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APAC leaders expect tech disruption to accelerate

Nearly two-thirds of C-suite leaders in the region expect the pace of technology disruption to accelerate further in 2024, driven by advancements in generative AI

Nearly two-thirds of C-suite leaders in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region expect the pace of technology disruption to accelerate further in 2024, driven by advancements in generative artificial intelligence (AI), a study has found.

According to Accenture’s Pulse of change: 2024 index released today ahead of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, technology disruption increased the most in 2023, rising to No. 1 from No. 6 in 2022. C-suite executives in APAC also ranked technology as the top cause of change.

Despite the risks around generative AI (GenAI), 81% of C-suite leaders in APAC see the technology as more of an opportunity than a threat and more beneficial to revenue growth than costs reduction.

However, across the APAC region, 44% of leaders acknowledged it would take more than six months to scale and take advantage of GenAI, with 61% now approaching investments with more caution because of societal concerns about the responsible use of AI.

In Southeast Asia, 88% expect technology disruption to accelerate and 89% see generative AI as an opportunity, but less than half of C-suite leaders in Singapore feel fully prepared to respond to change.

Ng Wee Wei, Southeast Asia market unit lead and senior managing director at Accenture, said: “We believe that the companies that will succeed in the next decade are those that embrace a strategy of continuously reinventing every part of their business using technology, data and AI, including harnessing the power of generative AI, and ensuring their people are at the centre of their transformations”.

Besides technology, Accenture’s study also ranked five other factors of change affecting businesses – talent, economic, geopolitical, climate, as well as consumer and social – using a range of key business indicators such as labour productivity and IT spending.

The consulting firm then compared this data to a survey of 3,400 C-suite – including 790 in APAC – leaders on how they view the impact of each factor on their organisations, as well as their preparedness to respond.

According to the indicator analysis, talent was the No. 2 cause of business change (including issues such as skills shortages and lack of employee engagement), but in the survey, C-suite leaders in APAC ranked talent at No. 5.

Globally, 42% of C-suite leaders indicated that skills shortage was one of the top three challenges that would hold back their organisations’ ability to respond to change, underscoring the importance for businesses of making their talent strategy a priority, especially as they work to tap the potential of new technologies.

In its recent Technology vision 2024 report, Accenture noted that emerging technologies like AI can amplify human potential and reinvent business as they evolve to be more human-centric.

“As AI, spatial computing and body-sensing technologies evolve to a point where tech appears to imitate human capabilities and seem invisible, what you’ll see left are the people – empowered with new capabilities to accomplish things they once considered impossible,” said Matt Coates, technology lead at Accenture Australia and New Zealand.

“This important seismic shift in the way people work, live and learn will accelerate a wave of unprecedented change across industries, from retail and entertainment to medicine and manufacturing. Organisations that act now to reinvent their business and ways of working using ‘human by design’ technologies will redefine what it means to be an industry leader.”

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