Priorities For Finance Automation In 2023

5 January 2023

Investments in automation have increased by double digits over the past few years, and this rise is anticipated to continue even if it will happen at a little slower rate than in prior years.

Businesses’ plans for automation in 2023 and their investment priorities will change as a result of the uncertain economy and the necessity for automation technologies to work together flawlessly. Since many predict that 2023 will be a recession year, firms will adopt a more restrained approach to IT investment. 

Investments in automation have increased by double digits over the past few years, and this rise is anticipated to continue even if it will happen at a little slower rate than in prior years. When there is a downturn in the economy, emphasis will be more intensely focused on how automation may actually boost financial performance by bringing more cash to the balance sheet and cutting costs to increase operating profitability.

Key Priorities Of Financial Automation In 2023:

Automating manual repetitive operations, addressing supply chain issues, enhancing order-to-cash, enhancing customer experience, and cutting lead times will be the top priority in terms of processes. There must be several types of automation in place to address these issues. According to some, the main technology required to enhance operations is workflow automation. Along with robotic process automation, intelligent document processing, and other forms of automation, application integration is crucial.

Broadening automation technologies to support seamless end-to-end automation

Enterprises have typically had to choose a variety of automation solutions from several vendors to adopt through automation. Finance teams need to give smooth integration of these technologies a high priority because it is a major problem. Leading automation platform vendors have added various forms of automation in recent years to provide a wide range of automation capabilities. These types of automation include workflow automation to move work toward completion while supporting both automated and human-in-the-loop requirements, front-end automation using RPA, and backend automation using APIs. It also offers content automation, which applies AI to transform both structured and unstructured content into a form that can be accessed by machines.

Finance teams are now more simply and swiftly able to extract insights from massive data sets because of the expansion of automation capabilities. As a result, CFOs and leaders in finance are able to make better judgments than before and unstructured data can be unlocked to provide firms a huge competitive advantage.

Measuring the business value of automation

The ability for finance teams to link improvements to financial outcomes is another major challenge. Process mining, which examines a business process, and task mining, which determines how employees carry out the actual work or tasks within a wider business process, can both help finance teams overcome these challenges.

Process mining creates documentation on how a business process operates in production by gathering event logs from applications, producing a statistical study of process efficiency. Task mining records how manual labor is conducted by monitoring employees when they are performing the tasks. It also generates a statistical analysis that offers a score about whether the task is a viable candidate for automation.

Further automating manual repetitive processes and reducing lead time

As the economy gets tighter, it is important to thoroughly grasp the automation potential before investing in it. This will help create high-quality paperwork and specifications and give you a way to prioritize your efforts. Businesses can dramatically shorten closure days, enhance agility, reduce costs, boost productivity, decrease delays, and minimize errors by automating their financial procedures further. In turn, this frees up the finance team’s time to concentrate on other important areas such as growth strategy, risk management, and success.

Finance executives predict more financial volatility in 2023, thus automation technologies should be a key component of enhancing operational performance. Leading automation platform vendors are concentrating on various initiatives to provide platforms that are extensible, easier to use, and significantly better at planning, quantifying benefits prior to an automation, and measuring performance on an ongoing basis that is tied to financial performance. It is imperative that businesses review what they have automated and identify areas for improvement in order to better position themselves for the uncertain market of 2023.

SMEs: Leveraging On Data To Increase Profits


Fatihah Ramzi, DigitalCFO Asia | 13 December 2022

Koren Wines, Asia Managing Director for Global Small Business Platform Xero.

Many small and medium-sized businesses have yet to comprehensively employ data analytics within their organizations, but they can begin with small steps by adapting what’s already in place. Data analysis offers a wealth of options for improving business decisions of all kinds, strategy, production, operations, and marketing. Unfortunately, it’s the very companies that are slow to adopt technology that may benefit the most.  

To understand more about leveraging on data to grow one’s business, DigitalCFO Asia spoke with Koren Wines, Asia Managing Director for Global Small Business Platform Xero, on how SMEs can unlock the full potential of their data to obtain data-driven wisdom to better guide business outcomes 

Reasons Why Organizations Are Being Held Back From Wanting To Use Their Data Successfully

It is not about want. It’s about all kinds of other things that are going on for small businesses. Small businesses are run incredibly lean, and they spend all their time running the business. Many small businesses know that they need to do things differently and that they need to digitize. They also know that they don’t have all the information at their fingertips as they are so busy running their business that they just don’t have time to put the energy into working out how to get data automated and seamlessly integrated so it’s delivering insights for them. 

When you start a business, you don’t know what you don’t know. Koren Wines shares that she actually comes from a business background and has owned her own business. One of the businesses she owned was a restaurant and when she started that business, she claims that she was not at all digitally digitally savvy. She didn’t understand how apps work together and software came together to deliver insights. 

