“Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.” — Steward Brand
The world is changing. Businesses must keep up with the demands of the consumer, and a big part of these demands are related to advances in Information Technology (IT). When technology changes, companies and the IT division within those companies must either adapt and keep up or get left behind. Nowhere is this truer than in Asia, a technology hub and world leader in IT. To help you and your business keep up with the latest in IT, here are the most recent trends in Asia:
Robots are no longer simply a fictional character that appears in movies and books; they are becoming a big part of how the world turns and continues moving forward—especially in Asia-Pacific, which is the fastest growing region in the $82.7 billion robotics industry. And while for many years robots have played a big role in the industry and manufacturing sector, they are now beginning to creep into the healthcare, security, transportation, and many other sectors, as well as the general workplace. This is especially true in Asia, where labour shortages for low-wage jobs can be common.
The implementation of robots in the workplace is an exciting opportunity, most significantly for IT managers. More and more companies are investing in this new technology because of its potential to help with logistics and automation. Workers can now concentrate on accomplishing more advanced and skill-driven tasks, rather than mundane, repetitive, and time-consuming ones. Unfortunately, many individuals are wary of robots due to the perception that they will take jobs. If IT managers can help an organisation understand that robots are simply there to help them do their jobs better, rather than replace them, they will have much more success with getting workforces to embrace this new IT phenomenon.
Internet of Things
Everything is connected to the internet—or at least it can be and will be. That is the beauty of the Internet of Things. By 2020, the IoT market is estimated to be worth more than $7 billion in Southeast Asia alone. And just about every market in Asia is full-steam ahead. Japan wants to use IoT to help address several of their national dilemmas, Malaysia has already begun its journey on an IoT roadmap, and Indonesia has begun a smart city project.
Because of this push, many businesses are beginning to find ways of implementing IoT. They are building apps for the different products that they make, and they are integrating IoT devices in their offices. When it comes to integrating these products into the workplace, this is a task that IT managers should jump on. Their knowledge and ability to integrate and control these products is invaluable to any company that wants to see higher productivity, lower costs, and more analytics on how the workforce is spending their time and energy. However, many of these benefits are not obvious to leadership in an organisation at first site. The products simply seem more expensive and more complicated. IT managers must take the time to illustrate the benefits that these pricey products could bring to the company.
E-commerce has been around for years and is no way a new trend. However, there are changes occurring within Asia that are altering the appearance of e-commerce in the area. Giants of the industry, like Amazon, are entering the South-east Asian market. What started in China as a program that used suppliers to offer e-commerce adjacent solutions to merchants, is now starting to expand to the rest of Asia, providing new opportunities for everyone from delivery agencies to digital companies. And then there’s the opening of Myanmar, providing companies with both the new opportunity of a market to sell in, as well as the challenge of introducing e-commerce into a formerly closed-off economy.
So when it comes to selling to consumers online, companies have a few choices to make. Do they want to be hosted on platforms like MatahariMall and Lazada? Or, do they want to sell directly to the consumer from their own website? Do they want to try and break into new and challenging markets like Myanmar, or do they want to direct that same energy towards expanding e-commerce opportunities in more open markets? While these strategies sound more like marketing decisions, they will heavily rely on the know-how and expertise of IT managers. These professionals need to understand the ins and outs of selling on marketplaces so that they can compete with how those very same marketplaces leverage their privately collected data to sell their own private labels—very much like Amazon has done. They also need to understand the intricacies of e-commerce on their own brand.com website if necessary. IT managers need to stay on their toes during this indecisive period so that they can pivot and move forward quickly with whichever way marketing chooses to go. And most importantly, they need to gain knowledge of these options so that they can provide leadership with their informed opinion about how a major e-commerce transition would affect other areas of the business.
It is pretty difficult to deny the trend of big data in IT when more than half of Asian Pacific businesses see big data as one of the most important assets a company can have. And this number is only growing. More and more organisations, of every size, are finding ways to adopt and expand big data analytics more deeply. Over the course of the next year, the trend is going to be all about acquiring systems that are able to support larger and larger amounts of data. And while the systems store more data, they will also allow much closer oversight, guaranteeing more effective analysis and security. This, in turn, will make big data just that much more insightful and valuable to companies.
This kind of big data has the ability to provide businesses with all of the information they could have ever wanted about their customers, as well as all the consumers they are missing out on. It has the ability to show IT managers, as well as any business as a whole, what areas they should concentrate on, what areas they are neglecting, and what areas they are wasting their time with. This can change everything for a company. It can help it beat out the competition and rise to the next level. It can help the organisation expand in a fraction of the time it would otherwise take. And for this very reason, IT managers need to give big data the respect it deserves. They need to embrace it. But they can only do this by making a slight transition into analytics. It is analytics skills that will be most highly valued in the coming years, and the more they understand how to interpret and explain the data that is pulled in, the more valuable they will be to any company.
The latest in IT has the potential to better every company and the IT professionals working in those companies. The key, though, to this joint benefit is understanding and embracing it.