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Vodafone Business study finds APAC businesses anticipate radical changes needed in 2021 for future readiness

Key findings:

  • Almost half (48%) of businesses in APAC expect that 'substantial' or 'radical' changes will be required to their business models in the next 12 months
  • Nearly six in 10 (58%) of all businesses in APAC have accelerated digital transformation plans as a result of COVID-19
  • More than half (54%) across the region say they are excited about the future of their businesses ahead of 2021
  • More than a quarter (27%) of companies in the region have been identified as 'future ready' businesses (FRBs) which are best prepared for future success

SINGAPORE, Jan. 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Businesses in Asia-Pacific (APAC) expect continued disruption and transformation amid continued impact from COVID-19 through 2021, according to a new study from Vodafone Business. Almost half (48%) of businesses in APAC expect that 'substantial' or 'radical' changes will be required to their business models in the next 12 months, of which 43% expect that making these fundamental changes to their business will be difficult to implement. However, despite these challenges, there is an undercurrent of optimism across businesses in APAC -- more than half (54%) across the region say they are 'excited' about the future of their businesses ahead of 2021.

Launched today, the Vodafone Business Future Ready Report -- Asia Pacific gauges business sentiment across APAC ahead of the post-COVID-19 future, and identifies the attributes which are setting the most 'future ready' organisations in APAC apart. In total, the report identified that more than a quarter (27%) of companies in the region are 'future ready' businesses, best prepared for future success. They are identified by six common characteristics, namely:

  • Having a positive attitude to change
  • Being open to new technology
  • Taking clear steps towards business transformation
  • Setting a detailed strategy
  • Keeping up-to-date with relevant trends and uncertainties
  • Being adaptable

Taking on challenges of tomorrow with technology

Technology has emerged as a key lever for all businesses in APAC as they look to tackle the challenges of 2021 and beyond. Across the region, firms have responded to the pandemic by adding urgency to transformation plans, signalling a mindset shift about business success factors in a post-pandemic economy:

  • Nearly six in 10 (58%) of all businesses in APAC have accelerated digital transformation plans as a result of COVID-19.
  • This is even more pronounced among Future Ready businesses in APAC, with nearly three in four (74%) having done so.
  • Factors that accelerated digital transformation for APAC Future Ready businesses include increase in support among senior management (53%), initiatives to unlock efficiencies / new revenue streams (52%), and the adoption of an 'innovate or die' mindset within companies (46%).

Dan Beevers, President, Asia Pacific, Vodafone Business, said: "In a time of lockdowns and social distancing, the human connection -- powered by technology -- has become even more central to business success. This, in combination with the resilience, optimism and never-say-die spirit in Asia Pacific puts businesses in good stead, whatever the future may bring."

Investing in transformation for the long run

APAC Future Ready businesses are already seeing some positive benefits of post COVID-19 business transformation as we move into 2021. These benefits are not limited to pandemic-specific outcomes, and are likely to drive business success in the long term, such as:

  • Enhanced cyber security (55%)
  • More innovation/ research and development (50%)
  • Improved communication/collaboration among staff (49%)

"Future Ready businesses are already reaping the benefits of their efforts, with some even bucking the global downturn to increase profits during this time. This report provides a clear roadmap for how other businesses in the region can -- and should -- set themselves up for success in the post-pandemic economy by focusing on the imperatives such as setting a detailed strategy, taking clear steps towards business transformation, and increasing adaptability," added Beevers.

About the Vodafone Business Future Ready Report -- Asia Pacific

Vodafone Business surveyed more than a thousand businesses across Asia Pacific (Australia, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, China and India) in September / October 2020, collecting around 100,000 different data points, and found a consistent set of characteristics that identified a group of "future ready businesses". These are the companies most confident and well-prepared for emerging trends, challenges, and possibilities.

For more information, download the report here.

About Vodafone

Vodafone is a leading telecommunications company in Europe and Africa. Our purpose is to "connect for a better future" and our expertise and scale gives us a unique opportunity to drive positive change for society. Our networks keep family, friends, businesses and governments connected and -- as COVID-19 has clearly demonstrated -- we play a vital role in keeping economies running and the functioning of critical sectors like education and healthcare. 

Vodafone is the largest mobile and fixed network operator in Europe and a leading global IoT connectivity provider. Our M-Pesa technology platform in Africa enables over 45m people to benefit from access to mobile payments and financial services. We operate mobile and fixed networks in 21 countries and partner with mobile networks in 48 more. As of 30 September 2020 we had over 300m mobile customers, more than 27m fixed broadband customers, over 22m TV customers and we connected more than 112m IoT devices. 

We support diversity and inclusion through our maternity and parental leave policies, empowering women through connectivity and improving access to education and digital skills for women, girls, and society at large. We are respectful of all individuals, irrespective of race, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, belief, culture or religion.

Vodafone is also taking significant steps to reduce our impact on our planet by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2025, purchasing 100% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2025, and reusing, reselling or recycling 100% of our redundant network equipment.

For more information, please visit www.vodafone.com, follow us on Twitter at @VodafoneGroup or connect with us on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/vodafone.

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