Have you ever wondered how many times a day you check your smartphone? Well one recent study suggested it could be as many as 84 times a day!
Surprised? Well you shouldn’t be because here in Asia Pacific smartphones have become intertwined not only into our every day lives, but into the fabric of the culture of the 2.5 billion people who have them. In fact in Japan it has spawned an entire subculture with its own name - keitai culture.
Using apps for instant messaging, social networking and search are so ingrained into our everyday routine that we may not even notice its prevalence anymore. But how does the ubiquity and rapid adoption of this technology affect business?
Technology now drives business, not the other way around and to help answer this question, here are my top 5 predictions for Business and Technology in Asia Pacific for 2016;
#1: Traditional enterprises will transform into digital natives
Digital transformation, or commonly referred to as DX is fast becoming THE number one organisational issue. With almost no industry immune from disruption by fast moving agile start-ups, traditional industry players have realised that it is more than just survival, but its about sustaining in the next era. But it is no longer just CIOs who are championing the need for digital change, but leaders across all business functions. For example, CMOs are finding that traditional ways of marketing are not as effective any more, while CFOs are discovering that customers are demanding different transaction models with more convenient payment options. There is now an almost universal understanding within businesses that all functions need to work together look at how they transform their own practices through digitization.
A recent study conducted here in Asia Pacific highlighted while 37% of companies are already undergoing digital transformation, almost 60% plan to embark on the transformation journey over the next 12 to 24 months.
#2: Smart cities will be built by smart companies
Smart Cities have been a topic of interest for a long time in Asia Pacific, with many countries in the region rolling out their own initiatives to tackle everything from public safety to improved transportation. However, few governments have the capabilities, or the capacity, to upstart these initiatives on their own and are instead relying on innovative integrators to create and develop the solutions needed to make these cities a reality.
Smart companies will be the catalysts for making Smart Cities a reality, as governments open the door through initiatives like Digital India, Smart Nation Singapore, and Digital China. The business opportunities for companies in the sector are huge, with the annual smart city investment in technology alone set to quadruple to $11.3 billion by 2023.
#3: Business silos will be unified by cross modal IT
Until recently, there have generally been two modes of applications available to business.
Mode 1 are applications that handle traditional systems of record – such as CRM and e-commerce systems. These systems are built around predictability, accuracy and availability, given the sensitive data they hold.
Mode 2 are systems of insight, that are more exploratory. They give a picture of what is going on inside a business – enabling users to layer data sets over each other to see if they match a certain hypothesis. If they don’t match, the organisation can throw them away and quickly try out new ones.
With the need to optimise Mode 1 IT with faster deployment and greater automation, as well the Mode 2 applications being embedded into the customer experience, the systems and skills required to run both two modes need to come together. The result combines the stability of traditional systems with agility and speed, and this is something HDS expects to continue to grow next year.
#4: Trans-regional business will be enabled by multi-cloud
With the foundation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership now set, the Asia Pacific technology market will accelerate efforts to enable businesses across the region take advantage of this enormous economic opportunity.
This opening up of the market will create new opportunities for businesses consume cloud services and expand the options they have when it comes to building hybrid clouds. With a more seamless trade and investment environment, companies will have the ability expand their market opportunities with less barriers. From an IT perspective, Enterprises will look for more flexibility over the cloud services they use and want to locate and potentially migrate to different regional service providers.
Several companies are already building new data center capacity in places like Singapore, Hong Kong and India while others are investing in improving cross-border connectivity; creating direct routes between areas like South East Asia, Australia and the United States of America so all economies can trade though high bandwidth, low latency connectivity.
#5: Skills shortage will spark a talent pursuit
As companies strive to transform their into Digital first businesses, the skills shortage will magnify particularly in areas of social media, cyber security and analytics.
Governments are trying to enhance access to skilled IT labour market by introducing new tax incentives and passing laws to allow for easier investment in start-ups, such as through crowdfunding. Evolving the skills and productivity of existing employees is also another focus for governments, with Singapore investing $1.2 billion in technology development to drive improvements within its public sector.
Addressing the IT skills shortage will not just be about pumping out IT graduates, appealing to the interests of the best young talent while increasing the productivity of existing employees. The working practices of ‘Gen Z’ emerging workers are vastly different from those before them. With this generation expected to work an average of 17 jobs in their lifetime, they will pick up a greater variety of skills during their careers, but they also expect to be stimulated by what they do.
Over the coming weeks, I will crack open each of these trends in further blogs to share some insight into how some of the smart companies are leading these exciting changes. On January 19th, I will also be hosting a live webinar where we will discuss these further.
In the meantime, I wish everyone a happy festive season and prosperous new year!