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Few APAC firms will benefit from AI due to doubt and data management

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Artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to garner business interest over the next year, but few organizations in Asia-Pacific will be able to reap its full benefits due to their aversion to risk and subpar data management capabilities. 

Just 30% have the IT practices that are needed to harness the benefits of AI, including greater operational resilience, richer customer experience, and business model innovation. Others will be held back by a risk-averse culture and inadequate data management capabilities, according to Forrester’s 2024 predictions. 

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“While many Asia-Pacific firms see generative AI as a tool to boost efficiency, many will encounter obstacles in the form of an overly cautious work culture and gaps in data management capabilities,” Frederic Giron, Forrester’s vice president and senior research director, wrote in a blog post

“Companies with more advanced IT practices, which make up about 30% of firms in the region, seem better prepared to make the most of the tech and are focused on using generative AI to evolve their business models,” Giron noted. “But it’s essential to note that this evolution will be more of a gradual multiyear process than an overnight success story in Asia-Pacific.”

He pointed to two other key forecasts for the region, where a fourth of multinational corporations will adopt customer trust as a priority. Just 5%, though, are expected to have established tangible metrics to measure and uphold this trust. 

While fundamental to business, public trust currently is on a decline, he added. 

Forrester noted that companies in the region will struggle to operationalize customer trust, with few taking such efforts seriously and working to integrate it into their corporate culture. 

By the end of 2024, the research firm projects 25% of large enterprises in Asia-Pacific will advocate their commitment to earning customer trust. 

“The real challenge, however, lies in putting these words into measurable actions,” Giron said.

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In spite of this, customer experience is expected to improve with the adoption of generative AI in the backend, with customer service agents gaining the ability to respond to questions faster and better. Issues will be resolved on first contact, resulting in customers feeling heard, according to Forrester. 

The firm predicted that agencies will invest in custom AI applications on behalf of organizations, with the top 10 advertising agencies collectively spending $50 million next year in partnerships to build such applications. These AI tools will allow their clients to scale customized marketing campaigns, Forrester said. 

Business AI initiatives also will lead to a 50% improvement in productivity and problem-solving, where generative AI is expected to enhance productivity across all IT roles, including developers. Investments in the technology across the organization will further boost employees’ problem-solving time by up to 50%. 

Enterprise adoption of prompt engineering services, however, will be limited. Amid cloud hyperscalers’ efforts to introduce either previews or general availability of such services, 80% of businesses will add prompt engineering talent internally to drive model grounding and value. 

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With regulators working on potential generative AI policies, Forrester recommends organizations identify applications that may add to their risk exposure and invest in third-party risk management tools. 

“In 2024, Asia-Pacific is bracing itself for a year of exploration and potential growth, with generative AI at the center of it all,” said Giron. “The promise and potential of generative AI, combined with a new wave of technological innovations, will inspire more Asia-Pacific tech and business leaders to follow in the footsteps of early trailblazers and fuse the power of AI with their transformation efforts to drive business outcomes.” 

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