The majority, or 73%, of businesses in Hong Kong said their company had a digital transformation strategy but 35% were struggling to find staff with the necessary talent, according to a survey by professional accounting body CPA Australia.
Despite these challenges, more than 90% of respondents expect their organisation will take steps to improve technology adoption in the next 12 months. Increasing investment or upgrading technology is the most common action respondents expect their business to undertake (33%).
The survey of nearly 200 accounting and finance professionals from Hong Kong found barriers to businesses' ability to adapt to the digital era and the strategies being used to overcome these difficulties.
Video conferencing and group collaborations, cloud computing, and data analytics and visualisation are the most popular technologies currently used by businesses in Hong Kong. Companies expect their use of these tools to increase over the next year and are embracing digitalisation, according to Albert Wong, member of CPA Australia's Greater Bay Area Committee.
"I'm delighted that companies in Hong Kong have put digital transformation on the front burner. Many have intentions to increase their investment or upgrade the technology they're using," Wong said. "Over the past two years, travel restrictions have been a driving force for digitalisation. Many are motivated to undertake more technology upgrades and to transform newly created data into valuable business insights. Data-driven technologies, such as data analytics and visualisation (44%) have become the tools to use more for businesses in Hong Kong."
Hong Kong companies have the ambition to transform digitally and prepare themselves for the future, but the skills shortage is a significant inhibitor to technology adoption, the survey stated.
"Maintaining a steady supply of innovation and technology (I&T) talent is crucial," Wong added.
"First of all, the Hong Kong SAR Government should clearly understand the types of talent required for the city's future, then establish a forward-looking talent policy to expand the talent pool,” Wong said. “This could include policies and programs to attract, retain and nurture innovative and tech-savvy talent with relevant skills. For example, strengthening technology collaboration with other cities in the Greater Bay Area (GBA) and nurturing our next generation in STEM.
"The government may also consider formulating an industry policy that helps to create a sustainable I&T ecosystem that specifically takes into account the development plan of the Northern Metropolis. Collaboration between government, academia, research institutions and enterprises is vital to expedite the development and adoption of technological achievements in the local business environment, as well as fostering more homegrown start-ups and talent,” Wong said.
The strategies being used by businesses to tackle the lack of skills including upskilling or reskilling existing employees (39%), outsourcing work to a third-party provider (34%) and hiring contractors (24%).