DX Strategic Priorities 2021: ASEAN emerging firms at the forefront of digital transformation

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is one of the most prominent regions and has the most significant and progressive economy. ASEAN is a robust economy and can match up to the other big economies in the world. The intergovernmental organization comprises of 10 member countries. The combined GDP of these member countries amounts up to an excess of $2.5 trillion. The economy of the region is also continuously growing and has been at a steady rate. The economy of ASEAN has been growing by 6% per year.  The ASEAN region’s impressive growth has helped the member countries become more prominent in the world. The emerging and development in the economy have been due to the rapid penetration and digital transformation progress. The emergence of smartphones and the growth in smart technology in the ASEAN region have helped improve the economy. The evolving digital transformation trend has made a lot of progress and has helped the member countries make their future bright.

The ASEAN digital transformation has been carried out using well-developed strategies. The innovation-driven information has helped to transform digitally. The communications tech infrastructure has also improved in the ASEAN region. The middle-class people in the ASEAN region is improving and expanding with each passing day. The e-commerce industry and social media evolution are also gaining a lot of popularity. The tech devices are also becoming more popular because they are affordable and are within reach of everyday people. Also, the ASEAN region has a considerable population that is young and youthful. The strong startup sector has evolved, and the ASEAN region is moving fast towards digital transformation. All the factors combine and give birth to the growing digital wave. The digital transformation has made the ASEAN region more promising and has helped to transform Southeast Asia.

DX Strategic Priorities 2021

There were many surveys conducted in the ASEAN region, and there was a recent survey done in 2020. The TechTarget/Computer Weekly IT Priorities conducted a study. It was revealed that nearly 44% of the 200 respondents who are a part of the ASEAN region have cited the digital transformation and have made this their top priority. The infrastructure modernization is rated as (41%), and the cyber security strategy is (36%).In 2021 the trend will continue and the investment in these areas might increase.

The priorities they have made are not surprising at all. This has given the ASEAN region enterprises to come under pressure and has helped them remain competitive. Digital disruption has been done in the ASEAN region across the digital industries that include financial services and logistics.

The growth has also been frequent in IT spending, and the trend has been softening. The ASEAN region has probably over concerns related to the slowing of the global economy. In 2019 there were 80% of the respondents and expected a better IT budget. Just 61% of the people in the region are hoping to spend more in the coming year.

As compared to the previous years, 2021 will see more ASEAN firms investing in the digital and core technology foundation. More firms will invest money to support the digital transformation needs and have made efforts to improve the economy even further. In the data center, 38% of the respondents will be continuing to invest in digital transformation and on-premise infrastructure in 2021. Many firms are focusing on the preference of the hybrid cloud.

Investment in Digital automation and security in 2021

In the ASEAN region, the digital transformation has helped to support the digital automation and security. It has also helped in monitoring tools that are related to digital transformation. One-third of respondents and the firms will be investing in, and that will be paving the way towards agile software development.

There will be some proportion of investors spending on agile project management software, and the investment will be doubled, starting from 21% in 2019 to 42% in 2021. The underscoring firms’ are also planning to invest more in the digital world, and the growing resolve will help build in-house software in the region. The development capabilities for software building will enhance and improve, and more software centers will open up to make way for more digital transformation. This has helped the ASEAN region firms gain a significant edge over their competitors and rivals.

These development efforts in the digital world have helped mainly to gear towards the internet of things (IoT) applications. There are (37%) of the firms that are investing in the IoT and they are expected to do so in 2021. The signaling of technology has finally been catching up in the region. The firms are also showing interest in investing in the microservices (32%). It was more than expected that the investments will be made in the application programming interface (API) next year. The management tools have seen a rise in the investment, and it keeps on to remain as high as (53%).

This has been on the list for a long time, and more firms are developing an interest in investing.

When it comes to the storage front, the spending has been highly increased in the cloud-based storage, and it will continue to remain strong in 2021. Four out of 10 respondents have put up their investments and have invested their top priority. The demand for flash-based storage also appears to be growing. There will be few respondents who will be planning to make investments in the technology sector this 2021.

ASEAN Firms in New Technologies

The ASEAN region has a highly mobile work front, and the young workforce has been embracing mobile technology. The younger generation has been investing money in new technologies and has been using digital services in their lives. The ASEAN’s investment has been made on the mobile device management (MDM) tools. The chances of investment in this sector have become relatively higher, and there are nearly 40% of the firms are planning to invest. The unified endpoint has made way to the management solutions.

