Most APAC firms keen on gen AI, but risk aversion holds back adoption

Most firms in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region see generative AI as a lever for productivity improvement, but their real stumbling block is a risk-averse culture and inadequate data management capabilities, according Forrester’s predictions for 2024.

Forrester said in its report that just 30% of firms that have more mature IT practices are strategically positioned to harness AI’s benefits, including enhanced productivity, greater operational resilience, superior customer experience, and business model innovation.

The research and advisory company’s predictions analyse the dynamics and trends across different topics and industries, including technology and innovation; B2B marketing, sales, and product; AI and automation; and customer experience (CX). 

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

Also, agencies will invest in custom AI solutions for enterprise clients. In 2024, the top 10 advertising agencies will spend a combined $50 million in partnerships to build custom AI solutions that enable their clients to scale personalised marketing campaigns and brand experiences.

Enterprise AI initiatives will boost productivity and creative problem-solving by half in the year ahead. Generative AI is poised to increase productivity across all IT roles, not just among developers. 

Additionally, business, technology, and marketing leaders’ investment in generative AI in the year ahead will augment employees’ creative problem-solving time by up to half — driving customer-centric innovation and creating greater business value.

APAC firms will struggle to operationalise customer trust. Doing right by customers earns their trust and loyalty, but not many firms have taken this effort seriously and imbued it within their corporate culture. 

By the end of 2024, 25% of APAC’s largest companies will profess their strategic commitment to customer trust, but only 5% will effectively codify that commitment through measurement and organizational KPIs.

Further, clouds will launch prompt engineering services — to no avail. Cloud hyperscalers will announce either a preview or the general availability of prompt engineering, the process of structuring text so that it can be understood by a generative AI model. 

However, enterprise adoption will be limited as 80% of enterprises will add prompt engineering talent internally to drive model grounding and value delivery.

Regulators will have generative AI in their sights. An app using ChatGPT will be fined for how it handles personally identifiable information. Companies will need to identify apps that increase their risk exposure while also increasing investments in third-party risk management.

Finally, 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.

“In 2024, APAC is bracing itself for a year of exploration and potential growth, with gen AI at the centre of it all,” said Frederic Giron, VP and senior research director at Forrester. 

“The promise and potential of gen AI, combined with a new wave of technological innovations, will inspire more APAC 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,” said Giron.