She started that business because her husband had a hospitality background and was super excited to start his own restaurant. However, they soon started to realize that you know all the processes they had in place were not bringing out valuable insights. They did have accounting software and an electronic point of sale system, but those did not integrate. They were aware that they weren’t getting the insights that they needed out of their processes in order to make the decisions that they needed to make. 

But the problem was, you start a business and you’re running at a rate of knots – as mentioned before, small businesses are lean, so they do not have the time to stop and implement systems on their own.  For small business owners, the priority is to keep their business going. 

“So, I don’t think it’s about a want. We knew that there were there was amazing opportunity to digitise and optimize and you know and become more efficient. But we just didn’t have the people the time or you know, or the knowledge to be able to do it,” says Koren Wines, Asia Managing Director for Global Small Business Platform Xero.  

Impact on SMEs in the Financial Services Sector

Industry 4.0 refers to the adoption of new information technologies that allow massive amounts of data to be digitally collected, analyzed, and exploited in businesses to make better decisions. As a result, determining how businesses may use data components to improve their performance has emerged as an important research topic. This issue is becoming increasingly important for SMEs. 

It has been discovered that data adoption can have an impact on both operational and economic performance. Because of shifting client expectations and greater competition from Fintech competitors, the financial services sector simply cannot afford to leave data unexploited. Instead, SMEs should maximize consumer understanding and establish a competitive advantage by leveraging existing (and new) data sets. Several industry participants are already utilizing data analytics approaches to create compelling use cases, but many organizations are still lagging behind due to their preference for more short-term solutions. 

Case Studies Whereby Organizations Were Able To Increase Their Profits Simply From Leveraging On Data

  1. Panamericana 

F&B was hit hard during the pandemic, forcing healthy and bakery Panamerica to pivot to online delivery. It also became increasingly important for them to allocate and manage costs more efficiently. Panamericana reconciles transactions easily with the adoption of software that provides real-time bank feeds and reconciliation, allowing the business to do away with previously laborious manual processes, such as painstakingly updating Excel sheets. 

At the same time, stakeholders can access live data online via a smartphone, and generate financial reports quickly. This helps the restaurant allocate and manage costs more efficiently and allows companies to compete better in an economic environment that is constantly changing in response to evolving technology. 

  1. SGfitfam 

Fitness studio and wellness consultancy, SGfitfam, has saved an estimated 10 man-hours weekly on tracking and reporting financial data which has allowed them to focus on client wellness and developing new offerings. The “budget manager” tool was a particularly useful tool, to keep track of expenses and in setting up monthly budgets. The cloud-based accounting platform also allowed the team the visibility of monthly revenue goals and ensured that their finances stayed on track.  

Recommendations On Getting Started In Using Data to Make Informed Decisions

First and foremost, get help, business owners should find someone who knows their business inside out. Usually, the people that know the business better than the business owners are the accountants. This is because they know the financials of the business, and this is an amazing opportunity for accountants to move from just giving financial data to the business to speaking about those insights. 

Once a business’ data is moving, that’s when businesses owners want the help as they want to be able to make decisions about their business. Business owners simply want to be able to make decisions about their business, have the data interconnected, flowing seamlessly between the apps and then to be able to extract that to give them visibility. This visibility will allow businesses to understand whether they could make decisions in recruiting more people, whether they should grow, whether they should purchase equipment or whether they could expand into new markets. 

“Those are really critical decision-making things, and it is so lonely and isolating, you know, being in a business on your own, you feel like if you don’t have the data, you feel like you’re making decisions in a vacuum, and so you just need somebody to come and help you to get the data all lined up,” says Koren Wines, Asia Managing Director for Global Small Business Platform Xero. 

With that new visibility to be able to analyse and assess data to then give insights into the direction that businesses should go, getting help from an experienced accountant, is the very first businesses must do to get started on using data to make informed decisions. 

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The Blueprints Of Finance; Machine Learning & Data Analytics


Fatihah Ramzi, DigitalCFO Asia | 26 September 2022

Machine learning and data analytics will revolutionize the finance sector over the coming few decades.

Machine learning and data analytics will revolutionize the finance sector over the coming few decades. The capability to automate repetitive processes in this day and age allows finance teams to concentrate on significantly greater duties. Analytics are also essential to finance since they show where organizations are doing well and where they may do better.

Machine Learning

Fundamentally speaking, machine learning is a branch of artificial intelligence that can carry out tasks with little to no assistance from humans. This implies that it can swiftly analyze complex data sets, find trends, and resolve issues in the context of finance. 

Additionally, it can facilitate the development of new goods and services, generate analytical insights, and enable customers to take advantage of more affordable, customized goods. This gives lenders the opportunity to improve the responsiveness and efficiency of the goods and services they offer. But which areas benefit the most significantly?

