Dollars and Cents: Investing in The Right Technology and Approach Amid Economic Uncertainty

Vice President, ASEAN & Greater China, Pure Storage

In the throes of post-pandemic recovery, the Singapore economy is not immune to shocks amid mounting geopolitical tensions and massive layoffs across various industries. To help businesses cope with cost-of-living issues and the GST hike, the Singapore government rolled out additional initiatives during the recent Singapore 2023 Budget announcement, including tax deductions for businesses’ innovation activities. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has likewise pledged its support to curtail the impact of recent bank mergers on the labour market. 

As Singapore businesses scrimp on costs and tighten their wallets to stay afloat in turbulent times, relooking at existing infrastructure and rejigging how value chains are wired can go a long way in enabling businesses to reduce the total cost of ownership and optimise resources.

Betting on Technology to Drive Cost Efficiency

Legacy infrastructure built on spinning disks, slow networks, and outdated application architectures is not only costly to maintain, but can also bog down business processes. In the long run, scalability challenges in legacy infrastructure can simply hinder an organisation’s productivity and growth. What companies need today is a modern and flexible IT infrastructure that is highly performant and resilient yet simple to manage at the same time.

Contrary to popular belief, modernising IT infrastructure need not be expensive. There are grants and schemes for digital adoption, capability development, and training to support businesses with limited budgets, including an extension of the Enterprise Innovation Scheme, which was unveiled at the 2023 Singapore Budget announcement. But apart from availing government grants and schemes that support digitalisation, another way for businesses to reap the benefits of technology without the risk of overinvestment is to adopt as-a-service models, which offer greater financial flexibility as businesses aren’t tied to capital assets. Shifting to pay-as-you-grow and subscription-based models allows organisations to pay for only the amount of services they consume, translating to significant cost savings.

In today’s data-centric economy, data storage also matters when it comes to reducing operating expenses. All-flash storage promises lower physical storage costs and a reduced data footprint, offering a sustainable alternative to high-energy-consuming hybrid systems. Additionally, the all-flash model allows organisations to curtail fully burdened costs of ownership, including rack space, cooling, and repair. Singapore communications company M1, for one, has benefited from operating cost efficiencies and improved database performance by betting on all-flash storage. Since moving on from complex, legacy storage infrastructure, M1 has been able to improve time-to-market for new services and identify better opportunities to bring more value to customers.

Why Cost Efficiency Should Go Hand in Hand With ESG

The Singapore government has reinforced its green commitment with initiatives and policies, including the extension of the Energy Efficiency Grant which was announced during the 2023 Singapore Budget. Moreover, the recent amendment to the Carbon Pricing Bill, which will see higher carbon taxes starting in 2024, will serve as an impetus for more organisations to adopt more energy-efficient solutions as they focus on stretching their dollar. 

Beyond facing high carbon taxes, organisations that fail to take ESG seriously risk losing supporters and business opportunities as well, and this can negatively impact bottom lines. In light of this, organisations need to reevaluate their existing processes and see where they can implement changes to be more eco-friendly.  

When scaled up, digital technologies have the potential to reduce emissions of up to 20% by 2050, according to the World Economic Forum. Modern storage architectures offer flexible consumption choices which allow the independent scaling of capacity and performance over time, based on growth and demand projections. Meanwhile, employing a more modular approach where organisations can reuse and repurpose standard components prevents duplicated efforts in the software development lifecycle. Besides significant time and energy savings, this allows organisations to leverage resources and power from past applications for new projects, translating to reduced expenses overall. As an added benefit, reusing standard parts offers organisations greater flexibility to complete projects when supply issues strike.

The road ahead may be paved with economic headwinds, but a few strategic tweaks to the IT portfolio and operational processes can give businesses a competitive advantage. By implementing sustainable business models, organisations will be able to unlock new growth opportunities and keep costs at bay, amid economic uncertainty.