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Leveraging technology to navigate the upcoming economic uncertainty

Nurdianah Md Nur
Nurdianah Md Nur12/21/2022 02:00 PM GMT+08  • 6 min read
Leveraging technology to navigate the upcoming economic uncertainty
Accelerating the right digital transformation initiatives can help Apac organisations turn uncertainties into opportunities next year and beyond. Photo: Pexels
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While there is no way of escaping inflation and weakening economic growth, organisations in Asia Pacific (Apac) should continue to highly prioritise their digital transformation efforts to find opportunities in uncertain times.

“As uncertainty’s long shadow continues to stretch further [in 2023], the stage will be set for future fit technology leaders to make wise investments that will strengthen their resilience and secure future growth,” says Danny Mu, principal analyst at Forrester Research.

Here are four IT imperatives for 2023 that can help Apac organisations adhere to a long-term strategic vision while operating within an unknown territory, according to industry experts and thought leaders.

1. Get better control of the cloud

Although Apac enterprises are increasingly using multiple clouds, many have yet to realise the full value of multi-cloud. This is due to the complexity and uncontrolled cloud sprawl, siloed and disparate environments, security risks, and rising costs.

Organisations should therefore take a strategic approach that seamlessly connects a mix of clouds and on-prem environments, advises Sanjay Rohatgi, senior vice president and general manager of Asia Pacific and Japan at NetApp, a cloud-led data-centric software company.

See also: Payments and what to expect in a new era of digital money

“In the next phase of the evolved cloud, enterprises will turn to a unified control plane to remove management complexity, stay secure against evolving cyber threats, be sustainable, and cut costs through automation — whether their data resides on the cloud or on-premises. This will put organisations in a position to focus on innovation and drive their business,” he explains.

Forrester’s Mu expects to see the same trend too. “A digital industrial platform [which is a unified control plane] enables firms to connect and analyse industrial data, bridging the physical and digital worlds to deliver sustainable customer value. It also helps firms improve product life cycles by connecting industrial applications to e-commerce and social platforms. With government encouragement — such as Japan’s connected industries vision — manufacturing, construction, utilities, and other firms in China, Japan, South Korea, and Australia will accelerate digital industrial platform adoption in 2023, forcing others to follow suit or be left behind,” says Mu.

2. Embrace industrial metaverse

See also: A local spin on voice AI

The metaverse is not just for consumers. Some manufacturers like BMW are already using the metaverse for digital twins, which are virtual representations of existing business functions such as a manufacturing line.

With the industrial metaverse (or digital twins), businesses can assess how different scenarios might impact productivity, safety, and more, without interrupting production or putting workers’ safety at risk.

“Manufacturing is leading the way in moving beyond today’s metaverse precursors toward more integrated environments. Manufacturers should take a closer look at existing industrial metaverse initiatives and decide how to deliver real employee or customer value,” advises Mu.

Sojung Lee, president for Asia Pacific at remote connectivity solutions provider TeamViewer, agrees, adding that current industrial metaverse solutions are easy to implement and require no IT knowledge as they are based on no-code approaches.

She continues: “Some companies are already implementing industrial metaverse solutions based on smartphones and tablets, to not fully rely on smart glasses. This is a testament to how quickly hardware has developed over the last few years, and it takes advantage of solutions that are brand- and product-agnostic.

“Some companies are using tablets to document their work activity, which is updated in their ERP [enterprise resource planning] system in real-time, for example. This means a successful industrial metaverse solution isn’t just about augmented reality (AR) and smart glasses, but instead focuses on managing data flows to help workers on the factory floor. The increasing ubiquity of devices that can interact means a lower reliance on expensive customised devices and an increase in potential cost savings.”

Lee also highlights that the industrial metaverse will be useful in quickly equipping new talent with existing organisational knowledge and expertise. “Through AR and industrial metaverse, [new talent] will be able to bridge the knowledge gap in an experiential way, with step-by-step guidance presented to them right in front of their eyes,” she says.

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3. Find high-value processes to automate

Robotic process automation (RPA) is usually the first step on most enterprises’ automation journey to drive efficiency and productivity. However, Mu points out that 40% of Apac organisations that have adopted RPA are struggling to identify high-value processes to automate. “They will need process intelligence solutions to reinvigorate stalling or flatlining RPA programmes.”

Companies can consider using automation in their security operations centres (SOCs). Many studies have found that SOC professionals are at risk of burnout due to the growing workload and the low morale caused by fighting against constant close calls from adversaries.

Debashish Jyotiprakash, vice president for Asia and managing director for India at Qualys, an IT security and compliance platform provider, believes automation can help prevent SOC burnout.

He states: “Automation and machine learning can not only help speed up detection and remediation times, but also cut through all alert noise. Using technology to weed out the irrelevant threats will allow SOC teams to get back to the more ‘juicy’ work by addressing the serious threats they were trained to handle. When SOC teams are empowered to do the work they really want to do, job satisfaction should increase.”

4. Continue building cybersecurity muscles

Technology is a double-edged sword, and bad actors will continue to be relentless in their efforts to execute sophisticated cyberattacks next year.

“Ransomware will continue to make headlines. Attacks will become more destructive, and threat actors will develop new tactics, techniques, and procedures to try and stay one step ahead of vendors, while looking to leverage the massive cyber power of quantum computing wherever possible,” says John McClurg, CISO of BlackBerry.

He continues: “While this technology defines a new, evolving era of advancements in data, quantum computing also offers a new set of opportunities for threat actors to gain access to sensitive information that could immobilise organisations.

“Security teams must be vigilant and proactive as attackers continue seeking innovative and creative ways to work around cybersecurity solutions. They must constantly assess new technologies and approaches that can outperform legacy antivirus solutions, ranging from prevention-first AI to adopting zero trust architecture.”

Besides having prevention and detection capabilities, Apac organisations should also ensure they can quickly recover from cyberattacks. “As more businesses migrate to the cloud, we will see an increased adoption of disaster recovery-as-a-service and backup-as-a-service as part of their data protection strategy [and to enable] rapid recovery from cyber and ransomware attacks,” says Raymond Goh, senior director of systems engineering for Asia Pacific and Japan at Veeam Software, a backup and modern data protection provider.

“Organisations should follow the 3-2-1-1-0 rule for backup. This means having three copies of important data on at least two different types of media, with at least one of these copies being off-site and another copy that is immutable. In addition, after automated backup testing and recoverability verification, they should ensure there are zero backup errors,” he advises.

The gloomy forecast for the global economy next year does not mean there will be no opportunities for Apac businesses. By using technology to become more flexible, adaptable and innovative, organisations in the region will be better prepared for any changes and find new growth drivers.

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