75% of Asia-Pacific businesses consider themselves disrupted by technology change: Baker McKenzie, ASEAN Business


A FULL three-quarters of Asia-Pacific-based business leaders surveyed describe themselves as being disrupted, rather than a disruptor, amid accelerating technological change, said Baker McKenzie in a report.

The law firm said these businesses, which were often launched before the advent of the Internet, are struggling to adapt and compete with new entrants born in the online era.

Thirty per cent of respondents admitted they are barely keeping pace with new technologies, while only 25 per cent said they are highly adept at exploiting the benefits of new technologies.

“Technology-driven disruption is affecting every industry, even those that previously assumed their sector to be immune,” said Adrian Lawrence, head of technology, media and telecoms (Asia-Pacific) at Baker McKenzie.

“Firms that are failing to appreciate that disruption requires a top-down, across-the-business response are falling behind and risk reaching a point where they will never catch up.”

The report noted a direct correlation between companies that describe themselves as highly adept at maximising technological benefits, and those describing their organisations as driving technology changes. One in four Asia-Pacific executives claims to be both.

Accelerating technological change is often accompanied by increasing risks.

Theft of sensitive information – such as trade secrets and internal communications – is the main technology-related concern among executives across Asia-Pacific (identified by 34 per cent of respondents).

To get ahead of the tech curve, Asia-Pacific companies said they will focus primarily on the capture and use of data – 68 per cent of business leaders identify big data as a key tech focus. This was followed by cloud computing, artificial intelligence and client relationship management systems.

Companies typically tap big data to provide data analytics on their customers, operational processes, among other uses.

While many businesses in Asia-Pacific claim to be keeping pace with technological changes in their industries, senior executives in these companies see most regional and global regulators as lagging behind, noted the report.

It found just 17 per cent of executives surveyed see regulators as ahead of the curve, while 46 per cent said regulators are well behind the curve.

The report understands from the overall sentiment that policymakers introducing laws that inadvertently – or quite intentionally – create roadblocks for innovation, rather than them falling behind the curve, is the real problem for Asia-Pacific businesses.

Singapore-based Stephanie Magnus, Baker McKenzie’s head of financial institutions, (Asia-Pacific), said: “The relentless pace of tech change necessarily requires companies to work closely with regulators and policymakers to ensure that firms are heard in the policymaking process and have a sense of where legislation is headed.”

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