Amplitude CEO on why APAC is ideal for digital innovation

Spenser Skates, Chief Executive Officer, Amplitude. Image courtesy of Amplitude.

Singapore saw a 43.26% rise in digital product usage in 2022. As people increasingly rely on apps to do their shopping, connect with other people, and manage their finances, expectations are high for these tools to seamlessly integrate into users’ lives.

What then can businesses do to ensure the longevity of their digital products? How can such technologies enhance the overall user experience to attract and retain customers?

To gain better insight on digital product success in Asia-Pacific, Frontier Enterprise spoke to Spenser Skates, CEO of digital analytics software firm Amplitude, on the heels of their annual Product Report, particularly the 2022 list of the 10 Next Hottest Products in the region.

According to the Chief Executive, APAC’s growth in digital product usage has been observed in a number of areas, including SaaS, fintech, e-commerce, B2B, and B2C software.

“These are the products that are making crypto and personal finance more accessible, creating space for virtual gatherings, and democratising gaming. While their industries vary, these companies driving this growth have one common theme: a fine-grained understanding of what makes an incredible customer experience,” he said.

All eyes on finance

Of the ten next “hottest” products in APAC that Amplitude has listed, four of them belong to the fintech industry: China’s OKCoin, India’s Slice, and Australia’s Wagetap and WeMoney.

As per Skates, businesses and consumers are paying more attention to all things finance, as a result of continuing global economic uncertainty.

“The fintech industry, in particular, has seen incredible growth in APAC over the past couple of years. We can tie this growth back to the digital transformation boom that happened during the pandemic. During that period, we saw virtually everything go online. Naturally, the way people managed their finances followed suit,” he said.

Over the previous year, the fintech sector saw a 22% year-on-year increase in global users, Amplitude’s research revealed.

“We believe APAC’s rapid digital transformation will continue to fuel fintech growth, and consumers are taking note. The message is clear: Businesses need to put customers at the forefront of their products, and this means delivering great digital experiences that keep them coming back,” Skates continued.

Survival methods

Having surveyed product and growth leaders to gauge their digital priorities, Amplitude found out that customer retention is their top area of investment, with 58% worried about an increase in customer churn.

“As today’s economic environment is forcing every company to prioritise lean, sustainable growth, our survey found that businesses are doubling down on product-led growth. When there is less to invest with, invest in product. Investments in product compound over time, while short-term fixes like marketing campaigns do not,” Skates said.

Companies, he added, should take this time to make forward-learning investments in their product because it is what builds long-term durability and differentiation in your business.

In terms of SaaS, the CEO remained confident that the market will continue to grow, citing SaaS website usage figures from 2020. Between January and April that year, SaaS website usage jumped by 103%.

For that reason, predictions of a SaaS collapse may not exactly materialise, at least in the short-term, he remarked.

“While many parts of the world are nostalgic for a tech-free past, APAC is always looking ahead. Consumers are excited to see what’s new. They’re eager to embrace new technologies. And they understand how digital experiences can level the playing field, whether that’s education, financial access, or food delivery. This mindset creates the ideal culture for innovation. And we expect to see SaaS product usage continue to grow,” Skates said.

Bright future

Given the current trends in the app space, it’s no secret that digital products that create immersive, meaningful experiences for users will be the ones leading the pack in the years ahead.

“We’re already seeing these experiences being created with the help of various aspects of AI, such as natural language processing (NLP). NLP bots are deployed 24/7 to moderate stream chats, conduct sentiment analysis, and churn speech to text for closed captions, all with the end goal of adding to an immersive, realistic, and positive user experience,” the Amplitude CEO said.

With enterprises ramping up investments in AI and IT infrastructure, novel solutions are expected to come out soon.

“These could take the form of everything, from more intelligent and intuitive automated data analysis capabilities, to more agile digital work solutions that can readily meet the needs of our new hybrid work culture,” Skates predicted.

Over at Amplitude’s labs, data continues to drive innovation, not only in terms of product development, but also in day-to-day operations.

“We are focused on ensuring that all teams — regardless of technical capabilities — have self-serve access to data. Today, the greatest challenge for data leaders is not collecting data but rather getting that data into the hands of your team,” the Chief Executive said.

Ideally, everyone wants access to product data, but the maturity of execution is often way behind, Skates noted.

“We’re making investments to ensure that every company is able to collect trusted data, analyse it at scale, and make faster, smarter decisions,” he concluded.