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Asian retailers to adopt disruptive technologies to boost competitiveness

94% of Asian retailers, manufacturers and wholesalers plan to adopt disruptive technologies to boost competitiveness, according to NTT Communications Corporation’s new survey.

The survey, “The Digital Silk Road to Success”, found that nearly 80% of business and IT decision-makers at large corporations based in China, Hong Kong and Singapore are generally positive about the business outlook in the next 12 months, in spite of challenges such as talent shortages, rising wages, price pressure, increasing costs and competition they face. They believe new technologies hold the key to transforming their growth model despite an uncertain economic climate.

IoT and big data analytics already changing supply chain ecosystem

To overcome business challenges, 94% of organisations surveyed said plans were already in place to deploy two or more disruptive technologies to accelerate digital transformation and boost competitiveness. IoT (60%) and big data analytics (58%) are the most widely adopted technologies among those surveyed. Although organisations have been slower to adopt AI, smart robotics and 3D printing, over 60% of responding companies indicated they planned to deploy one or more of these technologies in the next 12 months.

“The success of retail, manufacturing and wholesale industries relies heavily on an efficient supply chain ecosystem where companies’ ability to trace and visualise the bilateral flow of goods, information and cash throughout the value chain at a given moment has become ever more critical,” said Raymond Ng, vice president, vertical solutions, NTT Com Asia.

“Asian companies have extensively applied IoT and big data to capture real-time business intelligence from all the touchpoints, and overcome business blind spots in the ecosystem. Though combining IoT and big data is far from new, it is the recent extensive application of these disruptive technologies that is proving to be a game changer for the supply chain.”

The proliferation of “connected things” creates security, compliance and compatibility issues

Although corporations appreciate the enormous value these disruptive technologies potentially deliver to transform their business model, various challenges are holding them back. Some 50% of all organisations surveyed rated stringent data security and compliance regulations, legacy IT and the complexity involved in sourcing suitable technologies and suppliers for the job are the top three stumbling blocks.

To accelerate business transformation, over 60% of respondents will choose to outsource transformation projects to reduce deployment time and cost, and tap cross-domain expertise from suppliers. When sourcing a supplier, the most important criteria is whether the supplier has the technology expertise and capability to provide cross-platform support. The supplier is also expected to have good understanding of different sectors’ needs and the flexibility to handle fast changing business environments.

“Strategically selecting a mix of disruptive technologies to overhaul the supply chain is only the first step of a successful digital transformation journey. It all comes down to three important determining factors – the readiness of infrastructure, connected technology and people to make sense of data to derive actionable business intelligence,” Ng added.

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