2024 tech and business predictions

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Emerging from the doldrums of the previous years, business leaders appear upbeat about the potential for growth and innovation in the year ahead. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as a common theme in this year’s predictions, be they enthusiastic or cautionary. Here are a range of predictions in technology and business trends for companies to navigate the year ahead.

Regional Growth

Amidst geopolitical tensions in other parts of the world, ASEAN has emerged as a favourable business destination. Global enterprises such as Hyundai and Procter & Gamble are investing in the region, with new factories and R&D centres.

Coupled with advancements in AI, which has the potential to contribute S$1.36 trillion to the ASEAN economy by 2030, there is a significant opportunity for ASEAN businesses to leapfrog and elevate themselves to a global stage.

ASEAN countries have made steady progress in preparation for AI adoption. Businesses will need access to trusted technology, AI training and guard rails for responsible AI adoption. Done right, businesses can harness the full potential of AI supercharge growth in the region.

Sujith Abraham, Senior Vice President and General Manager, ASEAN for Salesforce

Despite global economic challenges in 2023, Singapore’s economy is poised for a 1-3% expansion in the second half of 2024, driven by improving exports. Until then, persistent tight financial conditions are expected to further slow growth in key economies that affect Singapore.

Economic headwinds typically hit small businesses the hardest, and in a Xero study of seven countries, Singapore’s small businesses reported the highest levels of stress related to managing employees and business issues compared to their global counterparts. However, these same companies ranked second in the countries surveyed in overall wellbeing and satisfaction.

As the economy shows signs of recovery in 2024, Singaporean entrepreneurs must navigate the next six months with agility, using technology and data to automate tasks, free-up time for creativity, and reduce any stress involved in running a small business. Barring unforeseen geopolitical events, Singapore’s entrepreneurs can anticipate increased wellbeing as economic pressures ease next year.

Koren Wines, Managing Director of Xero Asia

E-commerce and Customer Experience

In 2024, the prominence of Social Commerce and social media in the e-commerce landscape will keep on rising. Businesses need to harness these platforms such as TikTok as essential tools for driving sales, engaging with customers, and cultivating brand loyalty. For this, Social Commerce integration will be a central focus, as it allows companies to manage their social channels, along with other sales touchpoints, in one central place.

Tailoring the shopping experience to individual customer preferences through data analytics and AI-driven insights remains a significant focus. Personalized product recommendations, targeted marketing campaigns, and enhanced customer service are key areas of development.

In 2024, brands will double their focus on how they put their omnichannel practices into action. If not leveraging already, brands will focus on acquiring tools that support seamless product listings across channels, leverage quality digital assets to ensure customer retention, and focus on Online-to-Offline (O2O). This will be critical for brands to offer a consistent shopping experience to their customers across all touchpoints in an integrated manner.

Anchanto: 2024 trends that will shape e-commerce, logistics, and online retail in Southeast Asia

CX will improve for the first time in years — thanks to genAI. The key to CX improvements in 2024 will be behind-the-scenes genAI that helps customer service agents answer questions faster and better, resolve CX issues on first contact, and leave customers feeling heard.

Generational differences will alter B2B buying preferences. Millennial buyers make up 75% of business buying teams. In 2024, 40% of these buyers will demand early access to B2B product experts. When engaged in face-to-face buying, these buyers find personal interactions with product experts more meaningful than all other in-person activities.

Forrester’s 2024 predictions

Advancements in semantic query, more commonly known as posing questions in natural language, will revolutionise customer service and reshape the digital economy. Businesses can now use text, images, videos and audio for AI-driven search to deliver quick and hyper-personalised service.

Key sectors like travel and hospitality are taking the lead to invest in automation and generative AI following their post-pandemic bounce back. Despite all the progress, businesses in the region are cautiously exploring generative AI. Besides trust and accountability concerns, many are still genial building their data foundation. In the near future, we may only see select industries test the waters with internal deployments before venturing out with smaller-scale customer service programmes.

[For example], while many LLMs can produce highly conversational chatbots, the question of accountability means that a future where chatbots can independently run customer service functions is still some way away. Naturally, many companies are keen to use LLMs to provide a rich chat experience for their customers. However, they’re also cautious of the potential accountability and liability issues that may arise with leaving LLMs unsupervised. 

Who is responsible for the advice that a chatbot makes to the customer? And what happens when a chatbot gives misguided recommendations to the customer? There remain considerable risks of a chatbot giving inappropriate responses that could result in serious liability issues for the company. Human supervision will still be needed as a check and balance to validate and correct any inaccurate results generated by AI. 

Gavin Barfield, Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, Solutions, Salesforce ASEAN 


In 2024, the symbiosis between AI and botnets will witness a significant surge. The convergence of AI capabilities will empower the proliferation and sophistication of botnets, amplifying their potency to orchestrate complex cyber threats. AI-powered botnets will exploit advanced algorithms to expand their reach and impact, intensifying the challenges faced by cybersecurity.

This alarming trend will necessitate innovative defence strategies and heightened vigilance to counter the escalating threat posed by botnets, reshaping the landscape of digital security measures.

Sally Vincent, Senior Threat Research Engineer, LogRhythm 

Just as there was initially a lack of understanding regarding the shared responsibility model associated with cloud computing, we find ourselves in a situation where gen AI adoption lacks clarity. Many are uncertain about how to effectively leverage gen AI, where its true value lies, and when and where it should not be employed.

This predicament is likely to result in a significant risk of confidential information breaches through gen AI platforms. This echoes findings from a recent survey of channel partners by LogRhythm, which found 47% to have grave concerns about AI tools causing data leaks, while 18% are particularly anxious about potential leaks of proprietary business data.  

Andrew Hollister, CISO & VP Labs R&D, LogRhythm

Preparing for a future with AI

Businesses today should go beyond using generative AI to manage mundane tasks to supporting employees to deliver higher-value work. AI is set to transform the nature of certain jobs with generative AI poised to replace manual, repetitive tasks. As a result, businesses need to identify the appropriate use cases for AI in their organisation and find the balance between supercharging human capabilities and improving productivity.

Gavin Barfield, Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, Solutions, Salesforce ASEAN

The coming year holds immense promise for businesses to realize the value of AI at work. Yet, the lack of skilled professionals remains a barrier to greater adoption of AI solutions in Asia Pacific. It is evident that despite the advantages AI offers in terms of automation, human expertise continues to play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between the capabilities of an AI solution and the distinct requirements of an organization.

With AI poised to add US$1 trillion to the ASEAN’s GDP, businesses will have to bolster AI skills training and initiatives, and equip the workforce with the skills and tools needed to maximize the full potential of AI at work.  

Joanne Wong, Vice President, International Markets, LogRhythm

Singapore’s early enthusiasm for AI has driven innovation across all sectors of the economy, and small business owners on the island will increasingly use it to facilitate growth. In fact, with more than two-thirds of the island’s entrepreneurs open to the benefits of AI, automating and streamlining time-consuming manual processes and delivering the right insights at the right time will become more prevalent as adoption expands in 2024.

Singapore’s leadership in building frameworks for tech implementation will continue to be underpinned by government initiatives that favour emerging technology and entrepreneurship, including the AI Verify Foundation, which is shaping the future of international AI standards through collaboration with the tech industry.

And, as more small businesses in Singapore implement solutions that use the latest AI technologies to streamline operations, the continued development and evolution of knowledge, tools, and policies will be needed to ensure that no small business owners are left behind. 

Koren Wines, Managing Director of Xero Asia