Forrester says that in 2022, just 40% of Asia-Pacific (APAC) firms surveyed would consider pivoting to anywhere-work versus 70% globally.
The research firm attributes this to the large manufacturing and contact centre industries, which typically require a stronger physical presence in their facilities.
Also, among information workers, 65% expressed a preference to return to the office in part because home environments, including high-density and extended family living situations, have proven less conducive to productivity.
Striking the right balance between in-person job requirements and employee preferences will be critical for companies in APAC, or they will risk alienating their workforce and potentially pushing them to find other opportunities.
In 2022, the demands of customers — for seamless cross-channel experiences, convenience, reassurance, and commitment to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) values — will only grow stronger.
Other highlights for 2022
Trust will become a key business imperative. The world is in a major crisis of trust, driven by concerns over public health, cybersecurity, data privacy, and sustainability. APAC’s financial services industry will be the first to act upon the trust imperative.
Companies that ignore the trust imperative will lose 10% to 40% of their customers, starting with those unwilling to forgive firms for breaching their trust.
Sustainability is not high on the agenda. The number of firms in APAC to appoint a dedicated sustainability lead will be less than half the global average. Values-based consumers have put pressure on firms to elevate their sustainability efforts, but many such plans have remained performative.
Only 30% of APAC purchase influencers say their firms are taking real action such as making their sustainability efforts more transparent and reducing their carbon footprint or e-waste.
Just 26% of Fortune Global 200 firms in the region have appointed a sustainability lead at the senior level, as compared to 81% in EMEA and 92% in North America.
Digital government services – a reality in APAC. At least 1 billion people will access world-leading digital government services. Governments in Asia Pacific lead the world in implementing the three pillars of a digital society: digital identity, digital currency, and data interoperability.
Countries like Singapore, India, and Australia already have established digital identity solutions, and more than 20 million Chinese already use the digital yuan, with more trials in the works.
From cloud-first to cloud-native. 30% of APAC firms with cloud-first strategies will shift to cloud-native. Cloud-native technologies will transcend all major technology domains, including big data, AI, and the internet of things.
By embracing a cloud-native approach, these firms will accelerate enterprise modernisation and implement future fit technology strategies. But this shift will be slow compared to North America and EMEA.
“In 2022, after nearly two years of reactively responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, firms in Asia Pacific will finally be able to proactively address changing customer and employee expectations,” said Michael Barnes, vice president and research director at Forrester.
He cautioned, however, too few will fully pivot from the current health crisis to the looming climate crisis.
“Business leaders must adapt to this new reality, laying the groundwork for bold decisions. Creativity, resilience, and agility — fuelled by strong customer understanding and smart technology investments — will separate leaders and laggards, no matter the industry,” he concluded.