2023 technology and business predictions

Photo by Burak K

While many countries are gradually regaining a sense of normalcy, it is clear that the nearly three years of living with the pandemic have created significant shifts have occurred in the business landscape. We’ve collected a range of predictions in technology and business trends for companies to navigate the year ahead.

Regional Growth

Regional cross-border commerce will grow by 20% 

Key economies in the region, such as China, India, and Southeast Asia, are embracing modern payment networks.  The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement will further boost cross-border commerce.

Additionally, modern cross-border payment networks are poised to replace the 50-year-old SWIFT system, which the region still uses as its payment infrastructure.

– Forrester’s 2023 APAC Predictions

APAC growth will increase reliance on international talent

APAC will continue to be a region of dynamic growth and development, despite the impact of global trends such as the ‘Great Resignation’, ‘Quiet Quitting’ and the ‘Great Reset’. The ongoing talent crunch will see more developed economies such as Australia, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea rely even more on international talent to maintain their economic advantage.

While government initiatives in each market will play an ongoing role in attracting world-class talent, there is more pressure for employers to develop solid talent attraction and retention policies – such as authentic company values, strong corporate culture and flexible work arrangements.

Singapore will maintain its reputation as a global hub that attracts the world’s best talent and companies across a range of sectors. Ongoing government support for work visa programs, along with the upskilling and reskilling of its existing workforce, will build on the country’s ability to remain proactive and agile.

The private sector will need to address local causes of the ‘Great Resignation’ and ‘Quiet Quitting’ such as the demand for increased freedom and flexibility. Remote hiring has become a practical alternative to address the talent gap, and it is a permanent solution.

– Charles Ferguson, General Manager, Asia Pacific, G-P

Cloud computing

Adoption of in-region digital industrial platforms will rise by 30%

Among business and tech leaders in APAC who view using platforms as a high priority, 43% use industry-specific cloud solutions. 
The region’s manufacturing, construction, utilities, and other industrial firms currently account for 45% of the global industrial sector. These firms will lead industry cloud adoption via digital industrial platforms to deliver sustainable customer value

– Forrester’s 2023 APAC Predictions


Vulnerabilities inevitable, prompting changes

According to the National Vulnerability Database (NVD), the number of new vulnerabilities reported in 2022 is 15 percent higher than in 2020, and we still have some time to go before the end of the year. The increase in the number of vulnerabilities is inevitable due to the sheer amount of code being written each day.

The industry therefore needs more openness around vulnerability reporting; the current ad-hoc bug bounty programs are not functional when we consider all of the different sources and users of each piece of code.

Instead, governments should provide support to create a worldwide bug bounty program that standardizes this process and provides a centralized location for all reporting. The moves that the Biden Government has made around open source software are a good starting point for this, and in 2023 this will continue to expand.

There is also a need to encourage software developers to follow best practices around application development. Embedding frameworks like OWASP into how developers create and check their code should be done as standard, but this will grow in popularity.

– Debashish Jyotiprakash, Vice President for Asia and Managing Director for India, Qualys

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) concerns.

Green innovation in media brands

2023 is a year of green innovation for media brands. According to Kantar’s Link ad-testing database of more than 230,000 ads, the number of campaigns that address social and environmental issues has tripled since 2016, and now stands at 6% of all ads.

2023 will be the year of new challenges for media brands when they should not just follow but show. And as media plans seek to go green – charting the impact on energy use alongside existing brand metrics – media owners who can offer better carbon deals are likely to attract more business.

– Pablo Gomez, Head of Creative and Media, Kantar Insights Singapore

Performative ESG efforts may be penalised

Values-based consumers are forcing firms to publicly commit to ESG efforts, but pressure to act quickly will lead some to misrepresent or overstate their actions.

Offenders could face penalties of US$10 million or more as APAC regulators follow in the footsteps of their US and European counterparts and clamp down on greenwashing.    

– Forrester’s 2023 APAC Predictions

Human Resources

Consolidation in the HR Tech Market

The market for HR technology has gotten incredibly crowded over the last few years – driven largely by pandemic tailwinds and other workforce trends. The industry has had to be incredibly agile –adjusting to meet the needs of customers as priorities and workflows have shifted multiple times, including moving from remote work to hybrid/return-to-office models .

This has led to the emergence of new players and technologies, more competition – and quite frankly, an overwhelming number of solutions for businesses to understand and adopt. It’s become very siloed. HR has certainly experienced digital transformation – there’s no turning back from this – but businesses are going to look more critically at what their needs are, and how they can optimize their tech stack. 

I think that we’re going to wind up with some consolidation in the space – partly due to budget constraints and the economy, but also as a result of HR teams needing holistic, comprehensive tech solutions. HR teams are already feeling the same overwhelm that other areas experiencing digital transformation have – too many point solutions,  and a desire to streamline tech investments to see real ROI.  

Nat Natarajan, Chief Product and Strategy Officer, G-P

Training and Upskilling will become backbone of business resilience

With Government mandates to move Singapore towards becoming a Smart Nation, coupled with constant references to impending inflation, businesses will focus on ensuring that their employees are sufficiently skilled to truly maximise their digital resources. A study by Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), RSM Singapore and the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) showed that seven out of 10 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are seeking more support in upskilling their staff.

Working with their accounting and booking partner can be hugely beneficial for SMEs looking to plug the skills gap to overcome the challenging business climate post-pandemic

– Koren Wines, Asia Managing Director, Xero