impressive if you compare it with other incumbent brands at similar price range. 

This year, I am exceptionally looking forward to their new product. The new Sudio Tolv promises to have longer battery life and better sound quality than Sudio Nivå. Let’s see whether it can deliver what it promised.

Battery Life

Tolv’s battery size is bigger than Niva. In fact, it is twice as much as its predecessor. The official number given by Sudio – the Tolv earbud has a battery life of 7 hours whereas the Nivå has only 3.5 hours.

Unlike the Nivå, the Tolv is armed with Bluetooth 5.0. With Bluetooth 5.0 technology, the battery life of Tolv may even last longer when paired with smartphone which similarly equipped with Bluetooth 5.0 technology.

Like the Nivå, the Tolv comes with portable charging-cum-storage case. This will give 4 extra charges to the Tolv. In another words, you could get extra 28 hours of battery life on the go. Nivå’s case, on the other hand, has a battery capacity of approx. 14hours which is half of what Tolv is providing. 

We have been using the device in a normal circumstance like listening to Spotify while on the train to work and back home. A fully charged Tolv has proven to last almost five days.       

Sound quality  

This is the most difficult part of the entire review. When comes to sound quality, we kind of have equal liking on both Nivå and Tolv. However, each has its own style. Nivå has a very balanced bass-and-treble and that makes it a very good travel companion to listen to a very wide genre of music. This time, Sudio has included graphene driver on their new Tolv which audio quality is perceived to be better. Is it true that it sounds better? Personally, I think it depends on the music you are listening.

It is a different kind of experience. we tested the same music on both Tolv and Nivå. Tolv can bring up the clarity of string instrument. When listened to vocal, especially at high note, the contrast is more evident. Vocal is more “airy” and that adds more “life” to the music. We are not implying that the Tolv can’t deliver clear sound quality; just that the soundstage is different for the Tolv and Nivå. Upon further testing on more concert videos on YouTube, we tend to prefer the Tolv to Nivå.  

Verdict

Clearly, the Tolv is a good attempt by Sudio. We love the soundstage and at that price point of SGD 189, it could be an attractive headphone-alternative for audiophiles who might be looking for something small and yet, it still delivers. I am surprised given its small size (unlike headphones, wireless earbud has limited number of drivers), the product is impressive in trying to create that kind of live concert experience.

I am looking forward to the future development of Sudio’s new range of headphones.

Should you buy?

In general, the Tolv is very small and compact. More importantly, the battery life is impressive; you will never run-up of juice while listening to your Spotify.

If you are addicted to instrumental and vocal music, this product could be of your likings. At that price of SGD 189, you are getting a wireless earbud that is lighter and more comfortable to wear than the pricier headphones.

There is a summer promotion from now till 31 July 2019. Sudio will be giving free Sudio tote bag with every earphone/headphone purchased at Sudio’s website.

Furthermore, we are bringing in more discount to the readers. Apply my TND promocode “neodimensiontolv” on Sudio’s Singapore online store, you will get 15% discount. On top of that, you get free shipping and one-year warranty from Sudio. 

HUAWEI P30 and P30 Pro’s Dual-View Camera Mode is now available

SINGAPORE, MAY 9, 2019 Yesterday, Huawei rolled out their latest EMUI 9.1. updates. As part of the update, HUAWEI P30 and P30 Pro users will be accessing to one of the most exciting and innovative features offered in the smartphone camera space: dual-view camera mode.

With this capability, users can create split-screen videos by simultaneously using the phone’s primary camera and zoom lens, showing two perspectives at once on the screen.

Huawei is bringing professional-grade photography and videography functions to its users through the award-winning HUAWEI P30 Series camera. Top features of the dual-view mode in the P30 and P30 Pro include:

  • Capturing a wide view with more of the background and surrounding objects
  • Simultaneously zooming in on desired subjects via the split screen
  • Shooting two different angles, panoramic and close up, at the same time
  • Ability to adjust the magnification level
  • Taking artsy and creative shots for a vivid recollection of special moments

These camera features are expected to be popular among Huawei P30 series users. However, this technology utilizes both the zoom lens and primary lens simultaneously. As such, it is only available exclusively to the P30 series smartphones. However, EMUI 9.1 updates are available to a wide range of both Huawei and Honor smartphones. See below

Huawei 9.1 Update – Eligible Devices

The following are the list of Huawei and Honor devices eligible to get EMUI 9.1 update –

