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The Future of Business: 5 Ways to Shape Your Change Strategy

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Organisations are aware that they must reinvent themselves continually to remain relevant to their customers, engage their employees and be profitable – and yet they find it challenging to live with the present pace of change.

Achieving a new equilibrium requires organisations to have the right skills; execute effectively every day; drive the best priorities for change; and refresh and renew their capabilities. Organisations will require adaptable people, processes, technologies and data to position themselves to harness the future.

Here are 5 insights that will help you shape your change strategy.

  • Productivity persists as a priority. Recruit, train and retain essential skills and look for partners who are leaders in their sphere to provide the other, less differentiating capabilities.
  • Digital debt is not only technical. Continuous reinvention requires the identification of an organisation’s digital debt, and evolution of the processes, technology and data to reduce legacy constraints. This will support the reuse and refactoring of existing capabilities in new ways and the introduction of new capabilities.
  • Both operations and the customer matter. Investment in both the customer experience and operational efficiency needs to be balanced keeping in mind organisations’ limited available resources.
  • Technology must be adaptive. Establishing isolation zones between components to minimise the impact of changing components is becoming key to the rapid delivery of value.
  • Tomorrow’s excellence will be driven by iterative reinvention. Iterative innovation will become easier with the adoption of intelligent automation and adaptive AI/ machine learning. However, not only will this require a debt-free technical environment, it will also need an adaptive and scalable infrastructure. 

More insights are below.

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The Future of the Digital Enterprise – India

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Organisations have had to transform and innovate to survive over the last two years. However, now when they look at their competitors, they see that everyone has innovated at about the same pace. The 7-year innovation cycle is history in today’s world – organisations need the right strategy and technologies to bring the time to market for innovations down to 1-2 years.

As they continue to innovate to stay ahead of the competition, here are 5 things organisations in India should keep in mind:

  • The drivers of innovation will shift rapidly and industry trends need to be monitored continually to adapt to these shifts.
  • Their biggest challenge in deploying Data & AI solutions will be identification of the right data for the right purpose – this will require a robust data architecture.
  • While customer experience gives them immediate and tangible benefits, employee experience is almost equally – if not more – important.
  • Cloud investments have helped build distributed enterprises – but streamlining investments needs a lot of focus now.
  • There is a misalignment between organisations’ overall awareness of growing cyber threats and risks and their responses to them. A new cyber approach is urgently needed.

More insights into the India tech market are below.

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The Future of the Digital Enterprise – Southeast Asia

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Southeast Asia has evolved into an innovation hub with Singapore at the centre. The entrepreneurial and startup ecosystem has grown significantly across the region – for example, Indonesia now has the 5th largest number of startups in the world.  

Organisations in the region are demonstrating a strong desire for tech-led innovation, innovation in experience delivery, and in evolving their business models to bring innovative products and services to market.    

Here are 5 insights on the patterns of technology adoption in Southeast Asia, based on the findings of the Ecosystm Digital Enterprise Study, 2022.

  • Data and AI investments are closely linked to business outcomes. There is a clear alignment between technology and business.
  • Technology teams want better control of their infrastructure. Technology modernisation also focuses on data centre consolidation and cloud strategy
  • Organisations are opting for a hybrid multicloud approach. They are not necessarily doing away with a ‘cloud first’ approach – but they have become more agnostic to where data is hosted.
  • Cybersecurity underpins tech investments. Many organisations in the region do not have the maturity to handle the evolving threat landscape – and they are aware of it. 
  • Sustainability is an emerging focus area. While more effort needs to go in to formalise these initiatives, organisations are responding to market drivers.

More insights into the Southeast Asia tech market below.

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The Right Balance Between Innovation & Simplification

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Life never gets any easier for the digital and information technology teams in organisations. The range and reach of the different technologies continue to open new opportunities for organisations that have the foresight and strategy to chase them. Improving offers for existing customers and reaching new segments depend on the organisation’s ability to innovate.

But the complexity of the digital ecosystem means this ability to innovate will be heavily constrained, causing improvements to take longer and cost more in many cases. Addressing the top business priorities expressed in the Ecosystm Digital Enterprise Study, 2022, will need tech teams to look to simplify as well as add features.

Top Business Priorities in Asia Pacific

Complexity is Not Just an IT Issue

Many parts of an organisation have been making decisions on implementing new digital capabilities, particularly those involved in remote working. Frequently, the IT organisation has not been involved in the selection, implementation and use of these new facilities.

The number of start-up organisations delivering SaaS has continued to explode. A particular area has been the expansion of co-creation tools used by teams to deliver outcomes. In many cases, these have been introduced by enthusiastic users looking to improve their immediate working environment without the understanding of single-sign-on requirements, security and privacy of information or the importance of backup and business continuity planning.

SaaS tools such as Notion, monday.com and ClickUp (amongst many, many others), are being used to coordinate and manage teams across organisations of all sizes. While these are all cloud services, the support and maintenance of them ultimately will fall to the IT organisation. And they won’t be integrated at all with the tools the IT organisation uses to manage and improve user experience.

Every new component adds to the complexity of the tech environment – but with that complexity comes increased dependencies between components, which slows an organisation’s ability to adapt and evolve. This means each change needs more work to deliver, costs increase, and it takes longer to deliver value.

And this increasing complexity causes further problems with cybersecurity. Without regular attention, legacy systems will increase the attack surface of organisations, making it easier to compromise an organisation’s environment. At a recent executive forum with CISOs, attendees rated the risks caused by their legacy systems as their most significant concern.

An organisation’s leadership needs to both simplify and advance their organisation’s digital capabilities to remain competitive. This balance should not be left to the IT organisation to achieve as they will not be able to deliver both without wider support and recognition of the problems.

Discriminate on Differentiating Skills

One thing we can be sure of is that we won’t be able to employ all the skills we need for our future capabilities. We are not training enough people in the skills that we need now and for the future, and the range of technologies continues to expand, increasing the number of skills that we will need to keep an organisation running.

Most organisations are not removing or replacing ageing systems, preferring to keep them running at an apparently low cost. Often these legacy systems are fully depreciated, have low maintenance costs and have few changes made to them, as other areas of the organisation offer better investment options. But this also means that the old skills remain necessary.

So organisational leaders are adding new skills requirements on top of old, with the older skills being less attractive with so many new languages, frameworks and databases becoming available. Wikipedia has a very long list of languages that have been developed over the years. Some from the 1950s, like FORTRAN and LISP, continue to be used today.

Organisations will not be in a position to employ all the skills it needs to implement, develop and maintain for its digital infrastructure and applications. The choice is going to be which skills are most important to an organisation. This selection needs to be very discriminating and focus on differentiating skills – those that really make a difference within your ecosystem, particularly for your customers and employees.

Organisations will need a great partner who can deliver generic skills and more services.  They will have better economies of scale and skill and will free management to attend to those things most important to customers and employees.

Hybrid Cloud has an Edge

Almost every organisation has a hybrid cloud environment. This is not a projection – it has already happened. And most organisations are not well equipped to deal with this situation.

Organisations may not be aware that they are using multiple public clouds. Many of the niche SaaS applications used by an organisation will use Microsoft Azure, AWS or GCP, so it is highly likely organisations are already using multiple public clouds. Not to mention the offerings from vendors such as Oracle, Salesforce, SAP and IBM. IT teams need to be able to monitor, manage and maintain this complex set of environments. But we are only in the early stages of integrating these different services and systems.

But there is a third leg to this digital infrastructure stool that is becoming increasingly important – what we call “the Edge” – where applications are deployed as part of the sensors that collect data in different environments. This includes applications such as pattern recognition systems embedded in cameras so that network and server delays cannot affect the performance of the edge systems. We can see this happening even in our homes. Google supports their Nest domestic products, while Alexa uses AWS. Not to mention Amazon’s Ring home security products.

With the sheer number of these edge devices that already exist, the complexity it adds to the hybrid environment is huge. And we expect IT organisations to be able to support and manage these.

Simplify, Specialise, Scale

The lessons for IT organisations are threefold:

  • Simplify as much as possible while you are implementing new features and facilities. Retiring legacy infrastructure elements should be consistently included in the IT Team objectives. This should be done as part of implementing new capabilities in areas that are related to the legacy.
  • Specialise in the skills that are the differentiators for your organisation with its customers and employees. Find great partners who can provide the more generic skills and services to take this load off your team.
  • Scale your hybrid management environment so that you can automate as much of the running of your infrastructure as possible. You need to make your IT Team as productive as possible, and they will need power tools.

For IT vendors, the lessons are similar.

  • Simplify customer offers as much as possible so that integration with your offering is fast and frugal. Work with them to reduce and retire as much of their legacy as possible as you implement your services. Duplication of even part of your offer will complicate your delivery of high-quality services.
  • Understand where your customers have chosen to specialise and look to complement their skills. And consistently demonstrate that you are the best in delivering these generic capabilities.
  • Scale your integration capabilities so that your customers can operate through that mythical single pane of glass. They will be struggling with the complexities of the hybrid infrastructure that include multiple cloud vendors, on-premises equipment, and edge services.
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Australian Businesses are Preparing for an Agile, Innovative Future

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Businesses in Australia have come a long way over the past few years in digitising their processes and capabilities. In early 2020 – as the pandemic swept across the globe – nearly every business began to understand the challenges that lay ahead in digitising their organisation to meet the needs of fully remote employees and customers. Teams all across the business started to plug holes, reshape processes and deploy new technology capabilities to quickly meet these changing needs. This work continued over the next few years to the point now that most businesses in Australia have fully digital front-ends.

But as businesses move to “COVID normal” they are looking to the next opportunity. Digitising existing processes isn’t enough – they are starting to accelerate their innovation to create entirely new digitally native products and services. Growth by selling more of what they make is being replaced by a desire to grow into new markets, new products and new services. Business innovation has leapt back onto the agenda – and the ability to innovate at pace will define success in this new era.

Top Business Priorities for Organisations in Australia

Improving IT Operations is a Major Priority for Tech Leaders in Australia

At the same time, technology leaders and their teams are dealing with technical debt and process complexity brought on by two years of accelerated and unplanned technology implementations. There is an urgent need to modernise IT Operations to better manage the growing number and complexity of digital systems. With the increasing importance of digital services to business, the Service Management and Tech Operations functions need increased investment, better processes, and greater automation to find and fix technology issues to minimise the impact of these issues on customer and employee outages.

Focus of Tech Modernisation Strategies in Australia Organisations

The Skills Crisis is Real – and Not Going Away Soon

The challenge today is to drive this important change while faced with the tech skills shortage. IT has not been spared the struggles that come with a low unemployment market – but often many of the Employee Experience initiatives designed to improve employee retention and loyalty are not designed with the tech team in mind. The demand for tech skills is from the lowest to the highest levels – from level 1 helpdesk operators to security, coding, cloud, and system management professionals – tech leaders are finding it very difficult to find and keep good staff.

Hybrid Cloud is Gaining Traction in Australia

As tech leaders design the technology team and architecture that will help to drive their business forward and enable the agile, innovative future that the business leaders imagine, it is becoming clear that the hybrid cloud will play an increasingly important role in this future. While the drive to public cloud is real – there is an increasing recognition that some applications will remain in private cloud environments and therefore they need to manage a multi-cloud world. Australian businesses have embraced hybrid cloud management platforms to manage their many cloud investments – both public and private – and help the business deliver new digital services at pace.

Organisations in Australia have different Hybrid Cloud Approaches

Tech Leaders Need to Perform a Balancing Act

The need to deploy new digital services, continuously improve them, make them always available, ensure they are running in the best environment, deliver automation and AI initiatives using great data – while finding and keeping the skills the tech team needs – are the real challenges that IT leaders face today. Finding the right balance between investment, automation, skills, governance, security, speed and agility (amongst many other factors) is the never-ending job of the CIO – it is just more crucial than ever that they get this right, as the ability of the business to survive and thrive in this new era of innovation and agility is at stake.

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The Future of the Digital Enterprise – Australia & New Zealand

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Organisations in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) are focusing their digital transformation efforts on continued innovation in the experiences they deliver to their customers and employees.

Innovation has been at the core of organisations’ survival strategies – now it will be the means to gain competitive advantage and is getting prioritised over resiliency, business continuity and compliance.  

Here are 5 insights on where ANZ organisations are headed in the tech priorities and investments, based on the findings of the Ecosystm Digital Enterprise Study, 2022.

  • Tech Teams in ANZ are restructuring after a two-year struggle and as they face skills shortage.
  • Tech investments are focusing on experience and digital workplace and customer experience technologies are seeing continued growth.
  • Hybrid cloud investments are focused on augmenting existing infrastructure – whether public or on-prem
  • Sales & Marketing are leveraging data & AI solutions the most; IT Ops and SecOps will see un uptick in 2023
  • Cybersecurity practices are not evolving fast enough with only 9% of organisations having implemented Zero Trust

More insights into the ANZ tech market below.

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It’s Time to Out-Innovate the Innovation Leaders

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The last few months have been full of bad news for some of the organisations currently recognised as the most innovative firms on the planet. Netflix has been losing subscribers, Amazon’s revenue growth is slowing dramatically, and Tesla now has serious competition in the EV market, with its dominance beginning to wane. In Australia – my home country – some of the “fintech” banks have closed their virtual doors over the past six months, leaving the market to the traditional players.

And many of the traditional businesses are turning themselves around. Foxtel, the “legacy” cable TV provider in Australia, has grown its subscriber base by 19% off the back of its streaming services – where subscriber numbers are growing at over 60% YoY. ComfortDelgro – a transport provider based out of Singapore – is seeing its revenue start to increase again after being hit hard by digital competitors and the pandemic. CBA’s “Ceba” virtual assistant is winning plaudits in Australia and globally.

It’s Not Too Late to Catch-up!

In many respects, the fact that the digital disruptors got SO far ahead is an indication of just how slow the rest of the market was to respond, and a credit to the significant investments these innovators made to get ahead. But now that the rest of the market is catching up shows that there is no secret sauce when it comes to innovation. What Uber, Tesla, Amazon and every other digital innovator has done is replicable. Your business just needs to make the necessary changes to give you the ability to catch up to the digital innovators in your industry – do it well and you will even keep up with them or get ahead. And innovation is the leading business priority for most organisations today!

Innovation and Transformation Lead Business Priorities in 2022

What all of the digital disruptors did fifteen years ago, and many other businesses have done since then, is develop the ability to create and improve digital customer experiences at pace. Nearly every customer experience is digital – at least in part. So creating great digital experiences will go a long way to creating great customer experiences. Sounds easy right?

However, what this actually means is they changed their culture, structure, KPIs, technology, skills and the nature of their business. Many organisations have beaten the path to becoming digital businesses – in fact, it is a well-worn path. When you set off on the journey you are no longer taking risks or heading out alone. There is a very clear playbook as to how to become a digital business today.

What Does a Digital Business Look Like?

If you are part of your organisation’s tech team and wondering how digital your business is, ask these questions:

  • Do you mainly deploy new technology services with the Waterfall project methodology?
  • Do all of the development work with the IT team (and not in business or customer teams)?
  • Does it take months or years to deploy new services?
  • Are your KPIs the same as they were 5-10 years ago?

If the answer to some or all of these questions is YES, then it is likely that you are working for a business that will not catch up with or get ahead of your competitors. You might have a few initiatives that see you make some ground on them – but innovation today is not about leaps and bounds – it is about continual improvement. If you catch up today but don’t have the ability to continually improve, you will have fallen behind again tomorrow…

The good news is it is never too late to start this journey. It typically starts from the top of your business – the CIO cannot make the entire business agile. The head of the digital cannot change the culture of the entire organisation. But the IT and digital teams can get the ball rolling by changing their structure and work processes. Start by moving some developers into the Customer Experience team (if you have one!). Stop funding projects and start funding squads, tribes and teams. Structure the team around the customer journey – or at least make it easier for customers to get value from the digital assets and services you offer. Hopefully, someone will notice the fact that the tech team is helping a business unit or team to operate with agility and they’ll start asking why they cannot have that same ability?

And by then the ball is rolling down the hill and you are on your way to being a digital business – and on your way to giving customers the products, services and experiences they demand today and tomorrow.

The Future of Industries
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5 Insights on the State of the Sustainable Organisation – An ASEAN View

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Organisations are being driven to develop and demonstrate an ESG consciousness and a sustainability commitment in their actions and investments – by their customers, investors and by governments’ sustainability mandates. Early adopter organisations often realise several benefits – from achieving better financial outcomes to creating competitive differentiation. However, more organisations need to get serious about their sustainability journeys – and as regulations firm up, organisations will be forced to report on their sustainability initiatives.  

The Ecosystm Kyndryl ASEAN Digital Transformation Study 2022 was launched earlier this year to understand the pulse of C-level leaders and the business and technology transformation goals of organisations in the ASEAN region. This included a closer look on where organisations stand when it comes to setting sustainability goals and strategies, and their key challenges.
 
Here are 5 insights on the state of the Sustainable Organisation in ASEAN.

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