Fraud and money laundering detection have become considerably more simple and efficient thanks to machine learning. Preserving client trust requires being able to tell customers that the risk of fraud is always assessed and recognized faster than ever. This is made easier by machine learning, which offers real-time analysis of account activities and discovers typical client behavior.

The financial industry, which substantially benefits from the ability to process massive data sets to obtain crucial insights into industry trends and anticipate swings in financial assets, is unsurprisingly one of the main use cases for this new technology. Having said that, the financial sector is discovering a wide range of applications for machine learning, from forecasting cash flow activities to identifying fraud to even enhancing the customer experience. 

Data Analytics

The role of data analytics in finance is expanding. A growing number of companies worldwide are adopting data analytics to enhance internal processes. In order to better understand their customers, they also rely on data analytics. Because of this, organizational leaders, especially Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) can make decisions that will improve corporate results.

Financial analysts or data analysts will work with CFOs to make sure the business understands its raw data and reaps its benefits. Since data analysis is essential to the success of financial institutions, the future of data analytics in finance is secure. After all, more unstructured data will be available for organizational executives to evaluate as the banking sector continues to digitize. They can utilize data analytics to assist them use the data.

In a very short amount of time, data analytics and machine learning has progressively taken over a variety of businesses, and the financial sector is no exception. Finance  companies have finally recognized that in order to maximize benefits, it is essential to fully employ generated data. Additionally, the application of business analytics in the finance sector improves efficiency, offers outstanding solutions, and fosters the development of a customer-focused strategy for the sector. But it also reduces danger and frauds that exist in the financial sector.

New Tech Integration Helps Accounting Firms Improve Cashflow And Get Paid Faster


DigitalCFO Newsroom | 12 September 2022

New integration between CCH iFirm and FeeSynergy Collect helps accounting firms reduce write-offs and save administrative staff time, while getting paid in 30 days or less.

Wolters Kluwer, a leading global provider of expert solutions, insights and services for tax and accounting professionals, today announced that thanks to a new technology integration between its market-leading practice management software and the leading debtor management software among accounting firms in Australia and New Zealand, accounting firms can now significantly improve cashflow, get paid faster, reduce write-offs and free up administrative time to accelerate firm growth.

Now that CCH iFirm, the Wolters Kluwer award-winning, cloud-based practice management software, integrates with the FeeSynergy Collect automated debtor management and payment solution, accounting firms can send customised, automated email payment reminders to clients. Invoices and statements are all clickable to view and pay immediately, within the security of the accounting firm’s website domain and gateway. 

With all aspects of debtor management on one platform, accounting firms can now improve cashflow and accelerate firm growth, because they can:

  • Get paid faster – reducing invoice payment days to 30 days or less, versus the industry average of 75-90 days;
  • Reduce write-offs –from an industry average of 23% to just 8%[1] – a 188% relative improvement; and
  • Reduce administrative staff time spent on collections – by as much as 80%[2] – so staff can spend more time on more strategic initiatives that deliver client value and drive growth.

“Managing cashflow can be challenging in any economic climate, but within the backdrop of multiple economic headwinds in 2022, ensuring prompt invoice payment is more important than ever before,” said Rakesh Naidu, Head of Product, Wolters Kluwer Tax and Accounting Asia Pacific. “In addition to helping accounting firms improve practice management effectiveness and efficiency, CCH iFirm Practice Manager now goes a step further to help improve cash flow, reduce administrative burdens and further support business growth.”

To learn more about how this new technology integration can help accountant firms reduce debtor days and improve cashflow, access the Wolters Kluwer free ebook “How to get paid in less than 30 days,” or attend a no-cost demonstration of CCH iFirm Practice Manager and Fee Synergy Collect.

Why Financial Institutions Need To Adopt A Cloud-first Approach To Identity Security


Chern-Yue Boey | 29 August 2022

 Chern-Yue Boey, Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific, SailPoint

With digital transformation and the exponential growth in digital transactions during the pandemic, financial institutions have had to become more data-driven and look towards cloud migration.

Recently, Monetary Authority of Singapore, (MAS), has issued a guideline for all financial institutions operating in Singapore to develop a comprehensive and future-ready public cloud risk management strategy to ensure high standards of compliance controls, data governance and mitigation protocols. 

MAS also states that as identity and access management is the cornerstone of effective cloud security risk management, financial institutions should enforce the principle of “least privilege” stringently when granting access to information assets in the public cloud. Access rights and system privileges should be granted according to the roles and responsibilities of the staff, contractors and service providers, thus ensuring each identity in the organization receives the right access to the right resources to do their job when they need it. 

The cloud helps organizations scale up their operations, embrace flexibility, increase process efficiency and enhance data security, but yet a large percentage of financial institutions are still running on their legacy identity security infrastructure and are hesitant to switch to the cloud due to the hefty amount of financial and technical investments to their legacy tech stack. 

A mindset shift is crucial

As a traditional, legacy approach relies on manual processes for tracking data access and user identities, there are possibilities for human errors and inconsistencies, which may result in gaps that can be exploited by cyber attackers. 

