DBS and Financial Times (FT) Longitude surveyed over 1,225 senior executives from Commercial and Finance/Treasury teams of organisations across 22 markets on their digital transformation journey. The survey sheds light on corporate ambitions, successes, and lingering concerns, while revealing that Indian companies have reported the highest impact from digitisation at 65%.
The survey reaffirms that India has firmly entered the digital age with the determination of an economic powerhouse. India’s drive for digitalisation is embodied by the government’s Digital India program and the rapid rise in internet users to 700 million. The findings revealed that the most important goals of digital transformation are boosting efficiency and enriching customer experience (40% respectively). This is followed by improving collaboration across functions and teams (33%).
The research found that for Indian businesses, cultural elements that most support digital transformation are collaboration across functions (47%) and diversity in transformation teams (38%). Sales and marketing (38%) and supply chain/procurement (21%) emerged as critical areas of an organisation that urgently need digital transformation. The survey further enlightens the growing role that treasury and finance play in enabling change and innovation.
Indian businesses see cloud technology as essential to realising digital transformation within the treasury and finance function. The research shows that Indian companies (72%) are more likely to prioritise it than the global average of 67%. It is interesting that nearly three-quarters of the respondents contend that migration to the cloud is a crucial aspect of the transformation journey, showing positive signs for India’s cloud technology sector, which is expected to be worth $13.5 bn by 2026. Respondents also showed confidence in advanced analytics (38%) and APIs (36%) as tools to transform treasury and finance. Within treasury, financial reporting (51%) is the top priority for digitalisation, followed by investments (45%) and procurement (34%).
It further reveals that strategic partnerships are likely to be a prominent feature of digital transformation, with banks (36%) and fintech partnerships (34%) being the most popular among Indian respondents. For example, DBS Bank India recently partnered with Gofrugal Technologies to help SMEs digitise their supply chain and expand sales channels via ONDC.
Divyesh Dalal, Managing Director & Head – Global Transaction Services, DBS Bank India said, “The DBS-FT Digital Transformation Survey reaffirms that companies in India recognise the benefits of digitisation. Indian companies have seen the highest transformation success among all the countries at 65% over the global average of 58%. The survey mirrors our interactions with companies in India that are looking for increased efficiency and improved customer experience as the goals of digitisation, as well as their challenges while adopting emerging technologies. At DBS Bank India we have been at the forefront of enabling customers to embrace digitalisation through intelligent banking solutions. We are well positioned to lend our expertise to enable greater collaboration between commercial and finance teams so that digital adoption is scalable.”
Although India’s digital transformation is accelerating, a few areas for improvement exist- including the professional skill gap and data privacy. According to the research findings, the skill gap (47%) and data privacy concerns (38%) are major roadblocks for organisations. Given the significant outcomes accrued by companies through digitisation, working on these areas will be a key priority.
The research survey also identifies businesses based on their performance in digitalising their businesses. They are categorised into ‘transformation leaders’, ‘developing leaders’ and ‘transformation laggards’. 12% of Indian respondents are transformation leaders, the second highest proportion of leaders among Asian respondents. Additionally, 30% of Indian businesses are in the developing leaders’ group, which indicates that the country’s overall count of transformational leaders is poised to increase. However, India’s transformation leaders currently are lower than the laggards (14%).
The findings give a deeper understanding of the digital transformation trends in India and will be useful for companies aiming to offer digital solutions that help organisations address these challenges and achieve business priorities. Digital transformation is a continuous endeavour, adapting to new technology, revising internal processes and enhancing skills to adopt digital solutions at scale.
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