Huawei EMUI 9.1 Supported Devices

  • Huawei P30 Lite / Nova 4e
  • Huawei P20
  • Huawei P20 Pro / P20 Lite (Nove 3e)
  • Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design
  • Huawei Mate 20 / Mate 20 Pro
  • Huawei Mate 20 X / Mate 20 RS Porsche Design
  • Huawei Mate 20 Lite
  • Huawei Mate 10 / Mate 10 Pro
  • Huawei Mate 10 Porsche Design / Mate RS Porsche Design
  • Huawei Mate 9 / Mate 9 Pro / Mate 9 Porsche Design
  • Huawei P10
  • Huawei P10 Plus
  • Huawei Nova 3 / 3i
  • Huawei Nova 4
  • Huawei Nova 2s
  • Huawei Y9 2019
  • Huawei Maimang 7
  • Huawei Enjoy 9 Plus / 9S / 9e
  • Huawei Enjoy 8 Plus
  • Huawei Enjoy Max
  • Huawei Enjoy 7S
  •  

Honor EMUI 9.1 Supported Devices

  • Honor 10
  • Honor 10 Youth Edition
  • Honor View 10 (V10)
  • Honor 9 / 9N
  • Honor V9
  • Honor 9i / Lite
  • Honor View 20 (V20)
  • Honor 20i
  • Honor Play
  • Honor 8X
  • Honor 8 Max
  • Honor Play 8A
  • Honor 8 Pro
  • Honor Note 10
  • Honor 7X

Disclaimer: The following list of devices are just assumptions to get EMUI 9.1 update. However, the final confirmed list of Huawei devices will be revealed by the company soon.

A10 Networks’ survey finds that operators expect security and reliability concerns to significantly increase with 5G

SINGAPORE – 7 May 2019 – According to a new survey fielded by the Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network, in partnership with A10 networks, mobile service providers anticipate significant new revenue opportunities from the coming deployment of high-speed 5G networks and a host of new IoT-driven use cases, but they also believe much-improved security will be essential to realizing that potential.

The new study report, “Securing the Future of a Smart World,” demonstrates that carriers are moving decisively toward 5G commercialization and that security is a top concern. This report surveyed a total of 61 participants in Asia Pacific

Specifically, in Asia Pacific market –

  • 79% – will deploy their first commercial 5G networks within 18 months.
  • 89% – expect growth in network traffic, connected devices and mission critical IoT use cases to significantly increase security and reliability concerns for 5G networks
  • 84% – say 5G is already being considered in their current security investment

“Mobile carriers anticipate significant revenue opportunities and exciting new use cases as they move forward with their 5G deployments. However, the industry also recognizes that 5G will dramatically raise the stakes for ensuring the security and reliability of these networks,” said Gunter Reiss, vice president of A10 Networks. “New mission-critical applications like autonomous vehicles, smart cities, and remote patient monitoring will make network reliability vital to the safety and security of people and businesses. Meanwhile, dramatic increases in traffic rates and connected devices will significantly expand the attack surface and scale for cyber criminals.”

Assessing 5G Security Needs

In the global context,

  • 63% – Advanced DDoS protection the most important security capability needed for 5G networks. 
  • 98% of respondents said core network security was either very important (72%) or important (26%) in 5G build-outs. 
  • 79% have or will upgrade their Gi/SGi firewalls
  • 73% have or will upgrade their GTP firewall

“Operators overwhelmingly understand the importance of upgrading security in a more connected and smart world,” continued Reiss. “Now it’s time to take decisive action. Carriers need to move ahead aggressively with their plans to upgrade legacy DDoS protection and consolidate security services at the core and edge of their networks to address the growing concerns. A10 Networks 5G security solutions including Gi/SGi firewall, GTP firewall and AI-based DDoS protection enable operators to secure and scale their networks now and protect against the massive cyber threat coming with 5G.”

To assess the full report
Securing the Future of a Smart World  

Almost 50% of Singaporean Prefer Contactless Payment

Singapore, 30 April 2019 – Close to 50 per cent of Singaporeans prefer paying with contactless payments (card and mobile) instead of cash, traditional card payments and QR payments according to the 500 Singaporeans aged 18-60 years old surveyed by Visa. Almost all Singaporeans are aware of contactless payments for cards (98%), with a large majority of them (83%) using contactless card payments more frequently than they did two years ago.