Also, as work processes are siloed, IT and management teams do not have visibility into roles, responsibilities and data access in the organization. 

In order to streamline operations and meet compliance requirements, it is important for financial institutions to automate business processes and strengthen their identity security practices. With a comprehensive identity security solution, financial services can automate the management of all user identities, entitlements, systems, data and cloud services. 

The need of the hour is a mindset shift among traditional banks, as the transition to the cloud is not just about the technology, but also about the changes needed in the governance, processes, infrastructure and data framework, which means this should be a business transformation, and a top-down agenda for traditional banks. 

Explore a phased cloud transition

For legacy banking architectures, migrating to the cloud is not a cake walk. Instead of an abrupt shift, banks can undertake a phased approach where legacy applications are migrated incrementally, in a step-by-step manner to avoid business disruptions.

Traditional banks will first need to identify the type of platform they need, ie; public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, and thereafter prioritize the workloads that need to be moved to the cloud. Then, it is important to ensure all the identity foundations are in place, followed by seeking a SaaS model that will meet their needs. Finally, reviewing the decisions made is vital for any learning, and to ensure that their priorities are still valid. 

With SaaS models, banks can benefit from a range of advantages including cost savings, flexibility, enhanced security and automation, and can drive value in a shorter time. A cloud-based SaaS solution will also enable banks to be agile and innovate quickly to meet evolving customer needs, which is especially critical today as banks are facing competition from digital-first banks and non-bank companies providing financial services.

An integrated identity security solution is key

Banks should look at implementing a cloud native, multi-tenant, single codebase, SaaS-based identity security solution instead of a cloud hosted solution for frequent updates and better TCO. A modern, cloud-native identity platform will give banks visibility of all the identities, accounts, and accesses in their organization. 

As financial institutions are faced with significant security, operational and compliance challenges, they need a robust identity security solution that integrates seamlessly with existing systems and workflows which as a result, saves costs, provides extensive visibility, and supports a solid security strategy. Banks which employ a mix of on-premises, cloud and hybrid applications, need flexibility, ease of integration and control to support these heterogeneous environments. 

On top of these challenges, as financial institutions operate in a highly-regulated environment, they need certification of user access to facilitate compliance requirements. Hence, there lies a bigger need for banks to rapidly secure their dynamic work environments by deploying AI-driven identity security which will provide approval recommendations based on peer group access and accelerate certification process across any platform or application on-premises or in the cloud.

Harness AI and ML to secure all identities

With workforce transformation and digital transformation, there’s a rise in non-human identities, RPA and IoT, resulting in the volume of identity data and complexities increasing beyond human capacity. 

A modern identity security solution that incorporates artificial intelligence and machine learning is vital for these identities to be managed as it will empower financial institutions to automate the discovery, management, and control of all user access throughout their digital lifecycle. With automation, identity processes and decisions, such as access requests, access changes, role modelling, and access certifications can be streamlined so employees can focus on innovation, collaboration, and productivity.

With a focus on the core of identity security, banks can control access ensuring users have the access they need when they need it, and spot potential threats. This approach gives banks the ability to automate IT tasks, keep policies up to date, and drive stronger security and compliance across the entire organization.

Stay ahead of the security curve 

With an automated identity process, management teams can have a complete view of their users’ access, including employees, partners, vendors, contractors and non-human identities, and ensure they are only accessing, managing and sharing data for which they are authorized. 

Banks can also easily and securely remove or reinstate access when an employee joins, changes roles or leaves the company, without any human interaction, which is in line with MAS Technology Risk Management guidelines that require financial institutions to ensure that access rights that are no longer needed, as a result of a change in a user’s job responsibilities or employment status (e.g. transfer or termination of employment), should be revoked or disabled promptly.

By tracking all access activity within the organization, the auditing and reporting process becomes more streamlined and cost-effective. Automation also makes it simple to enforce access controls and fine-grained entitlements that prevent conflicts of interest, information theft and compliance violations, enabling a robust, effective, and compliant cyber security posture.  

With AI and ML-driven identity security, financial institutions can make smart access decisions to uncover and remediate hidden or unknown issues that may pose risks to the organization, and innovate security processes aligned with the evolving needs and complexities of the financial services industry.

Singapore Takes The Wheel On Data-driven Technology


DigitalCFO Newsroom | 29 August 2022

One in three companies will digitally transform in the next 12 months.

Companies in Singapore are the most likely in the Asia Pacific to use data analytics and visualisation, cybersecurity and robotic process automation (RPA) in the next 12 months, according to a survey by global professional accounting body CPA Australia.

Singapore-based businesses are already the top users of RPA in the region, with 57 per cent of local respondents saying their company deployed RPA as a business tool.

