SINGAPORE – AI holds the key to the $1.16 trillion USD growth set to be generated by digital transformation agendas for businesses in the APAC region, according to a new study by Microsoft and IDC.

The study, entitled ‘Unlocking the Economic Impact of Digital Transformation in Asia Pacific‘, surveyed 1560 business decisionmakers in mid- to large-sized organizations across 15 economies in the region.

As well as predicting that digital transformation is set to increase growth rates by 0.8% annually, the survey found that 80% of decisionmakers recognize the role of AI in delivering competitive advantage. Those who had adopted AI estimated that, by 2021, AI would boost their competitiveness by 100 percent.


Related: Microsoft Opens AI Training Courses To The Public


However, a mere 41 percent are actually utilising these tools, citing a lack of leadership and a skills shortage as the top barriers to deployment. Ralph Hauter, president for Microsoft APAC, went on to claim that 84% of business leaders prioritised skilling and reskilling of workers in the future but 64% had yet to implement plans to deliver upskilling to their employees.

“Business leaders must now embrace a new culture, where innovation and continuous learning are core components of the organisational culture. It sets the stage for agility, adaptability, and growth,” said Haupter.

“The jobs of today will not be the jobs of tomorrow, and we have already seen demand for software engineering roles expand rapidly beyond just the tech sector. However, building an AI-ready workforce does not necessarily mean an acute need for technological skills.”

For organizations to become digital transformation leaders, Microsoft recommend the adoption of the following strategies:

  1. Create a digital culture

    – businesses must build a culture of collaboration around data strategy across business functions, which will allow them to start their AI initiatives to identify connections, insights, and trends.

  2. Build a digital ecosystem

    – organizations should build internal and external collaboration around data sharing in an open and trusted manner

  3. Embrace micro-revolutions

    – begin with small, quick projects that deliver positive business outcomes to reinforce bigger and bolder digital transformation initiatives

  4. Bet big on AI

    – organizations should integrate AI into its business and identify areas where it can augment higher-value activities

  5. Future-proof skills for individuals and organizations

    – organizations must re-examine training for their workforces to equip staff with problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, and key digital skills


Source: Microsoft