For an indication of where the business world is heading, a look to the thinking of high-profile global tech giants is as good a guide as any. Google, Microsoft, Salesforce and Facebook are all banking on huge growth from an increasingly connected Asia.
Happily, the same growth profile is open to businesses of all sizes with the right plans in place.
Find a trusted tech partner
In a recent report into next-generation telcos, research firm IDC highlighted several aspects businesses should look for in a service provider to help them operate in the region.
It found companies should seek out a partner that offers: hybrid, public and private cloud services; has a broad selection of managed services; provides a wide range of big data and analytics solutions; and has a strong network of local partners and contacts.
Few are better placed to comment on the ability of Australian businesses to take the potentially lucrative step into Asia – and on the digital smarts needed to underpin it – than the chief executive of China-based Telstra PBS, Jason Wong.
According to Wong, any firm ranging from digitally based to food businesses can operate successfully in China with the right strategy.
“The key is combining best practice with local knowledge. It’s best to plan ahead and find local partners,” Wong says.
“With so many active mobile internet users, China’s internet ecosystem is getting more sophisticated, so there are a lot of [business] opportunities there as well.”
“In the digital world, everything is personalised and everything comes down to the customer experience. You need data, analytics and insight to be successful in that world. A lot of the most powerful companies in the world are actually data experts.”– Anoop Sagoo, Senior Managing Director, Accenture
Cultivate customer experience
The senior managing director for Growth Markets at professional services consultancy Accenture, Anoop Sagoo, agrees with Wong. Since every business is now essentially a digital business, he says, companies need to prepare a tech strategy with a trusted partner to take advantage of an increasingly connected population.
Whereas in the past a business considering opportunities in Asia would think only of the cultural challenges, now the “hyperconnected world” of mobile devices, wearable technology and the Internet of Things opens up new challenges and new doors.
“In the new world, some very different characteristics become important, and experience becomes very important,” Sagoo says.
“In the digital world, everything is personalised and everything comes down to the customer experience. You need data, analytics and insight to be successful in that world. A lot of the most powerful companies in the world are actually data experts.”
Global connectivity in the Asian century
The opportunity to embrace regional opportunities is well within reach, and increased digital connectivity is the key.
Anoop Sagoo, Senior Managing Director, Accenture
Every business is now a digital business in some shape or form.
Everything is personalised and everything comes down to the customer experience.
You move to a model where instead of serving almost one to many customers, there’s almost a one-to-one relationship between the buyer and the seller.
Technology used to be perceived as IT, which was the invisible systems that you don’t see. It’s a little bit of that, but it’s also a lot of the physical things that you see.
The level of understanding and criticality and importance generally among the business community is actually becoming quite high. Primarily because of the fantastic disruption that’s happening.
Five years ago, nobody really cared about how many steps you took in a day. Whereas now, the number of steps you took in a day is often a topic of conversation. You have to start to think about how do you take all that data to do something very different with it.
The types of problems you’re now seeking to solve are really quite profound versus what they were before. So it’s creating a whole new chain of problems to be solved –problems that are actually really value adding to business.
Driving the maximum amount of efficiency and effectiveness in order to be able to create that ability to invest in the future.