The Business Technology Report 2022 surveyed 820 professionals across various industries in Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, mainland China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Vietnam. Respondents were asked about technology adoption in their workplaces and the impact it had on business performance.

CPA Australia Singapore Divisional President Max Loh said the take-up of technology by businesses in Singapore would pay dividends.

“New technologies enhance organisational efficiencies by automating many mundane as well as high volume tasks. This allows employees to focus on work that needs strategic thinking, such as customer engagement or creating more value for organisations and stakeholders,” Loh said.

More than 80 per cent of respondents in Singapore said their company has a digital transformation strategy, higher than the survey average at 77 per cent. About one-third of respondents said their organisation will start or continue implementing a digital transformation or technology strategy in the next 12 months.

According to Loh, “Technology will play a pivotal role in an evolving future workplace. It’s critical for companies to invest in and fully embrace advanced technologies to maintain their advantage in a globally competitive marketplace.”  

However, the survey reveals many companies need external support to overcome barriers to digital transformation. High financial costs and a low return on investment were a challenge for 37 per cent of respondents while 35 per cent pointed to a shortage of technology talent.

About two-thirds of Singapore respondents said their business worked with technology companies or vendors in the past year to supplement their technology needs.

To address the talent shortage, respondents from larger-sized companies were more likely to report they had outsourced their technology needs. Respondents from smaller-sized companies upskilled or reskilled existing employees.

CPA Australia Digital Committee chair and PwC Singapore Digital Business and Risk Services Leader Greg Unsworth said tech talent would be in high demand as companies become more digital.

“Data scientists and engineers, cybersecurity specialists, and developers of all sorts will be highly sought after. Considering the ongoing talent challenges, including the shortage of talent faced by many, it is not only pragmatic but it’s also becoming increasingly vital for businesses to upskill or reskill their current workforce and harness the capability of driving human-led and technology-enabled productivity, innovation and growth,” Unsworth said.

4 in 10 Organisations in Singapore Still Lagging in Digital Agility Despite Increased Technology Adoption


DigitalCFO Newsroom | 4 August 2022

Data-Driven Business Transformation Key to Driving Greater Agility.

A study commissioned by Workday, a global leader in enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources, has found that four in 10 organisations in Singapore (37%) are still lagging in digital agility[1]– being in the slow and tactical stages of digital agility maturity. This is despite the opportunity to accelerate digital transformation and increase technology adoption during the pandemic. The study found that the fear of failure and cross departmental collaboration were among the top challenges cited by organisations in Singapore in pursuing digital transformation.

Conducted in association with IDC, the IDC-Workday Digital Agility Index Asia/Pacific 2022 highlights the extent to which Asia Pacific (APAC) organisations have progressed in digital agility since the COVID-19 pandemic. First started in 2020, the study assesses and ranks organisations on the Digital Agility Index (DAI). From their scores, organisations are identified either as “Agility Leaders” if they are found to be in the agile/integrated stages of digital agility maturity, or “Agility Followers” if it is determined that they are in the slow/tactical stages.

Singapore drops to second position in Digital Agility Index, overtaken by Australia

The study found that across the nine APAC markets surveyed, progress in digital agility is uneven. Organisations in Australia achieved greatest progress in digital transformation efforts and ranked first this year. Singapore, which ranked first in 2020, dropped to second position, followed by New Zealand, Korea, and Hong Kong. Taiwan, a new addition to the study, came in sixth, followed by Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand.  

From a regional perspective, only 38% of APAC organisations are in the advanced stages of digital agility. Still, progress is being made overall as this figure reflects an 18 percentage point increase when compared to 2020. For the 62% of organisations in APAC lagging in digital agility (i.e. agility followers), technology adoption is often driven by functional requirements and business needs such as for e-commerce, safety measures, and remote work during the pandemic.

Lack of data-driven insights in driving digital agility in Singapore

The study suggests that more organisations could leverage technology to gain data-driven insights which would contribute to greater digital agility. Only 36% of organisations in Singapore are supported by an integrated HR and finance platform with predictive analytics. In fact, among the IT leaders surveyed, close to six in 10 (57%) said they face challenges in choosing the right technology solutions that can help drive business growth. Additionally, among finance leaders, only 37% said their organisations ensure resiliency by using automated detection of financial disruption based on predictive capabilities.

Opportunities to drive greater agility in managing talent

There are also opportunities for organisations in Singapore to pursue digital transformation more holistically to bring about better outcomes including in attracting and retaining talent. Close to eight in 10 (77%) HR leaders in Singapore said they face challenges in delivering high HR service standards in times of rapid change. In addition, a staggering 83% lack a holistic talent strategy supported by data analytics to identify training needs, growth areas and drive employee engagement. In fact, only a third of organisations (32%) in Singapore have enterprise talent systems and policies to maximise talent attraction and retention. This is a critical area that requires attention as it enables organisations to successfully execute digital initiatives and become more agile in capturing new opportunities.

