Published on November 9, 2023, 5:14 am

CIOs in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region are facing significant challenges in 2023, according to the latest predictions by Forrester. These challenges include geopolitical friction, global economic pressures, and post-pandemic hurdles that are forcing APAC firms to prioritize their technology investments.

While APAC companies have been embracing technology to enhance customer experiences and meet environmental, social, and governance (ESG) commitments, they are finding it difficult to keep up with rising customer expectations for omnichannel experiences and sustainable practices.

To overcome these obstacles and accelerate growth, APAC firms will focus on regional opportunities that reduce their reliance on global solutions. This includes expanding cross-border commerce, investing in digital industrial platforms, and leveraging emerging technologies as new drivers of growth.

For example, there is projected to be a 20% increase in regional cross-border commerce. Key economies such as China, India, and Southeast Asia are adopting modern payment networks, while the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement will further boost cross-border trade. Additionally, the region is poised to replace the outdated SWIFT system with modern cross-border payment networks.

The adoption of in-region digital industrial platforms is expected to rise by 30%. Many business and tech leaders in APAC view using industry-specific cloud solutions as a high priority. The manufacturing, construction, utilities, and other industrial sectors in the region account for 45% of the global industrial sector. These firms will lead industry cloud adoption through digital industrial platforms to deliver sustainable value to customers.

Another important prediction is that process intelligence will revive failing robotic process automation (RPA) programs. While many large firms in APAC have already adopted RPA over the past five years, they often struggle to identify high-value processes for automation. With APAC holding an 11% share of the global market for process intelligence solutions, it is anticipated that one in five firms in the region will adopt these solutions in 2023 to reinvigorate stagnant RPA programs.

However, not all initiatives will be successful. Four out of five new omnichannel programs are expected to fail. After the pandemic lockdowns, firms are refocusing on improving in-person customer experiences, but existing siloes within these efforts will result in disconnected initiatives that do not meet customer demands for real-time, connected, and personalized services across different channels.

Lastly, it is predicted that at least 50 firms in APAC will face penalties for performative ESG efforts, with five of them potentially receiving severe regulatory fines. Values-driven consumers are pushing companies to make public commitments to ESG efforts. However, some companies may misrepresent or overstate their actions due to the pressure to act quickly. Regulators in APAC are following the footsteps of their counterparts in the US and Europe by cracking down on greenwashing.

“As the region deals with the aftermath of the global economic slowdown, we will witness an even more regionally focused APAC on trade and tech strategies,” said Ashutosh Sharma, VP and research director at Forrester. “Reducing dependence on global solutions will be crucial for driving growth in the region. Companies must prioritize accelerating the adoption of technology-led solutions to improve the lives of customers, employees, and citizens.”

In conclusion, CIOs in APAC face complex challenges in meeting rising customer expectations and achieving sustainable business practices. To overcome these hurdles and drive growth, they must invest in regional opportunities that reduce reliance on global solutions while leveraging emerging technologies and embracing digital transformation across various sectors.


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