Our summary of the Adobe’s 2022 APAC digital trends report
Asia Pacific businesses are set to outperform other global regions by investing in customer experience in 2022 as a response to a pandemic-provoked surge in new digital users and online behaviours, according to Adobe’s new 2022 Digital Trends: APAC in Focus report. However, APAC businesses acknowledge that capability gaps and critical skills may hold them back as they strive to expand this world-leading commitment to serving digital-first consumers.
The report reveals that the APAC businesses are focusing on four important approaches this year:
Collaboration between Marketing and IT teams is set to increase this year making it a focus across organisations.
Optimisation in this new hybrid workforce by investing in project management and work solutions to increase productivity.
Privacy focus from the organisations is set to increase by giving customers control over how their data is being used
Personalization as organisations place a greater onus on using data with consent to create real customer value and loyalty through first-party data to personalise the customer experience.
Preparing for Social and Technical Change
According to McKinsey, Asia accounts for more than 50% of global growth in research and development spending. IDC predict that by the end of 2022, as much as 65% of APAC’s GDP will come from digital products, services, and experiences. The combination of improved connectivity, government stimulus, digital skills, research and development investment, concentrated manufacturing capabilities and a large consumer base of enthusiastic digital adopters makes the region well-placed to capitalise on opportunities in frontier technology.
The APAC region is also home to areas currently with limited or unaffordable digital connectivity. However, there is a new internet user base tipped for explosive growth. By 2025, an additional333 million people are predicted to start using mobile internet for the first time. Not only does this new internet user population access the internet primarily through mobile devices, but it has also contributed to the rapid adoption of more advanced digital ‘leapfrogging’ behaviours, such as mobile payments. Successful organisations will need to arm themselves with an excellent understanding of new user behaviours, preferences, attitudes and address unmet needs. They will also do well to embrace diverse and inclusive teams, combining varied skillsets, personalities, experiences, backgrounds, and opinions, to unleash empathetic and differentiated thinking.
Internal constraints and retaining homegrown skills
The organisations that will lead the charge in APAC will be those configured for speed, experimentation, innovation, agility, and cross-departmental collaboration. But this is easier said than done and the report suggests that many organisations are coming up against stumbling blocks in the form of organisational and operational silos. Senior executives need to do more to remove silos for improved collaboration, creating smaller units of cross-functional, nimble networked teams.
The APAC region is currently home to a significant base of technological talent. However, APAC nations risk losing much of their top technological talent to other regions, such as Europe and North America. While the pandemic temporarily grounded homegrown talent, as borders reopen APAC is at risk of losing its digital expertise. The report suggests that organisations could be doing more to retain and future-proof homegrown talent.
A notable challenge for APAC companies lies in adapting working practices to meet employees’ expectations and demands in a new world of remote and hybrid work. Issues, such as unreliable connectivity, infrastructure gaps and multigenerational living arrangements, have made remote work more difficult to implement in certain areas of the region. In a new world of work, workflow management software helps agile, distributed teams better connect delivery to company strategy, and experimentation to strategic initiatives.
Data Sovereignty Versus Innovation
The regulatory environment across APAC is becoming increasingly fragmented and complex. In recent years, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and China have all introduced far-reaching privacy regulations, or otherwise introduced amends to existing legislation. Despite a series of extensions, India’s Data Protection Bill is still in the pipeline and could be implemented soon. These shifts have spurred APAC organisations to grant their customers more control over their personal data and placed a greater onus on businesses to use data respectfully to create real customer value.
To conclude, successful APAC organisations will empower their teams to make decisions, learn from mistakes, iterate, and experiment with autonomy and speed. To compete, senior executives must leverage tools and processes to connect vision to strategy, strategy to delivery, and strategic initiatives to experimentation. Senior executives must also ensure that the headway made in C-suite collaboration filters down to day-today operations by removing organisational silos and competing KPIs. As new internet populations come online, organisations would do well to build diverse and inclusive teams, combining varied skillsets, personalities, experiences, backgrounds, and opinions to unleash empathetic and differentiated thinking.