Need for greater collaboration between CFOs, CHROs, and CIOs to drive enterprise agility in the post-pandemic era

In the new norm led by a digital-first economy, leveraging digital agility can offer competitive advantages but this is only possible if organisations rethink their approach to closing digital agility gaps through technology and alignment of functional business requirements across the C-Suite. For positive business outcomes, not only must organisations accelerate their digital transformation to narrow the agility gaps but also have an integrated approach as a strategic imperative. This requires CFOs, CHROs, and CIOs to collaborate and work on their cross-functional digital transformation initiatives, integrate digital talent management, as well as HR and finance processes.

Comments on the News

“While there is considerable progress with more organisations making the leap to become agility leaders, the fact that the majority of organisations within Asia Pacific are still lagging creates an opportunity to help organisations digitally accelerate,” said Sandeep Sharma, President for Asia, Workday. “With agility now a key source of competitive advantage in today’s digital-first economy, organisations supported by data-driven processes and imbued with digital skills and work cultures are best positioned to thrive in today’s changing world.”

The unprecedented disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic forced many organisations to fast-track their digital transformations. It is not surprising to see increased technology adoption driving agility improvement,” said Lawrence Cheok, Associate Research Director of Digital Transformation, IDC. “However, true digital agility is about capitalising on change in order to thrive. To do so, organisations need to emulate agility leaders and make the leap from tactical to strategic enterprise-wide transformations in their culture, people, processes, and technology implementation.”

To learn more and access the full report: IDC-Workday Digital Agility Index Asia/Pacific 2022 

Latest Program In Asia Allows For Collaboration With Startups


DigitalCFO Newsroom | 25 July 2022

Merck aims to generate collaboration opportunities with early-stage innovative companies.

Merck, a leading science and technology company, today announced the launch of its Uptune program in Asia, including Indonesia, which aims to generate collaboration opportunities with early-stage innovative companies.

“The startup environment in Asia is unique and inspiring. Building mutually beneficial and sustainable partnerships with promising startups and creating synergies between Merck and young companies will bring forward the next big ideas,” said Steven Johnston, Vice President, Head of Technology Innovation and Enablement, Merck Group Science and Technology Office. “Merck can be a strong supporter for them to jointly grow their business, providing not only funding, but also knowledge and industry expertise.”

The Merck Uptune Program is Merck’s startup collaboration program. It supports early-stage companies across Asia working on relevant topics within healthcare, life science, electronics, and smart manufacturing, and with a strong focus on

  • digital health solutions;
  • innovative technologies/materials for semiconductor and display;
  • cellular, molecular- and immuno-assays; cell and gene therapy tools, chemistry and materials for life science;
  • Supply chain innovation, data management, simulation and analytics for manufacturing.

The selected companies will receive up to € 100,000 in financial assistance, mentoring, and coaching from Merck experts in the areas of research, business development, strategy and finance. With the aim of developing proofs-of-concepts, the companies have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of business scenarios and needs and test their solutions on the international stage with Merck’s global presence in 66 countries, which could lead to instrumental business cases or a partnership with Merck.  

The Merck Uptune startup collaboration program will start in mid-November 2022. The application period will run through September 4, 2022 via the website (Apply Now). Merck is looking for up to five startups to participate in the program. 

Merck has offered various support for emerging startup companies in China. In the past three years, 30 startups were enrolled in the Merck China Accelerator program and received up to € 50,000 in funding and individual mentoring and coaching from internal and external experts. 60% of those startups reached collaborations with Merck. Now, Merck is taking a further step towards evolving its Accelerator program to the Uptune program in Asia, by means of increased funding of €100,000 to empower young companies to devise proofs-of-concepts, run pilot projects, and develop partnerships with Merck.

Introducing The Improved HelloSign For HubSpot Integration


DigitalCFO Newsroom | 22 July 2022

HelloSign helps salespeople work more efficiently and stay organized throughout the entire sales cycle.

The HelloSign for HubSpot integration allows users to create, sign, track, and save documents for signature directly in HubSpot. Its purpose-built to help salespeople work more efficiently and stay organized throughout the entire sales cycle.

The company has been quietly working on updates in the background, and are incredibly excited to relaunch this Hubspot sales integration with upgraded features and added functionality.

At a glance, the new integration lets you: 

  • Send signature requests from Contact, Deal, and Company records in HubSpot.
  • See when a contract has been sent, viewed, signed, declined, or cancelled from within HubSpot. 
  • Create templates directly in HubSpot without needing to switch back to HelloSign.
  • Add HubSpot data to your HelloSign templates that autofill documents with HubSpot record information.
  • Save documents back to Hubspot automatically once they’ve been signed. 

Together, HubSpot and HelloSign allow businesses to supercharge their sales process, stay organized, and eliminate friction through one integrated workflow. Let’s take a look at some of the new features in more detail and explore how they help salespeople do more in HubSpot. 

