DBS research finds Vietnamese companies rank higher than global peers in digitalisation

Research by DBS on digital transformation found that companies in Vietnam (68%) ranked higher than the global average (64%) in taking a strategic, consistent or radical approach to digitalising customer experience and engagement. They ranked second in this area out of the 10 markets surveyed.

Majority of Vietnamese companies (63%) were satisfied that digital transformation was helping them in achieving overall profitability, followed by providing improved customer insight (61%) and overall competitiveness in market (57%). More than half (56%) said they have been using digital technology in customer service and engagement most effectively.

The findings also revealed that most Vietnamese companies (35%) were in the ‘developing leaders’ category in terms of digitalising their customer engagement, with great potential for high transformation performance down the road. 12% were categorised as ‘transformation leaders’ that were consistently outperforming the global average when it came to digitalising their customer engagement, with only 9% classified as ‘laggards’, restricted by multiple challenges to transformation.

Joo Young Park, Head of Institutional Banking Group, DBS Vietnam, said, “Our research findings augur well for Vietnam given its aspiration to become a developed and high-income country by 2045, with digitalisation being a key driver of economic growth. We believe that Vietnam’s ambitions will drive the strategic priorities of forward-thinking Vietnamese companies. It is important that these businesses set well-defined goals for digital transformation to capitalise on favourable long-term market prospects and stay competitive. Advancing on digital transformation will also give these companies the agility to embrace new businesses and operating models, and help them adapt to changes in external demand.”


The companies’ most important goals for digital transformation were increasing efficiency (40%), such as through automation, followed by improving collaboration across functions and teams (35%). More than half (57%) have effectively embedded a culture that supports shared adoption of a strategic vision to drive successful digitalisation.

Key barriers preventing Vietnamese companies from making faster progress in digital transformation were gaps in talent (42%) and data privacy concerns (35%). According to the DBS study, businesses could partner with institutes of higher education to increase programmes relevant for a more digital future as the government improves the quality of and access to higher education.

In the research, DBS also explored the growing roles of treasury and finance, as well as commercial teams in enabling change and innovation.

Within the treasury and finance function, cloud technology (78%) and advanced analytics (65%) were the most important digital and payments technologies for realising digital transformation. Financial reporting (59%) and investments (38%) were the core activities prioritised for digitalisation. Innovation (ability to think differently about processes and/or business models) (65%) and data analytics (59%) were the highest ranked skills and attributes most needed to support organisation-wide digital transformation more effectively. Partnering with banks (43%) was the preferred model for partnering with external companies to develop banking innovation and digital transformation in the treasury function.

More than half (59%) agreed that treasury professionals must increasingly be business partners to their commercial colleagues. This was followed by them agreeing equally (57%) to the statements: “Treasury has an opportunity to take on a bigger role in the strategic direction of digital transformation”, as well as “Specialist knowledge of finance and treasury is more valuable in an external partner than market-leading digital innovation”.

Meanwhile, commercial teams indicated improving data-sharing across the organisation (53%), building stronger digital capabilities across the enterprise (47%) and building relationships with external partners (45%), as key priorities to improve and enhance digital transformation within the function. To achieve commercial goals, sales and marketing (37%) most urgently needed digital transformation.

The majority (61%) said lack of collaboration between the commercial function and finance and treasury function made the company’s digital transformation activity more challenging than it needed to be. Difficult access to data (41%) was the most frequent challenge for the teams working together towards digital transformation.

“Building strong internal data infrastructure, developing robust data governance policies, and investing in enabling technology such as cloud and advanced analytic tools, will help the developing digital leaders in Vietnam to realise their potential, and cement the country’s place as a leader in digital transformation,” Park added.