Businesses must relook the way they do things and review their priorities in order to survive the challenging climate caused by the pandemic. This was the key message from speakers at an Asia Pacific webinar on Cloud Digital Acceleration, organised by ConnecTechAsia in December.
Sharing his insights on the impact of the pandemic on companies in the region, Adam Etherington, Principal Analyst, Digital Enterprise Services at Omdia, revealed his observation of how 10 years of consumer adoption of e-commerce was compressed into three months, with this rapid migration of digital technologies growing during the pandemic and expected to continue long into the recovery.
Etherington sees three major trends emerging that business and tech decision makers must take heed of:
- Companies aiming to be more agile are pivoting into new areas such as online consumer commerce, digitising their supply chain, and adopting technologies to enable their staff to work remotely
- The crisis will accelerate the shift to digital and fundamentally shake up how businesses operate – from business continuity to reaching new heights with innovation fuelled by digitisation
- The increased confidence and experience with using cloud-based delivery models will drive future digitalisation, especially with regard to core systems moving to hybrid cloud as a continued effort of supporting remote workers, and in helping them to collaborate in a secure manner
Businesses aiming to support their remote staff seamlessly are moving to cloud-based remote working delivery models, with an increased demand in productivity tools, contact centre as a service, and for a virtualised desktop infrastructure – with VDI being advantageous for its secure and consistent experience across multiple devices, without requiring specific hardware. Furthermore, these virtual desktops can be run and managed together with the growing spectrum of cloud services.
As remote working becomes more commonplace, ensuring the security of their cloud services, digitalisation, and workspace in collaboration becomes crucial. This ties in with the shifting need to manage SD-WANs and LANs.
Etherington’s findings were based on an Omdia survey of over 450 enterprise and government agencies globally, who were asked to rate the importance of 16 possible areas.
These trends will significantly reshape where business place their emphasis in 2021. Etherington also revealed the business priorities that stood out for the Asia Pacific region.
Organisations in Asia are still likely to continue pursuing remote working as the new normal for their operations. Prior to Singapore enforcing the circuit breaker in April, 18% of the workforce were home-based workers. This figure had tripled to 54% on average during the height of the crisis. In Hong Kong and Indonesia, eight out of 10 would want to continue working from home despite the pandemic coming under control. Going forward, around 34% of employees are continuing to work remotely.
Employee experience and support
With remote working continuing, organisations aim to provide better employee experience and support for these workers. This will lead to a growth in security, networking and connectivity, collaboration tools, and the increased need for VPNs.
Business continuity planning
COVID-19 revealed the importance for organisations to have a business continuity plan. Although some enterprises would have an existing plan, they need to change as most are unable to foresee the almost dire landscape that these plans would need to perform under. This could be an opportunity for APAC as a global trade hub – supporting the global expansion of MNCs from other regions – particularly as they are battling the pandemic at the moment whilst the APAC region recovers.
As a result of the pandemic, security will be a high priority for organisations as well, with cybersecurity in particular being a key focus as organisations digitise.
Impact on business spending
With the change in business priorities of organisations, the spending for the new year is expected to reflect these changes as well. Omdia recently conducted a survey on the key investments of C-level executives across the globe into the new year, with a good percentage from APAC. The results revealed the following areas to be where organisations will increase their spending by 10% or more:
- Security – the platforms, consulting, and management
- Enterprise applications
Etherington shared that the investment channelled into enterprise applications could be a reflection of how after the pandemic, organisations are more motivated to undergo a digital transformation. This would tie in with cloud and security as well, being further enabled by 5G. With the joint capabilities of these functions, Etherington foresees there to be an improved performance and productivity for the road map that organisations are working towards for 2021.
Learn how L’Oréal and China Merchants Energy Shipping (Singapore) Holding Pte Ltd are coping with the pandemic, transitioning to digital processes and changing their business mindsets with the help of China Telecom Asia Pacific and Huawei Cloud.
Siti Bahari is a journalist with the iTNews Asia team