Save time with synced, autofill Templates

If your teams are wasting time with redundant tasks or manual work, they have less time for the important stuff—like nurturing leads, building relationships, and closing deals. 

With our relaunched integration, your sales teams can create reusable templates for all your frequently used contracts directly in HubSpot. This means you only need to design a contract once, and when your template is built, you can quickly send it out to new customers in a few clicks. 

But that’s not all. We’ve also built new functionality that pulls your data directly into the template from your contact’s HubSpot properties. That means all essential information is synced and filled into your templates automatically—giving reps more time to grow your business and build great relationships with customers. 

Manage and send documents directly from HubSpot

Switching between multiple tools, interfaces, and platforms creates unnecessary friction and distraction for reps. That’s why we’ve made it possible to manage documents and send them out for signature straight from HubSpot. 

Now, you can send off contracts for eSignature from Contact, Deal, or Company objects in HubSpot. This tighter integration means that however you’re using HubSpot to chase leads, you always have access to an eSignature integration that lets you react quickly and close deals while they’re hot. 

Plus, it’s easy for teams to access the latest information when they need it, because every signed contract is automatically stored straight back in HubSpot’s CRM the minute it’s signed. That means you stay organized and reduce the number of tools salespeople switch between during the sales cycle. 

Stay productive—keep track of all your sales in motion

Losing track of important documents is a nightmare. Has a contract been sent, viewed, signed, declined, cancelled?

With the upgraded integration, you can check the status of documents out for signature without ever leaving HubSpot. Any action your leads take is automatically recorded and stored on the HubSpot CRM card. This gives you key visibility into all of your sales, so you don’t have to waste time chasing leads for a response. 

To make keeping track of contracts even easier, HelloSign also automatically sends reminders for unsigned documents on the 3rd and 7th day—but you can manually send a reminder through HubSpot, too.

Take your sales workflows to the next level 

With this HubSpot sales integration, salespeople have everything they need to power better, more streamlined workflows. If you’re already using the integration, you can upgrade now—all previous data won’t be affected. 

The best part? The new HelloSign integration with HubSpot is available on all Essentials, Standard, and Premium plans—so you can spend more time growing your business and less time chasing signatures.

South Korea’s First Cyber Fusion Center And MSSP/MDR Sharing Community


DigitalCFO Newsroom | 21 July 2022

The cyber fusion center will enable PAGO Networks to provide advanced cyber fusion services and solutions to its customers.

The cyber fusion center will enable PAGO Networks to provide advanced cyber fusion services and solutions to its customers, including orchestrated threat response, high-fidelity threat intelligence-as-a-service, cyber fusion-as-a-service, and collective defense.

Cyware, the industry’s leading provider of the technology platform to build Cyber Fusion Centers for Enterprises and MSSPs/MDRs and threat intelligence sharing for ISACs, ISAOs, CERTs, and others has announced a partnership with PAGO Networks, a South Korean MDR provider and value-added distributor, for building South Korea’s first cyber fusion center for tackling advanced cyber threats for customers and a collective defense community for Korean organizations.

The partnership comes at a time of massive escalation in advanced cyber threats targeting organizations in South Korea. The partnership will make Cyware’s globally proven cyber fusion technology available to the security teams operating in South Korea. Cyware, a Gartner and Forrester recognized security solutions provider, is renowned for its proprietary cyber fusion technology platform that breaks silos within security teams by enabling collective defense through decoupled vendor agnostic SOAR connecting cyber, IT, and DevOps technologies across cloud and on-premise environments, end-to-end threat intelligence operationalization, and 360-degree threat response and management. Using Cyware’s cyber fusion center technology, security teams can automate their SecOps workflows with next-gen multi-tenant SOC orchestration capabilities while gaining unparalleled threat visibility and control of their attack surface.

Speaking on the launch, Gary C. Tate, VP of APJ region at Cyware, said, “South Korea has been facing the onslaught of cyber threats, particularly advanced nation-state actors. Security teams across industry sectors need to move beyond traditional strategies that are overwhelmingly siloed, manual, reactive, and devoid of threat visibility. We partnered with PAGO for their capability to integrate and provide cyber fusion technology at scale through their advanced PAGO DeepACT MDR Service. Together, PAGO Networks and Cyware will enable security teams to adopt a collective defense and data and workflow orchestration approach driven by real-time operationalization of high-fidelity threat intelligence across customer infrastructures and networks for proactive threat identification, analysis, and automated response.”

“The combination of Cyware’s advanced Cyber Fusion Platform and PAGO DeepACT MDR service and expertise will enable our partners and customers to proactively defend against threats and respond faster during attacks,” said Paul Kown, CEO of PAGO Networks. “Together Cyware and PAGO will bring next-generation cyber fusion, threat intelligence automation solutions, and SOC transformation solutions to Korean organizations enabling them to be part of a large collective defense community.”