Convenience is the top benefit for the popular use of contactless payments in Singapore. Close to 90 per cent of Singaporeans (86%) feel that contactless payments are more convenient and close to 50 per cent prefer contactless payments because it is hassle-free.

“We have seen tremendous success in contactless payments usage in Singapore. Today, Singapore is one of the top countries in the world for contactless payments penetration. With more new acceptance channels opening up including transit and hawker centres, we believe that the growth of contactless payments usage will accelerate. Singaporeans are extremely familiar with this mode of payment based on our data and research and it is the top-of-mind payment choice for them given the convenience, speed and security benefits of this payment experience,” said Kunal Chatterjee, Visa Country Manager for Singapore and Brunei. 

Findings from the research also indicated that 60 per cent of Singapore consumers are interested in using self-check-out kiosks rather than engaging with a cashier. In addition, more than half (54 per cent) choose contactless cards as their preferred payment method at self-service payment kiosks.  Only nine per cent of Singaporeans choose to use cash.

In terms of futuristic payment methods, six in 10 Singaporeans are interested in performing transactions using AI chatbots (59%) and close to 90 per cent of them are comfortable with ordering and purchasing goods or services through chatbots. Singaporeans are most comfortable with making bookings (89%), purchasing goods or services (89 per cent) and making bill payments (80%) with this technology.


Above is part of the research finding of Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study – Singapore 2018.



RedMart & Archipelago Deliver Singaporean Craft Beer

RedMart has launched CODE RED Lemongrass Pale Ale – its first-ever collaboration beer, in partnership with Archipelago Brewery. A pale ale infused with distinctively local flavours including lemongrass and jasmine, this limited-edition, small batch craft beer aims to celebrate the partnership between two of the nation’s most treasured brands in creating a uniquely Singaporean craft beer.

CODE RED Lemongrass Pale Ale is sold in 4-packs ($20.80) and is exclusively available on RedMart

In the last few years, Singapore has seen a growing demand for craft beer options and is now home to more than 20 craft beer bars, making craft beer more accessible to first-time drinkers. In response to this demand, RedMart is expanding its offering of global craft and mainstream beer brands by providing shoppers with its own branded craft brew, designed for the Singapore palate. For a start, a limited run of 300 cases (24 bottles per case) of CODE RED Lemongrass Pale Ale has been produced, with the potential for additional production in the future.

Brewed and bottled in Singapore for RedMart by Archipelago Brewery, CODE RED Lemongrass Pale Ale is as unique as it is local. Its fruity esters from the ale yeast mingle perfectly with late additions of jasmine and lemongrass, two Southeast Asian flavour staples, to make this beer unique, refreshing, and designed with Singapore’s tropical climate in mind. Its straw-golden colour comes from the use of pale malts only, while the moderate bitterness is balanced with a light body that creates a crisp aftertaste. CODE RED Lemongrass Pale Ale has a 4.5-percent ABV. 

Alice Canty, Senior Category Manager for Beer, Wine & Spirits at RedMart, said, “RedMart is a tech company at heart, and we wanted this to come across in the branding for CODE RED. The name is a nod to RedMart’s tech roots and celebrates the brand’s iconic red logo colour. We felt the unique but subtle lemongrass and jasmine notes are a great differentiator from current offerings in the craft beer market, and more importantly a celebration of Singapore flavour.”

“Archipelago and RedMart’s shared values of quality and accessibility make for a natural partnership,” said Nicholas Low, Head of Archipelago Brewery. “Archipelago Brewery’s mission is to grow the craft beer market, and our collaboration with RedMart opens doors to the growing base of Singapore craft beer drinkers who are constantly looking for high-quality custom brew that suits their increasingly complex palate. Together, we have an exciting opportunity to introduce a great craft beer for Singapore to enjoy.”

You may also watch the QnA session with the executives over my Facebook Live

Singtel and GOJEK partner to offer perks and privileges to users

  • GOJEK driver-partners will enjoy competitive mobile and lifestyle perks from Singtel
  • Singtel customers will receive special privileges on GOJEK’s ride-hailing service

Singtel has been rolling out more services to push for their GOMO plan. From now to 15 May, all new and existing Singtel’s GOMO plan subscribers will each receive GOJEK ride-hailing credits worth S$5, which can be activated using a unique code.  This is part of strategic partnership between Singtel and GOJEK. The perk does not stop there.

