To manage digital disruption, fleet managers in the APAC region must focus on success in four key areas.

Digital disruption, a term growing more and more popular around the world, occurs when a business transformation takes place as a result of emerging digital technologies. Digital disruption can affect the value of a company’s existing goods and services, impacting even the value proposition of those goods and services and forcing organizations to rethink product lines and marketing.

Digital disruption is a concerning issue across industries and has recently become a serious business issue in transportation and logistics. Just as some industries may be more or less prone to digital disruption, so may different regions of the world vary in their vulnerability to the condition. Hyland.com identified the APAC region as particularly susceptible to digital disruption due to government-mandated change, limitations of legacy systems and a rise in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning throughout the region.

In an attempt to measure organizational sentiment about digital disruption, Japan-based Fujitsu surveyed more than 1,600 businesses from 13 different countries, including Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore, about four key business categories that are often impacted directly by changes in the prevailing digital landscape: People, Actions, Collaboration, and of course, Technology. Organizations responded based on their ability (or their lack of ability) to execute their digital strategy. Fujitsu compiled the survey results into a report entitled, “The Digital Transformation PACT Report.” While results are not specific to any one industry, the report shows that digital disruption is being experienced in significant ways across all industries, including Transportation and Logistics, and across all regions, including APAC.

Businesses are not shying away from transformative digital projects

For years, many businesses were hesitant to implement large-scale digital projects. Concerns about security, obsoletion and technological complexity caused uneasiness when it came to opening the checkbook. Initially, when many digital providers offered “fremium” solutions or beta solutions at discounted prices, these concerns were easily overcome. However, it did not take long to learn that freemium versions often lacked a necessary robustness, and beta versions were unreliable. The result: a recent willingness to loosen the purse strings and invest fully in complete and tested digital solutions.

According to the PACT report, almost half (46%) of organizations surveyed had already delivered transformative digital products and had realized concrete outcomes from these solutions. Around a third (29%) of organizations surveyed had digital projects underway, and 18% were currently, actively testing and/or developing digital projects. Indeed, less than 10% of organizations surveyed had yet to make a move in the realm of digital innovation.

The report indicated that almost half of respondents from Australia saw value in digital disruption as it pertains to generating new ideas. Forty-seven percent of Australian respondents said that “digital transformation in their organization is being used to create entirely new business functions and processes.” This was the highest number of respondents globally on this point.

The takeaway: Organizations that don’t implement appropriate, industry-specific digital innovations could be left behind. While digital technology is still relatively new, there are many viable solutions in existence right now – and particularly in the APAC region – that deliver quantifiable results.

The driving force for digital transformation is ignored at a company’s own peril

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype surrounding digital growth and new technologies. Indeed, almost half (44%) of the organizations surveyed in the PACT study indicated that they are engaging in “digital transformation” simply to keep pace with competitors. Changes that arise merely out of the pressure to remain competitive can be accompanied with digital disruption that reverberates, sometimes harshly, throughout the organization.

Perhaps a more noble reason for subjecting an organization to the potential uncertainties of digital disruption would be to delight the customer. According to the PACT study, a compelling 58% of organizations said they were embracing digital transformation for that very reason.

Furthermore, while more than three-quarters (76%) of Singaporean respondents cited rival companies as having an impact on their digital work, almost half of the respondents in the island city-state emphasized a focus on reshaping their organization’s business model and revenue streams, and 46% said they were benefitting from the results of a digital transformation project already.

The takeaway: Companies obviously want to maintain a competitive edge. In times of digital disruption, perhaps the best way to accomplish this is to stop creeping on competitor websites and instead get on the phone with partners and customers. Study authors rightly note, “This renewed influence from the customer means that while organizations can learn much from their competitors and strive hard to improve their services and products via digital transformation – those actions ultimately need to be in service to the people who buy the goods and services they offer.”

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Customers can sense false benevolence a mile away…and even more so in person at trade shows, over the phone, via web meetings and in local stores. Organizations that hope to usher in digital transformations wisely will reach out to customers gained and lost and will do so in the spirit of authenticity.

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