• December 22, 2015

A Hotbed of Opportunity: Those Who Dare, Win in Asia Pacific


By Scott Cassin, Chief Technologist, Asia Pacific Japan, and Distinguished Technologist, Enterprise Services, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

You can sum up the Asia Pacific Japan marketplace in one descriptor: extreme diversity. It speaks to the economic, social, and cultural spheres. And it’s what makes the region incredibly opportunity-rich.

In this region, many businesses as well as public sector organizations are more willing to experiment, to act, to explore. They have an insatiable appetite for innovation. They can see both the vast opportunities in the emerging markets of the region and the possibilities of reaching further into global markets. As a result they recognize the need for new styles of business and ways to adapt new technologies, partners, and providers to drive business outcomes.

And they have the strength in numbers to back it up. Asia is the global population center, with mega populations in India, China, and Indonesia—all positioning the region to become a dominant global marketplace. One with the potential power to exert a growing influence on where technology is going.

Distinct Transformation Challenges

When it comes to transformation, the region has its share of challenges, too. As in other parts of the world, fierce competition exists between traditional businesses and digitally born-in-the-cloud startups. Older organizations are struggling to leverage the new digital economy to drive value. Accordingly, transformation is more of a priority for established enterprises with legacy IT constraints. The startups already possess the flexibility and responsiveness needed to drive customer interactions and experiences.

The business case for transformation also differs depending on where you are in this part of the world. In established economies, such as Japan, it hinges on driving productivity gains. In countries where labor is cheap and available, such as in India and China, transformation doesn’t seem to be as much of a priority. Here, the business case for transformation can be made if it means access to global economies of scale. But that must be achieved through trusted industry service providers with easily accessible services and platforms.

There are other challenges. One of the factors constraining transformation in emerging markets is the level of technology penetration. Not everyone has access to the newest smartphones and tablets. Even if they do, network coverage and performance can be limited. Instead, they have older, more basic devices. Without broad state-of-the-art mobile device penetration, it’s difficult to effectively deliver sophisticated services and user experiences across all levels of the population and marketplace. So it’s important to consider the devices available to your target markets when developing your online and mobile channels.

Evaluating Risk

The Asia Pacific region is rapidly becoming a full-circle, global marketplace. Whereas before the market here was more inbound, it’s now outbound. India, China, and ASEAN, for example, deliver a lot of outbound global services. Yet, the rapid growth of startups in the region brings some unique security challenges. In the race to market for a startup in particular, security isn’t necessarily always the top priority. Core disciplines surrounding security are often compromised, and this increases the risk profile for customers, particularly from global markets, in confidently consuming services from the regions’ emerging marketplaces.

Both governments and enterprises want a rapid pace of economic growth. But speed can kill in the digital economy, especially in the domain of security. How do you ensure that startups develop adequate security postures? Having a well-defined services security assessment framework, integration, and operational management capability is essential. Security is likely to remain a predominant issue for emerging markets.

Innovation Hotbeds

Rapid growth, extreme diversity—could there be a more perfect formula? Innovation—not just transformation—in fact, is very real in the Asia Pacific region.

For example, Singapore is dynamic and edgy—known for experimenting with innovation in retail and public services delivery. In India, the Philippines, and Indonesia, startups are actively pursuing new ways to connect with local and global markets. Startups in Japan are developing a new generation of robot technology. A high comfort level with this type of technology has led the Japanese to leverage robotics to drive the next wave of manufacturing productivity. Japan will be among the primary drivers of the Internet of Things and the manner in which deployed sensors and machines interact with people.

Bottom line: For success in Asia Pacific and Japan, those who dare, win. Embrace market diversity, challenge the status quo, and define your own new style of business. After all, here, it’s not about catching up to the west. It’s about leap-frogging the west.

Like this article? Read more about security and transformation here.