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Businesses in Asia-Pacific (APAC) expect continued disruption and transformation amid continued impact from COVID-19 through 2021, according to a new study from Vodafone Business. Almost half (48 percent) of businesses in APAC expect that ‘substantial’ or ‘radical’ changes will be required to their business models in the next 12 months, of which 43 percent expect that making these fundamental changes to their business will be difficult to implement. However, despite these challenges, there is an undercurrent of optimism across businesses in APAC – more than half (54 percent) across the region say they are ‘excited’ about the future of their businesses ahead of 2021.

The Vodafone Business Future Ready Report – Asia Pacific gauges business sentiment across APAC ahead of the post-COVID-19 future, and identifies the attributes which are setting the most ‘future ready’ organisations in APAC apart. In total, the report identified that more than a quarter (27 percent) of companies in the region are ‘future ready’ businesses, best prepared for future success. They are identified by six common characteristics, namely:

  • Having a positive attitude to change
  • Being open to new technology
  • Taking clear steps towards business transformation
  • Setting a detailed strategy
  • Keeping up-to-date with relevant trends and uncertainties
  • Being adaptable

Taking on challenges of tomorrow with technology

Technology has emerged as a key lever for all businesses in APAC as they look to tackle the challenges of 2021 and beyond. Across the region, firms have responded to the pandemic by adding urgency to transformation plans, signalling a mindset shift about business success factors in a post-pandemic economy:

  • Nearly six in 10 (58 percent) of all businesses in APAC have accelerated digital transformation plans as a result of COVID-19.
  • This is even more pronounced among Future Ready businesses in APAC, with nearly three in four (74 percent) having done so.
  • Factors that accelerated digital transformation for APAC Future Ready businesses include increase in support among senior management (53 percent), initiatives to unlock efficiencies / new revenue streams (52 percent), and the adoption of an ‘innovate or die’ mindset within companies (46 percent).

Dan Beevers, Managing Director, Vodafone Business Asia Pacific, said: “In a time of lockdowns and social distancing, the human connection – powered by technology – has become even more central to business success. This, in combination with the resilience, optimism and never-say-die spirit in Asia Pacific puts businesses in good stead, whatever the future may bring.”

Investing in transformation for the long run

APAC Future Ready businesses are already seeing some positive benefits of post COVID-19 business transformation as we move into 2021. These benefits are not limited to pandemic-specific outcomes, and are likely to drive business success in the long term, such as:

  • Enhanced cyber security (55 percent)
  • More innovation/ research and development (50 percent)
  • Improved communication/collaboration among staff (49 percent)

“Future Ready businesses are already reaping the benefits of their efforts, with some even bucking the global downturn to increase profits during this time. This report provides a clear roadmap for how other businesses in the region can – and should – set themselves up for success in the post-pandemic economy by focusing on the imperatives such as setting a detailed strategy, taking clear steps towards business transformation, and increasing adaptability,” added Beevers.


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