PETER Drucker once said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
For CXOs looking to drive their tech-driven organizations in 2022 and beyond, what are some of the key business priorities they need to consider? Here are my five key business priorities.
Boards demand on investments
Organizations worldwide will spend $1.78 trillion on cloud and other “digital transformation” initiatives in 2022, according to Statista.
The question is, are companies and governments investing to truly transform, or are they undertaking what Forrester calls “digital sameness”?
The shift to cloud is critical. In the private sector, already one or more cloud-centric digital “outsiders” are disrupting just about every industry.
Take, Singtel, one of Asia’s leading communications groups, which is partnering with Grab to offer banking services to retail and corporate customers in Singapore. Expect to see more such unconventional digital partnerships across sectors.
Certainly, the big rewards come to those organizations that see cloud as a liberator and facilitator. Indeed, Gartner calls the cloud a “force multiplier” — the scalable, resilient technology foundation for long-term innovation and growth.
Increasingly, organizations recognize that the cloud frees up technical people from mundane work, letting them focus more on developing unique, profitable digital products and services. Additionally, cloud is a facilitator of data driven business, bringing new artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) enabled tools to the fingertips of those who understand and could bring change to the business.
As we enter 2022, expect to hear boards asking their executive teams for more evidence that their cloud investments are positioning their companies for long-term competitive advantage.
ML, AI to become core competency
With most enterprises continuing to drown in data, ML and AI algorithms represent a life raft, helping enterprises analyze and learn from that data, improving decision-making and informing a range of next actions.
Most enterprises are just experimenting with ML/AI, and finding requisite skills is a challenge.
With most organizations not having teams of qualified data scientists, a more practical alternative is to build smaller, more focused “MLOps” teams. Such teams consist of data scientists, developers and other IT operations people to deploy, maintain and constantly improve ML/AI models.
Further, Forrester predicts that one in five organizations would double down on what it calls “AI inside” — AI and ML embedded in their systems and operational practices.
Evaluation through sustainability lens
When buying goods and services or sizing up potential employers, many people today are evaluating companies’ progress on sustainability. Enterprises are also doing the same with their suppliers and partners, holding them — and themselves — accountable for adopting various sustainable initiatives including reducing carbon emissions.
In 2022, it would be almost compulsory for businesses to layout and execute a comprehensive sustainability strategy. In APAC, this would need more focused leadership. Forrester reports that among Fortune Global 200 companies, 92 percent in North America and 81 percent in EMEA have appointed a sustainability lead at the VP, director, or other executive level; only 26 percent in APAC have.
“Sustainability efforts of many APAC firms are driven by compliance and investor pressure, not strategic planning and risk management,” Forrester says. “This approach won’t materially affect climate change and fool environmentally attuned customers and partners.
“Real action” requires enterprises to change some of the fundamentals of their business.
Career-development, recruiting practices reimagined
Hiring and retaining skilled people continues to be the No. 1 priority of just about every CXO. Yet the Great Resignation spurred by the global pandemic suggests that in 2022, employers would have their work cut out for them: companies need to be more proactive about charting a career path for employees and listening to their concerns about work-life balance and workplace flexibility.
The 2021 [email protected] report by Oracle and Workplace Intelligence found that the pandemic has caused many employees to feel “stuck” and is pushing them to rethink their futures. As a result, 83 percent are looking to make career changes over the next year, 85 percent aren’t satisfied with their employer’s career support, and 87 percent said their employer should do more to listen to their needs. In addition, 88 percent of respondents said the pandemic has made work-life balance, mental health, and job flexibility bigger priorities for them.
Employees have much different priorities now compared to before the pandemic and companies need to take them into account to reimagine the post-pandemic workplace.
The new ‘never normal’
The pandemic continues to force supply chain planners to reassess their priorities and how they apply the latest supply chain management technologies, as “never normal” becomes the new normal.
For instance, where “just-in-time” inventory was the pre-pandemic best practice, “safety stock” — or what is known as “just-in-case” inventory management — is considered the new normal.
While even the most sophisticated supply chain technologies won’t fully anticipate the extent of market shocks such as a global pandemic, they could help companies figure out the right balance of safety stock.
As people’s buying behaviors shift from physical to online, companies would need to identify and react to those shifts and plan for the “ripple effects” across their plants, data centers, and extended supply chains.
By considering these key priorities, Philippine businesses would be better able to boost their economic impact and help reignite the new Asian Age.
Christopher G. Chelliah is the senior vice president for customer strategy, business development and insight at Oracle Corp. Asia Pacific and Japan.