January 25, 2023

4 min read

How APAC organizations plan for economic recovery in 2023

Mark Micallef

SVP and Managing Director, APAC

Weathering volatility over the last couple of years has taken a lot out of businesses. Asia Pacific is set to dominate global economic growth in 2023, which provides new impetus for businesses to shift mindsets and embrace transformations that are necessary to thrive.

In recent years, decision-making has been one of the biggest challenges facing leaders from resourcing and rising raw material costs to grappling with supply chain issues and talent shortages. According to Bain & Company research, the average return to shareholders of companies that excel at decision-making is more than four times higher than their peers.

It’s certainly true that success, mediocrity, or outright failure of a business comes from some of the toughest decisions leaders must make, but delays and problems can crop up and be exacerbated due to bottlenecks and data silos. For industries and businesses of any size, lagging on such decisions can cause a major loss of momentum and opportunities. So, what are APAC organizations doing about it?

Connected Planning is a boon to APAC enterprises and talent

At regional events with our customers and partners in Manila, Melbourne, and Jakarta, our APAC customers shared valuable insights about how they have transformed the decision-making processes in their organizations. The overarching sentiment was that when leaders can see the financial threads of their business and the interrelated impact from their own customers, supply chain, and workforce, they feel better equipped to make the right decisions.

Technology is a critical component of building a decision-making culture. As we have learned from our customers, in an inflationary environment, there are many reasons why APAC businesses have benefited from a single source of truth. At a fundamental level, better-informed insights from implementing a Connected Planning strategy has helped decision-makers accurately forecast and predict marketplace trends, understand cash flow, and uncover hidden opportunities.

One of Indonesia’s leading retail companies, PT Sumber Alfaria Trijaya, Tbk. (Alfamart), used Connected Planning to transform its financial planning and forecast systems. This helped the retail giant run their FP&A process by over 200 product categories and forecast down to the individual store level in real-time. By connecting data across its organizational functions, it improved management of its 17,000+ stores and 100,000+ staff in serving its over four million customers across the country.

Tomin Widian, Chief Financial Officer, PT Sumber Alfaria Trijaya, Tbk. said, “It’s integral for businesses to adopt a modern approach to financial planning, especially in today’s dynamic retail market, where we need to respond quickly to change. Anaplan empowers us to do so by connecting our people, data, and plans from across the organization so we can not only have a clear view of our business but also make the right decisions quickly.”

In another example, Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) in Australia uses Connected Planning to enable standard management processes across businesses. This allows for the business to plan in a much more holistic way by accurately forecasting potential scenarios, responding to real-time events, and planning for ever-changing conditions.

Asslam Umar Ali, Principal Performance Management at Fortescue Metals Group said, “The main benefits of using Connected Planning include the velocity of the reporting in real-time, reduction in error, increase in the accuracy of reporting, no latency in terms of the data being exported, and accessibility of the report during all stages of the planning cycle. This allows our team to make accurate decisions about the future of the business.”

Some scenarios shared by our customers were: tracking elements of the supply chain to determine how inflation had an impact; understanding real-time changes to refine talent strategy and close skills gaps in the areas most required; and getting insights into which products were selling faster to ensure that capital wasn’t tied up in stocks that didn’t move. 

An often-underrated core benefit of Connected Planning is the value it brings to upskilling the APAC workforce. From analyst to CFO, learning to apply a technology-enabled approach to business planning is a valuable skill that’s always in high demand and can be replicated in other jobs successfully.

Renewed optimism for APAC economy in 2023

Although it’s clear that there will be economic ambiguity ahead, APAC is still the place to be for growth. There are many possibilities that businesses in the region can leverage for success in the year ahead.

Fitch Ratings expects most APAC emerging market banking systems to report steady financial performance, the balance of the global economy is shifting from West to East, a secure energy supply compared to Europe, and a new survey has even found that APAC will be the only region to see real salary growth in 2023. Despite pursuing a “zero COVID” policy, analysts also expect that China will relax the severity of lockdown measures after three years of tight restrictions, to rebound in activity.

I’ve seen the trust our customers have in our global strategic partners, like Accenture, Deloitte, and AWS to orchestrate business performance and unlock innovation. Together, we position our customers solidly to be more proactive and deliver more predictable results for a stronger recovery ahead.

There is an expression that failing to plan is planning to fail. However, the ability to face headwinds and meet renewed opportunities in APAC with confidence is something I’m proud our customers can do in their Connected Planning journey, with smart, data-derived decisions.

This story is a follow-up to Mark Micallef’s prior article, What’s on the minds of the Asia Pacific C-Suite?

Media contact: