Investment decisions are made based on the return on investment (ROI). So why are Asia-Pacific investors expecting greater ROI from technology?
Mature and emerging markets embrace technology to achieve their own goals
Technology enables organizations to accomplish two things: reduce costs and labor through increased efficiency, and drive new capabilities and more opportunities for growth.
While efficiency and new capabilities are clearly important, understanding which of these values is more crucial to an Asia-Pacific organization depends heavily on location.
- In more mature markets, driving new capabilities is necessary, but often the catalyst for applying new technologies is to replace expensive labor-intensive processes with more cost-effective alternatives
- In emerging markets, organizations are more focused on leveraging the latest advancements to expand capabilities and opportunities for growth. These organizations are often able to benefit from leapfrogging antiquated generations of technology straight to the cutting edge, removing the need to develop intermediary solutions
While mature markets are investing to improve efficiency, emerging markets are investing to create something new altogether. Powerful technological tools are launching revolutions in industries such financial services and retail, and even underpinning smart cities. They are rapidly changing the way people work, transact and live, making it possible for emerging markets to jump to the front of the line in Asia-Pacific and, in many instances, globally.
Managing change is instrumental in implementing technology
There are challenges associated with technologies that are so transformative, and in this Asia-Pacific is no exception.
Organizations have to overcome the change management aspect that accompanies implementation of technology. Fundamentally, this means focusing on replacing the mundane and less efficient aspects of jobs, and not necessarily the jobs themselves. Organizations must also be determined to upskill their labor force to be ready for higher value jobs which cannot be replaced.
In many ways, substituting old technology with new technology is the easy part.
Addressing the human impact – when roles have been radically changed, or no longer needed at all – is easy to underestimate.
Change management can be a less arduous task in emerging markets that are adding something brand new. But for mature markets, it is essential to overcome “fear culture” – the fear that technology will replace jobs that are deeply embedded.
If change is implemented effectively, fear can be alleviated by providing people opportunities to upskill, so that they can increase the value of other parts of their roles. It’s a mindset that needs to be embraced by employers and employees in any country, and in this regard, Asia-Pacific countries have excelled.
The Asia-Pacific area as a whole is far more adept at accommodating the transformative nature of new technologies.
Asia-Pacific is full of countries that have faced decades of rapid change, while for many others, rapid change is still underway. Resilience to change has given the region with an eagerness to invest in new technologies, to both improve efficiency and expand opportunities. It is a competitive advantage for the area – one that could compound growth over future generations, from emerging markets to the mature.