From May 2019 onwards, both Singtel and GOGEK users will see products ranging from mobile services to ride-hailing lifestyle services offered by both companies. For a start, GOJEK driver-partners will also enjoy a 20% discount on Singtel Combo plans, complimentary caller-ID service, and preferential rates on Singtel’s wide range of content and lifestyle services, including Singtel Music and HungryGoWhere (from which they can also receive personalised restaurant recommendations). 

From left: Mr Yuen Kuan Moon, CEO, Consumer Singapore, Singtel, with Mr Lien Choong Luen, general manager of GOJEK Singapore.
Photo Source: Singtel

This is part of GOJEK’s mission to lower the operating costs for its driver-partners and provide them with better earnings stability. It also marks the newest benefit under GoalBetter, GOJEK’s dedicated benefits programme for driver-partners in Singapore, which currently features insurance, medical teleconsultation and fuel rebates. 

Mr Yuen Kuan Moon, CEO, Consumer Singapore, Singtel, says, “With this partnership with GOJEK, we are taking our business and customer relationships to the next level, beyond just providing traditional carriage and connectivity. While our customers have come to expect reliable and comprehensive mobile coverage from us, they are always looking for more value and this we can extend in the form of perks and privileges that come from mutually-beneficial partnerships.”

Mr Lien Choong Luen, general manager of GOJEK Singapore, says, “Singaporeans are living and playing harder – whether online or offline. This is why the partnership between GOJEK and Singtel really works. As Singtel delivers our online and lifestyle needs through mobile and data, GOJEK gets us to places, parties and professional engagements, speedily and safely!”

More details on the partnership will be announced in due course. 

ConnecTechAsia Returns in 2019 – “Shaping Future Societies”

According to the 2019 Gartner CIO Agenda survey, 47% of enterprises in Asia Pacific have already changed their business models in response to evolving consumer demands. With global spending on IT set to swell to $1.97 trillion in 2022, the stage is set for exponential technological growth across mature and emerging sectors. However, many businesses in the region still find themselves behind the curve in terms of adoption.

As such, ConnecTechAsia returns this year with the theme: ‘Shaping Future Societies’, to explore the new era of business reinvention alongside emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), automation, Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, 5G and more. The three-day exhibition happening from 18 – 20 June 2019 at Marina Bay Sands, will bring together some of the world’s most notable companies, and will feature a slew of keynotes, panel discussions, workshops and seminar discussions helmed by over 120 senior executives. Featuring prolific industry leaders and opening with a keynote by IBM Asia Pacific’s CEO and Chairman, Harriet Green, ConnecTechAsia will be at the forefront of tech advances for enterprises and the community.

IBM’s Harriet Green will highlight how emerging technologies will reshape businesses as digital transformation initiatives unfurl across Asia.

“A new era of business reinvention is dawning. Organisations are facing an unprecedented convergence of technological, social and regulatory forces. Not only is there a clear need for any organisation to be fully digital in itself; these organisations also need to be able to accommodate high expectations from clients and deal with pervasive interconnectivity. How can organisations deliver on that? That’s key question every CEO and every leader in any organisation has started asking,” shares Harriet Green, CEO and Chairman, IBM Asia Pacific.

“There are three key drivers – people, process and data – that any organisation needs to align in order to move from random acts of digital to a real, tangible digital transformation. I am excited to contribute to the discussions at the ConnecTechAsia Summit and share some of the best practices and insights for all of us to think about.” 

Catch other industry leaders engage in discourse on other market trends at ConnecTechAsia2019 Summit:

  • Dr Min Sun, Chief Artificial Intelligence (AI) Scientist, Appier
  • Muhamed Zilkhairilishamuddin, Assistant Vice President, OTT Principal Engineer, Astro
  • Dr Keeratpal Singh, Chief Data Scientist, Axiata
  • Ong Geok Chwee, CEO, Bridge Alliance
  • Attilio Zailani, Executive Director, Facebook
  • Cheryl Goh, Group Vice President of Marketing, Grab
  • Dr David Soldani, CTO, Huawei Australia
  • Jason Little, Chief Information Officer – SEA, Manulife
  • Ian Yip, Chief Technology Officer, McAfee Asia Pacific
  • Gustavo Fuchs, General Manager – Cloud & Solutions (Asia), Microsoft 
  • Krishnan Rajagopalan, Director of Payments APAC, Netflix
  • Seizo Onoe, President of DOCOMO Technology and Chief Technology Architect, NTT DoCoMo

The three-day exhibition will be happening from 18 – 20 June 2019 at Marina Bay Sands

Businesses in Singapore must invest in their people for digital transformation success

• Telstra study finds business leaders lean too heavily on technology in digital transformation decisions
• Singapore companies cite gap between digital transformation priorities and performance
• Digital transformation driven financial rewards difficult to show
• Businesses need whole-of-business approach for digital transformation success

March 2019: The success of digital transformation initiatives undertaken by organisations in Singapore fall short of expectations due to their heavy emphasis on technology and lack of focus on people and processes.

