A recent study found organizations worldwide will spend $1.78 trillion on cloud and other “digital transformation” activities in 2022. These are major business priorities. The dilemma is whether firms and governments are investing in true transformation, or merely what’s referred to as “digital sameness.”
Some believe the best way to forecast the future is to create it. Here are five business priorities for solid success today and tomorrow:
1. Cloud expenditures must result in meaningful change.
The move to the cloud is crucial. Already, one or more cloud-centric digital “outsiders” are challenging just about every business in the private sector. For example, Singtel, one of Asia’s largest communications companies has partnered with Grab to provide banking services for retail and business customers.
Expect to see more of these out-of-the-box digital collaborations across industries.
Those organizations who perceive the cloud as a liberator and facilitator will undoubtedly reap the most benefits. Because it’s scalable, the cloud is a “force multiplier,” and a robust technology foundation for long-term innovation and growth.
The cloud saves technical staff from routine tasks, allowing them to focus on developing innovative, valuable digital goods and services. In addition, the cloud facilitates data-driven business by providing new artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) enabled technologies. This makes them available to individuals who understand and can bring change to the organization.
Expect boards to press executive teams for further evidence that cloud investments are positioning their companies for long-term competitive advantage.
2. ML and AI will become core capabilities for top digital businesses.
With most businesses still drowning in data, ML and AI algorithms operate as a life raft. These algorithms help businesses analyze and learn from their data, enhancing decision-making and informing next steps. Most businesses are still experimenting with ML and AI, working to acquire the necessary expertise to make it viable.
With most companies lacking teams of qualified data scientists, forming smaller specialized “MLOps” teams is a more realistic alternative. MLOps teams are made up of data scientists, developers, and other IT operations personnel. They work to maintain, implement, and constantly enhance ML/AI models.
In the future, expect more businesses to invest in AI and machine learning embedded in their systems and operational methods.
3. Sustainability will be the priority by which people will assess your company.
Many individuals today evaluate companies’ progress on sustainability. At the same time, they are buying goods and services or sizing up future employers. Businesses are holding their suppliers and partners to the same standards, holding them accountable for implementing various sustainable measures.
Businesses will be required to develop and implement a complete sustainability strategy. This will necessitate more dedicated leadership in APAC.
Currently, 92 percent of Fortune Global 200 firms in North America have designated a sustainability lead at executive levels. Similarly, 81 percent of Fortune Global 200 companies in EMEA have designated this role. However, only 26 percent of Fortune Global 200 companies in APAC have done so.
Many APAC organizations aren’t part of strategic planning and risk management. Consequently, their sustainability activities are motivated by compliance and investor pressure and may deceive ecologically conscious clients and partners. Real action, therefore, necessitates a shift in some of the business priorities of those companies.
4. Employers must rethink their hiring and career development strategies.
Almost every employer’s top goal continues to be hiring and retaining qualified employees. In the future, businesses will need to be more proactive in creating a career path for employees. Additionally, more importance should be placed on listening to employee concerns about work-life balance and workplace flexibility.
According to recent research, the pandemic has left many employees feeling trapped, forcing them to reassess their futures. This has led to 83 percent of employees wanting to change jobs in the coming year. 85 percent of workers are dissatisfied with their employer’s career support and 87 percent believe their requirements aren’t being heard.
Furthermore, 88 percent of respondents stated the pandemic has increased their focus on work-life balance. With this renewed focus, mental wellness and workplace flexibility have become much more important to them. Employee interests have shifted dramatically, and organizations must account for this as they rethink the post-pandemic workplace.
5. Disruptions in supply chains will become the new normal.
Today, “never normal” seems to have become the new normal. In other words, the pandemic continues to compel supply chain planners to reassess their objectives. Companies are now forced to rethink how they implement the latest supply chain management technologies.
For example, “just-in-time” inventory management was the best practice prior to the pandemic. However, “safety stock”—also known as “just-in-case” inventory management—is now the new normal.
Even the most advanced supply chain technologies cannot fully predict the magnitude of market shocks. However, they can assist organizations in determining the appropriate level of safety stock for better preparedness.
Moving forward, companies will need to notice and react to shifts in people’s buying behaviors. They also must fully embrace the shift from physical to online. And ultimately, they must plan for the “ripple effects” across their data centers, facilities, and extended supply chains.
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