The Progress of Digitization

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications’ Information and Communications White Paper for the year 2021, the amount of information technology investment* in Japan in 2019 was approximately 14.3 trillion yen (2015 price assessment), accounting for 15.7% of private-sector capital investment in the same year. While the amount of IT investment itself is increasing slightly, its share of total capital investment appears to have leveled off. In terms of investment destination, software (contracted development/packaged software) accounted for the largest share at 60% of the total.

※ Information and communication capital goods (hardware/software), not including cloud services.

Status of Information Technology Investment

Source: Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications Ordinance, 2021 White Paper on Information and Communications

What about the use of cloud services?

According to the same survey, the use of cloud services in 2020 accounted for about 70% of the total, and the use rate seems to be increasing year by year. The survey also indicates that more than 80% of companies are feeling the benefits of cloud services, and this is likely a factor in the increase in the usage rate.

File storage and data sharing was the most common use, at approximately 60% of the total, followed by e-mail, internal information sharing/portal, schedule management, payroll, financial accounting, human resources, data backup, and other major uses.

Usage of Cloud Services

Source: Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications Ordinance, 2021 White Paper on Information and Communications

Effectiveness and Usage of Cloud Services

Source: Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications Ordinance, 2021 White Paper on Information and Communications

Challenges of Digitization

As described above, while the shift to digital cloud computing is gradually progressing, other investments in information technology have remained flat.

So what about public awareness? According to the survey, 35% of respondents feel that digitization is progressing. On the other hand, 33% of respondents feel that digitalization is not progressing, indicating that the public’s views are divided. (32% of respondents chose “neither.”)

Awareness of the progress of digitization

Source: Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications Ordinance, 2021 White Paper on Information and Communications

Among respondents who feel that digitization is not progressing, the top reasons given for the lack of digitization are lack of information, security/leakage, lack of IT literacy, lack of digitized work, and lack of progress in communications/device development, which seem to be the main challenges for digitization.

Reasons for lack of digitization

Source: Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications Ordinance, 2021 White Paper on Information and Communications

How to Solve Digitization Challenges

Countermeasures for information security issues include in-house implementation and outsourcing. Since information security measures require a wide range of knowledge, it is recommended to outsource them to outside specialists such as information security consultants. Even in the case of outsourcing, it is ultimately necessary for employees themselves to have basic knowledge. Therefore, it is advisable to formulate an in-house security policy under the supervision of an expert and take basic measures against unauthorized system intrusion or virus infection, information leakage, and equipment failure due to disasters.

Issues with a Lack of Communication/Terminal Development

One solution to the problem of lack of communication/device maintenance is to use public support programs. The Small and Medium Enterprise Agency’s IT introduction subsidy program for improving productivity in services provides a subsidy of 50% (up to 100,000 yen) for the purchase of PCs and tablets. In addition, cloud service usage fees are subsidized for two years. (From the FY2021 supplementary budget proposal)

Lack of IT literacy/Challenges with Less Digitization Work

We recommend the use of the cloud workflow Questetra BPM Suite as a countermeasure against the challenges of insufficient IT literacy and the lack of digitized work.

Questetra BPM Suite does not require advanced IT literacy, as it can construct a business system with no code. Specifically, by creating a workflow diagram with a simple mouse operation, a business system in which business flows according to the workflow diagram can be constructed with no code. In addition, Questetra BPM Suite does not depend on specific business operations. It can be applied to all kinds of business, so it is possible to increase the number of business operations that can be digitized.

Questetra BPM Suite can also solve some issues related to information security.

For example, it can help prevent brands from being tarnished by social networking posts. Risk can be avoided by establishing a checking process whereby a supervisor checks the content of a post before it is posted.

It is also effective in preventing email from being misdirected. Various business data, including email addresses, can be inserted into an email, and it is also possible to have the email sent automatically. (Data can be stored/inserted into various data containers that have been set up, in addition to email.) This prevents human error, such as incorrectly pasted addresses or email addresses, or incorrect attachments.

In addition to these, Questetra BPM Suite is also useful for preventing ID/password mismanagement for multiple cloud services, and can be linked to external cloud services to perform automated processing. This means that employees do not need to log in directly to the cloud service to process cloud service tasks, which helps prevent ID/password mismanagement.

I would recommend it to anyone who wants to make digitization a reality.

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