DigitalCFO Newsroom | 8 July 2022
Sustainability progress impacted by the pandemic, with more than half of respondents having slowed down or halted related efforts.
Businesses around the world, including Singapore, are planning major investments in digital technologies to support ambitious expansion plans following lessons learned from the pandemic. New findings from an annual survey of 2,900 technology decision-makers, by Equinix, Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX), suggest that businesses across industries appear to remain bullish about their plans for further global expansion with 66% of Singapore respondents in the Equinix 2022 Global Tech Trends Survey indicated that their organization is planning to expand into new markets in the next 12 months.
The pandemic continues to have a significant impact on businesses’ digital strategies. More than half of Singapore IT leaders (54%) said they are accelerating their company’s digital evolution because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, over half (67%) confirmed their IT budgets have increased as a direct outcome of its legacy—an insight into the now broadly acknowledged necessity for robust digital infrastructure to pivot to evolving business needs in an instant. Furthermore, the majority of respondents (68%) believed the technology changes and investments implemented during the pandemic are here to stay.
While digitalization during the pandemic was borne out of necessity, digital-first business models appear set to continue into the new economic reality. A total of 78% of Singapore respondents said they will either maintain (27%) or increase (51%) their spending on carrier-neutral colocation solutions to facilitate the planned rise in digital deployments, while even more (62%) said they intend to increase investment in interconnection services as they plan to progress digital transformation and build resilience.
However, sustainable progress has been negatively impacted by the pandemic. 53% of Singapore respondents have either slowed down some non-essential sustainability efforts (38%) or halted all related efforts (15%). Nonetheless, about a third (31%) of respondents have increased their sustainability efforts, suggesting continued importance of sustainability in today’s business environment alongside new measures by the government to accelerate the green transition.
Yee May Leong, Managing Director, South East Asia, Equinix, said: “Businesses in Singapore are adopting more aggressive IT strategies and accelerating digital transformation journeys in the wake of the pandemic. This will enable businesses to leverage data-backed insights for enhanced security and agility, increasing overall resilience towards global dynamics. Maintaining progress on green initiatives will also be key for long term growth and success, which is crucial to meet evolving regulations and stakeholder requirements around sustainability. The globally distributed and sustainable digital infrastructure offered by Equinix is well positioned to help organizations expand their business and grow collaborative ecosystems across industries in the fast-growing Southeast Asia region.”
Ensuring expansions are supported by resilient digital models is business-critical, particularly at a time of increasing volatility and emerging threats. As part of their digital-first strategies, 85% of respondents from Singapore confirmed a key priority is improving cybersecurity; 83% said complying with local market data regulations is critical, while 83% highlighted the need to futureproof their businesses. According to IT leaders, the most feared threats were cyber attacks and downtime caused by infrastructure issues (both 76%), with security breaches and data leaks following closely (75%).
Other potentially limiting factors identified by businesses when it came to Singapore’s growth include supply chain challenges (68%), expanding volumes of data (65%) and the shift to hybrid work (65%).
Rick Villars, Group Vice President for Worldwide Research at IDC, noted: “Even as enterprises seek to navigate the waves of disruptions associated with inflation, supply chain disruptions, and unmet skills needs that arose in the first half of 2022, IDC consistently hears from IT leaders that timely and expansive access to innovative technology, interconnectivity, and intelligent SaaS resources is critical. Companies like Equinix, that can speed access to needed facilities and connectivity options while also enabling more effective use of hybrid and multicloud services, will play a vital role in helping IT teams make sustainable technology investment decisions and take full advantage of SaaS and digital infrastructure.”
In addition, survey findings from Singapore respondents revealed:
- Customer and employee experience prioritized: Recognizing digital adoption affects end users, 76% of IT leaders said enhancing customer experience is a priority. Companies also acknowledged improving employee experience is critical to their transformation journey and retention of talent, with 79% citing this.
- Cloud migration continues: Two-thirds (67%) of Singapore IT decision-makers said they plan to move more business functions to the cloud. Of those respondents, 46% plan to move more of their business-critical applications to the cloud, and 52% intend to move security functions to the cloud.
- Hybrid cloud dominates: Hybrid cloud models were the preferred approach for 57% of respondents. Seven in 10 (73%) Singaporean IT leaders are working with two or more cloud providers, indicating the need of a multicloud infrastructure. Interconnection may step in to help here, with respondents believing it increases speed of connectivity (43%) and increases flexibility of connectivity (40%).
- Investing in innovation: Many IT leaders are looking to futureproof their businesses and take full advantage of evolving technologies, such as 5G, the internet of things (IoT), and Web3. Over two-thirds (69%) of IT decision-makers across Singapore said they are moving to an everything as a service (XaaS) model, citing the simplification of IT infrastructure (70%), improved user experience (61%) and flexibility (59%) as the key reasons for doing so.