Nguyen Truong Giang, director of the Digital Transformation Strategy Institute, said SOEs cannot digitize as soon as they want to because they have to follow many procedures.

The problems of training, institutional regime, legal framework and transformation methods are the barriers and challenges for SOEs to change their operation models.

“It is a difficult problem to urge SOEs to digitize, but it is even more difficult to change the way of thinking, the way of taking action. For SOEs, the recruitment or dismissal of any employee, or the re-arrangement of divisions, is not an easy task,” Giang commented.

During digital transformation, the change of the way of operation will require more money. For SOEs, because of the strict rules on investment management, projects cannot be implemented flexibly and quickly. Everything must be done in accordance with regulations and the legal framework. 

With the large scale, and complex model and development, which must proceed as instructed, planning to solve bottlenecks, build architectural models, and find competitive advantages for SOEs is a problem.

Giang said it is necessary to undo the institutional bottlenecks to create space for SOEs’ digital transformation.

“If the factors such as legal framework, human resources and institutional regime can be used effectively, SOEs will be able to move very quickly,” he said.

Bui Trung Thanh from Base Enterprise said 92 percent of Vietnamese enterprises have demand for digital transformation, but 90 percent don’t have understanding about digital transformation, and 78 percent don’t know where they should start.

When giving advice to enterprises, Base found that many enterprises don’t have a methodical plan for digital transformation, but just do work based on their habits. 

SOEs usually use documents, which is a big waste of resources and hinder the operational speed of enterprises. Other enterprises said they have "reshuffled", but they only use chat groups and Zalo for corporate governance.

Nguyen Duc Kien from VNPT cited a report from the Vietnam Confederation of Commerce an Industry (VCCI) that shows that the main difficulty of enterprises when digitizing is the expense for technology. 

For large enterprises and economic groups operating in special business fields, the digitization of the entire production system is very costly.

Meanwhile, many SOEs have money and are ready to digitize, but they don’t know where to start or what to do first.

Duy Anh