There are 35% of the ASEAN enterprises that are rapidly moving ahead and are investing a lot in the Windows 10 migrations. Microsoft has also ended its Windows 7 and will not recognize it anymore. The people that are still using Windows 7 then their devices can be ticking time bombs, and they might not have any cyber security. This is the reason why at least 36% more of the firms will be spending more in 2021.

The ASEAN region is also focusing on developing the new software, and the member countries in the ASEAN region have teams and facilities that can help build software. The companies are also developing the off packaged software. Many large enterprises will be working on improving their financial applications. The enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems will also be seen improving. There are nearly 40% of the investors planning to make investments in ERP applications. The investments in this sector will help to upgrade the digital transformation and support it in many ways.

These applications will be guided by digital technologies and are likely to deliver cloud-based services. More firms will be driving investments and will invest money in networking technologies. The software connected to the wide-area networks (SD-WAN) will also be invested more by the firms. There was a survey conducted that revealed that the SD-WAN has topped the list of investments. The networking priorities have changed in the ASEAN, and the people are adopting new technologies. Some more firms and companies are planning to invest more in cloud services and provide the users’ benefits.

An economy on the verge of takeoff

The internet economy is also being explored and is taking a new shape in ASEAN. The region’s enterprises are now investing more in this sector and have built a robust platform to launch and enter into the global supply chains. The region has diverse economies, and all of them are on the verge of uniting. They plan to form one economic bloc so that they can become invincible. When this happens, the ASEAN region wills see a rise in the economic takeoff.

Multinational companies are also trying to invest and penetrate the ASEAN market, and the economy is in the readiness to takeoff. Professional organizations in Singapore are also planning to invest in digital technologies. This has helped the companies to recruit the employees that are right for the job. The region has been expanding its job market scene. If you are planning to grow your business and you are in the ASEAN market, then you might need translation company services to make the business more successful among the ASEAN customers.

The ASEAN member countries will be going to create a seamless e-commerce space. This will allow the traders that are in the ASEAN region to market the products and services. They can sell off their products without the tariff and international trade restrictions. The ASEAN Economic Blueprint 2025 has also given rise to tap technology. This has also enhanced the power to close a gap in the world’s member states and other top economies. The leading economies include China, the US, and the EU. The ASEAN economic development has taken off and has helped to boost the Smart Cities Network. This consists of 26 cities that are in the ASEAN region. If the ASEAN region’s cities have a better economy by 2025, then the area will become more industrial and will have more digital transformation.

The master plan on connectivity (MPAC) 2025 and industry 4.0

The MPAC 2025 aims to promote economic integration and has helped the member nations create an inclusive trade bloc until the year 2025. This goal will also focus on achieving the cross-sectoral connectivity in the ASEAN region. The plan has given birth to the rise in the ASEAN digital data investment and will also improve the governance framework. The region is also seeking to drive digital innovation and will allow the nation to create and implement a stronger digital agenda in the ASEAN region.

If the MPAC 2025 is successfully implemented, then ASEAN’s digital technologies will have significant growth of $500 billion in 2025. Technology has been adopted, and the ASEAN region will invest on a bigger scale. The efficiency and governance in the business will become a notch higher. The products and services will also be improved, and the region will stand firm in front of the other communities. There will be a more substantial chance and will help to compete in the global market.

There has been widespread adoption, and the ASEAN region will be investing in the new and advanced tech tools. This will allow the ASEAN region to leapfrog the regional trade blocs. This will help to improve customer satisfaction. Service delivery will also improve significantly. The Education systems in the ASEAN region will also improve after the integration of AI integration.

Are there any challenges to ASEAN’S digital transformation?

The digital revolution has become more prominent in Southeast Asia and will be taking some time to complete because there are several teething problems. The most significant issues out of these are the digital landscape, and some member states in the ASEAN region have deplorable conditions. Some other countries are at par the world’s developed economies. Vietnam, Myanmar, and Cambodia are not growing well, and their development is at a slow pace compared to its peers like Malaysia and Singapore. This contrast between the nations will be leading to failure in the digital revolution.


If the ASEAN region continues to invest in the digital trajectory, the member states will join the most extensive global economies until the year 2030. Countries like Singapore might have an edge and might be close to big economies that include the United States and China. The economic giants European Union have already invested a lot in digital development. The ASEAN region has a young workforce that is also educated and is well prepared to use the new technologies and explore them. The ASEAN digital transformation has full potential, and the region might see many firms investing in the digital transformation.  There are several emerging firms mentioned in the post that are making investments in the digital transformation.