This was one of the main findings of Telstra’s Disruptive Decision-Making research, which surveyed 3,810 senior decision-makers from 12 industries in 14 markets around the world to uncover insights into strengths and weaknesses around their digital transformation programs.

Focus on technology undermining success
When rating decision-making across four factors for success – people, processes, technology understanding and partnerships – businesses in Singapore ranked ‘technology understanding’ as the area where they feel by far most confident.

Seventy six per cent of Singapore respondents felt their organisation makes technology decisions ‘well’ or ‘extremely well’. While the understanding of technology and its performance is important, other factors are equally significant.

Telstra Managing Director APAC, Ms Marjet Andriesse

Telstra’s Managing Director, APAC, Marjet Andriesse, said that organisations that are highly digitally mature (20% in Singapore, compared to 21% globally) show greater focus on people and processes.

“The research shows that successful digital transformation relies on more than the right technology, it requires the right culture, the right people – and the right processes to support them,” Ms Andriesse said.

“Digital transformation must be a company journey that involves upskilling and changing employee mindsets, adapting structures and ways of working, and creating teams that can take advantage of new technologies.”

Whole-company approach needed
The research found that a company-wide approach to digital transformation is significantly more likely to result in success, yet 66% of Singapore organisations are allowing business departments drive individual digital initiatives, compared to 51% globally.

A further 8% said they outsource as much as possible (vs 15% globally), and only 25% say they have an integrated, whole-of-company digital transformation strategy (vs 31% globally).

“Globally, organisations that have a whole-of-business digital transformation strategy are significantly more likely to be highly digitally mature, make extremely good digital decisions, and see the impact of digital transformation across the business,” Ms Andriesse said.

“The research demonstrates that Singapore organisations have an opportunity to integrate digital transformation activity across all areas of the business, but this needs to be led by a clear company strategy from the C-suite and board level down.”

Businesses in Singapore not delivering on digital priorities
The report also found there was a substantial gap between digital transformation priorities and performance.

Organisations in Singapore rated their top digital transformation priorities as (1) optimising technology to move faster, (2) protecting digital assets from cyber threats, and (=3) optimising security investments to reduce time and resource management, and (=3) protecting, detecting and responding in real time to events.
However, when it came to decision-making performance, these priorities ranked poorly.

“One of the red flags we saw in this research was the gap between the areas businesses in Singapore chose as their highest priorities, and their performance in these areas,” Ms Andriesse said.

“Cyber security was identified as a particular focus area in Singapore. But despite protecting digital assets from cyber threats rating as the second highest priority – it achieved the lowest performance score in terms of ability to deliver.”

Ms Andriesse said there were a few factors to consider when analysing this finding.

“It is notable that three of Singapore’s top four priorities are related to security, even though performance in these areas is poor. This performance gap is symptomatic of the fact that security requires a whole-of-business approach incorporating people, processes, and technology working in concert together,” Ms Andriesse said.

Hard financial outcomes difficult to show
The research found that while organisations in Singapore are increasing their investment in digital transformation, many businesses had yet to realise the financial impact of their efforts.

More than a third of businesses in Singapore invested more than US$1 million in digital transformation products and services over the past year (34%), while almost one in 10 spent more than US$5 million (8%).

This figure is set to increase as 30% of respondents said their company’s total spend on digital transformation would grow by more than 10% in the next three years.

However, when it came to measuring the impact of digital transformation, showing hard outcomes such as financial returns of this investment was difficult.

“Measuring the progress and success of any digital transformation strategy or individual project is an absolute essential. But the metrics in which we measure success are just as important,” Ms Andriesse said.

“Organisations in Singapore found it particularly hard to demonstrate financial results from digital transformation. In fact, of all the business outcomes surveyed, increasing profit margins saw the lowest levels of achievement in Singapore.

“Successful companies are clear on what digital transformation means for their organisation, they have empowered their people, strengthened their processes and identified their key partners.”

Source: Telstra Singapore