Three trends that will define Asian businesses this year

This article is more than 12 months old

Asian businesses must understand and harness them to survive and succeed

This year, the business environment and Asian consumers' expectations will evolve faster than ever, creating clear winners and losers in the marketplace.

To help businesses navigate this complex web of change drivers, global telecommunications giant Vodafone has identified three key trends that will affect Asian enterprises.

Understanding and harnessing them are essential to establishing a platform for lasting business success.

The three trends are:

  • Empowering the workforce: Increasing productivity in the digital workplace
  • Smarter business: Innovating in the "as-a-service" economy
  • Digitalisation and disruption: Competing in the Gigabit Society


Social, economic and employment trends are creating new ways of working and digitalisation is at the front of this evolution.

The impact of digitalisation is seen in flexible working - employees are empowered to collaborate across functions, offices and borders.

Work is becoming dispersed and mobile, individual but collaborative - and above all, connected. Collaboration powered by the cloud enables a mesh of connected humans and devices, communicating intelligently in real time.

Harnessing these changes are essential for organisations to improve productivity and employee satisfaction.

Employees now want a company that works the way they want to work. By evolving organisational culture to reflect new, flexible ways of working, businesses will be able to increase employee effectiveness and engagement.

Embracing personalised communication and collaboration tools will also enable true work-life integration, which will lead to higher staff retention, higher sales and greater profits, in a virtuous circle.


There is a great deal of talk around the boundaries between the physical and digital worlds blurring. Vodafone believes there is no divergence, because both worlds are now regularly intertwined.

Smarter businesses understand this and are realigning to meet their customers' changing preferences.

Nearly half (46 per cent) of the world's largest businesses now rank investment in digital innovation as their top priority for the next three years.

In an "everything-as-a-service" driven economy, businesses will consume services rather than buy physical equipment. An app-driven culture demands an app-driven mindset and delivery.

Within the enterprise, leaders must evaluate how to drive digital transformation and a service culture to enable faster innovation. Increasing the engagement of IT teams with other business functions effects digital change, drives transformation and helps employees to work smarter.

A combination of cloud computing, IoT (Internet of Things) and intelligent, secure, high-speed networks enables the business to accelerate innovation and break down silos.


Digitalisation is rapidly altering the way we live.

Companies that embrace digitalisation will lead the change, disrupting traditional models and transforming relationships.

The high-speed real-time Gigabit Society is fundamental to realising the benefits of digitalisation.

From healthcare to utilities, from education to entertainment, from retail to public sector, high-speed networks are helping to create smarter cities and thriving economies.

Citizens and businesses alike benefit from widespread high-speed connectivity, protected by strong cyber security.

Businesses that harness disruption, deploying gigabit skills such as agile working, driving insight from data and leveraging the power of IoT, can gain significant competitive advantage.

This year will see the acceleration of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Profound changes are reshaping every aspect of our society and business, from the way we work, production to consumption, and communication to entertainment.

Businesses that identify the trends and are bold enough to embrace the potential of digitalisation will be the winners; those that lag behind face an uncertain future.

There are exciting times ahead for Asia's businesses if they seize the opportunity.

The writer is president, Vodafone Global Enterprise, Asia Pacific.