Earlier in May 2021, Cyware announced its presence in the Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) region. The autonomous SOC fusion center technology provider well known for being the global backbone of collective defense at the industry scale for more than 20 information sharing communities (ISACs/ISAOs) and their 10,000+ member organizations, has since then enabled several prominent managed security service providers (MSSPs/MDRs) across the region to expand their cybersecurity offerings and services and better protect their customers with its “any-to-any” threat intelligence orchestration-driven threat response solutions. The partnership with PAGO will open doors for security teams in South Korea to better protect enterprise and government networks and gain a strategic advantage over threat actors.

Witness the Rise of the Power of Innovation at the End of this July


DigitalCFO Newsroom | 20 July 2022

The Global Digital Economy Innovation Competition 2022 has attracted 500+ projects from over 20 countries to sign up.

Since its launch, the Global Digital Economy Innovation Competition 2022 has attracted 500+ projects from over 20 countries to sign up. The final will be staged at China National Convention Center in Beijing on July 29.

The Global Digital Economy Conference (hereinafter referred to as GDEC) 2022 is hosted by Peoples Government of Beijing Municipality, National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Ministry of Commerce, Cyberspace Administration of China, and China Association for Science and Technology. As an important part of the GDEC 2022, the GDEIC is jointly organized by Beijing Municipal Bureau of Economy and Information Technology, Chaoyang District Peoples Government of Beijing Municipality and Asia Data Group. With the theme of “Scientific and Technological Innovation Empowers Industry – A New Pattern of Digital Economy”, the competition consists of five sub competitions as well as exhibitions, industry matchmaking and cloud competitions to create a high-quality innovation competition that integrates online and offline. 11 high-quality projects stood out and won the admission ticket to the final after five fierce sub competitions. At that time, guests from governments, enterprises, universities, research institutes and finance and end-users will gather to witness the wonderful moment when the dream of innovation and entrepreneurship in the digital economy blossoms.

Gathering global high-quality innovation resources

As a China-based competition with a global outlook, this GDEIC, adhering to the concept of openness and collaboration, recruits roadshow projects from 20+ countries around the world. The selection criteria for projects will center on the hot issues, key points and difficulties in the development of the global digital economy. Innovation projects that are leading and promising in the field of digital economy will be cherry-picked from key industries such as the new-generation of information technology, digital healthcare, digital culture and sports, digital low carbon, digital consumption, and digital manufacturing as well as more than 20 sub-sectors, including artificial intelligence, blockchain, network security and digital environmental protection.

The five sub competitions has attracted more than 500 projects worldwide so as to bring together high-quality innovation resources and provide an important platform for global makers to display and communicate. In the end, 11 outstanding projects were shortlisted for the final. They are Yuntu WiseVision, Guodian Gaoke, Ilodo (Beijing) Sports Technology Co., Ltd., Nanhuai, Shenzhen Meikyo Environmental Technology Co., Ltd., German OLI Ecoystem, SHINEtoilets, Fubao Robot, E3A Healthcare Pte Ltd, PIXMOVING INC and Changhui Auto Steering System (Huangshan) Co., Ltd.

Accelerating the landing and transformation for projects

The final will invite executives from more than 100 leading investment institutions around the world, such as IDG Capital, Sequoia Capital, SBCVC, ASBV and GSR Ventures as investment mentors to provide more opportunities for excellent projects to interact with capital. Besides, experts, scholars and elites in digital economy will be invited to participate in the competition, all to build a benchmark event for digital economy entrepreneurship.

In order to help participants better present their projects, cloud exhibitions, web conferencing, livestreaming videos and metaverse venues will be adopted, together with interaction on the same screen, to realize superior display, communication and docking that break the limits of time and space. Furthermore, digital special effects are used offline for the diversified display of project information to build a metaverse scene where infinite creativity is enabled via technology.

According to the GDEIC’s Organizing Committee, in addition to the competition among 11 projects during the final, 20 companies will be invited for roadshows, exhibitions and docking on the spot to facilitate the deep integration of the digital economy and the real economy. Moreover, the introduction and promotion of landing policies for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, and industry docking and exchanges will be set, with government leaders, representatives of innovative enterprises and incubators, heads of industrial parks and leading companies in the industry invited to get involved in the on-site docking, so as to build a bridge for participants to communicate with governments, industrial parks, and enterprises of different natures, and promote the follow-up development and implementation of the industry.

The final will kick off in Chaoyang District. Since it first proposed to build a digital economy demonstration zone in Beijing in September 2020, the district, combined with its own resources, guided by the cultivation of digital industrial clusters and focused on enabling the upgrading of traditional industries, has been actively cultivating future-oriented new technologies, new business formats and new models, with a leading edge in the field of digital economy formed. The final will build a communication and cooperation platform for the shortlisted high-quality projects.

Let us witness the matchup on July 29.