Before the Covid-19 outbreak, International Data Cooperation had forecast that by 2022, world’s value of digital transformation would be at USD 2,000 billion approximately and grow 4 times higher than the average growth of the information technology service market. After the pandemic, things could get even faster.
In Vietnam, according to Google’s Southeast Asia Digital Economy Report, Tamesek and Bain & Company, Vietnam's and Indonesia's digital economy grew like "unleashed dragons" in 2019 and led the Southeast Asia region (about 38%) and is expected to reach the target of USD 43 billion in 2025.
The Covid-19 pandemic will stimulate businesses in the region to conduct digital transformation faster. In digital economy, "digital platform" plays an important role. In Vietnam, this concept is constantly emphasized in the "National Digital Transformation Strategy" announced in 2019. However, how the general economy should be treated in the digital transformation strategy still seems quite vague.
PreCovid-19 figures showed that digital transformation in Vietnam was going on slowly due to lack of digital skills and manpower, information technology for digital transformation, and digital thinking as well as cultural differences within businesses.
Mr. Nguyen Ai Viet, Former Head of the Institute of Information Technology, Vietnam National University, said that digital economy is very important as it creates opportunities for countries to develop when the risk of falling into the middle-income trap is always at hand.
In other words, this is a new economic model. Digital economy is understood as digitizing data, including connection and equipment infrastructure. While Vietnam does not currently have a legal framework as well as human resources for data storage and encryption, businesses cannot have advantages over foreign enterprises. They are even still weak in technology capacity and digital business thinking.
According to experts, the biggest difficulty for most Vietnamese enterprises when deploying new technologies is that they do not associate the benefits of digital transformation with business goals. Convincing each department to accept changing habits and cooperation is not an easy process for technology managers.
For example, in order for the Digital Marketing Department to carry out digital transformation, leadership positions such as CIO or CTO must understand and talk to marketing personnel in their own language, must connect with representatives and managers of these departments or establish a digital transformation committee to find consensus. Only in this way will the implementation process not take place sporadically between the technology department and other professional departments like it does at present.
The process of digital transformation in Vietnamese businesses takes place quite early yet slowly because many business leaders are too cautious and not willing to take risks. In 2013 when the big data was first mentioned, many Vietnamese enterprises thought that "it was still a remote matter", but only a few years later, big data is present in all fields.
Reality has shown that opponents can come from other countries. They use technology and super strong financial potential to jump into fields believed only Vietnamese people can do. Vietnamese enterprises must therefore study and anticipate such possible changes.
Many experts also said that perception of digital transformation of many business leaders is only about technology, but true digital transformation must start from business model and leadership thinking. The role of information technology has not accompanied managers on making business strategy, so most Vietnamese enterprises are still slow compared to foreign-owned enterprises.
According to a survey of PwC Consulting Vietnam, most business leaders in these fields regard digital transformation as the only opportunity to survive in a competitive environment. 42% of Vietnamese and 36% of Asia-Pacific businesses are investing in local startups, indicating that more and more businesses want to become "digital businesses" through investing in new methods and models.
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