What business leaders are looking for in 2023


With the new year coming, it’s time to crank up the music, pop the Pommery Champagne and light a beautiful Myles Gray Candle of Manifestation. My Sonos Roam changed my life in 2022 by allowing me access everywhere to quality sound music, and even better, to podcasts. I used to just turn up the volume on my iPhone. 2023 is going to be my year of learning more about podcasts and finding a series that can help me to work better and live better. The Squiz Today is a great day-starter, and I love the interviews on Opto Sessions, while We Study Billionaires – The Investor’s Podcast always brings me something interesting. Let me know your best suggestions through the coming year at elise.shaw@forbes.com.au

Hear from the cultural luminaries and industry icons who are at the frontline of progress, harnessing their power to turn ideas into impact at the Forbes Australia Women’s Summit in March 2023. Book your ticket now.

What are some of our business leaders expecting in the next 12 months? Some of what they plan to focus on might surprise you. I was impressed by the diversity of their thoughts.

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has suggested the Top 5 cloud trends that will shape business in 2023. According to TCS Global Managing Partner of Cloud Strategy and Transformation, Parthiv Shah, 2023 will herald in a new era in how businesses engage with the cloud, underpinned by the following 5 trends:

·       Cloud will enter a new phase becoming a core pillar of business strategy

·       New data privacy regulations will push enterprises into sovereign cloud.

·       5G and edge computing will significantly accelerate business operations.

·       Enterprises will begin reaping the rewards from their industry-specific cloud investments.

·       The talent gap will widen as cloud technologies evolve and demand new digital skillsets.

The insights from TCS come as cloud adoption continues to increase, with Gartner forecasting global cloud services will grow over 20% to $591.8 billion in 2023, despite inflation and economic uncertainty putting pressure on corporate spending. The rapid pace of change has left many business leaders anxious and confused about their technology investments, but this new era demands better strategic planning and a long-term vision, according to Deepak Gadkar, Head of AWS Business Unit, TCS Australia & New Zealand 

“With more than 616,000 employees operating in the cloud, and almost all of our customers utilising TCS’ cloud services, what’s next for cloud is top of mind for TCS,” says Deepak. “Technological advancements are expanding and converging with each new day, so a clear focus on investing in the right cloud infrastructure is one of the most important decisions any enterprise will make in 2023. Business leaders need to understand that the cloud is now an essential business strategy – not just an IT solution.”

Krist Mansfield, CEO and cofounder, Seer Data:

“Team care” is high on my agenda for 2023.  Scaling a purpose-led technology company through uncertain times has been tough and, despite the challenges, 2022 was a breakthrough year for us. This has only been because of the dedication and loyalty of our team. Listening, supporting and being there for people was a priority of mine last year.

“In 2023, my priority is to embed our “come as you are” culture in policies and processes that support the health, wellbeing and unconditional acceptance and honouring of everyone in the team. The journey toward the outcome is what matters most when asking people to be leaders no matter what their job title is.”

Rachel Clements, Co-Founder, Centre for Corporate Health and Resilia: 

“The only constant over the last few years has been disruption and as workplaces continue to navigate the hybrid work environment, managing the mental health of leaders and their people is an organisational priority. As we approach 2023, we are focused on working with companies to fine tune their approach to employee wellbeing by ensuring it is being considered from an ESG strategic level to the practicalities of building supportive leadership capabilities, establishing a safety net of psychological support and effectively managing psychosocial risks.

“With changes in legislation and new legal precedence established in 2022, organisations are required to take their people’s mental health seriously and we are working closely with multiple organisations to ensure this happens – no longer a nice to have, employee wellbeing is now an essential part of any business.” 

Brigid Archibald, Managing Director Asia Pacific and Japan, Qualtrics: 

“Right now, companies need to focus on the essentials – finding and keeping customers, retaining key employees, bringing the right products to market, and mitigating risks that exist in the business. They cannot afford customer churn, unexpected employee departures, or costly compliance issues. But knowing how to do that can be difficult–especially with competing priorities and intense pressure. 

“Investing in experience management programs enabling the organisation to closely tune into the evolving needs of customers and employees, and then take swift, targeted action on what’s important to them, is therefore critical right now. The insights and capabilities of this approach enables leaders to respond to unexpected events, spot risks and unmet needs, prioritise investments, and deliver the right products and services – ultimately setting them up for success against competitors.  

“With 2023 impending, which will undoubtedly see the challenges of inflation and the race for talent continue, leaders need to consider how to approach experience management and strengthen their offering.  Afterall, when you deliver the experiences people seek, they reward you with both their business and their loyalty, regardless of the economic outlook ahead.” 

David Ramadge, Managing Director, eBay Australia: 

“I suspect 2023 will remain a tough economic cycle in Australia. Interest rate rises, those to date and any future ones, will finally start to bite as Aussies burn through their buffers and fixed rate mortgages shift to variable.

“In these cycles, consumers voraciously seek value and consumer-facing industries like e-commerce will need to oblige. Hopefully this will ease pressure on prices and if supply chain pressures also continue to ease, then I am very optimistic about 2023 … but we have a tough road across all industries to navigate before then.” 

Rose Herceg, President, WPP (Australia & New Zealand):

“2023 is already lining up to be a year of big-ticket issues. Macro-economic trends, China and the world, interest rates, inflation and the real-life supply chain headaches many Australian businesses will continue to face.  

“Each of these topics deserves an essay and I am sure many commentators will give you one. 

“The single issue I want to focus on is clarity of strategy. Good strategy is about sacrifice. What you leave out makes the difference. When you are ruthlessly articulate and have an extreme focus on what you are as a business, who your audience is and what your goal should be, you can run fast and make big decisions quickly that (usually) turn out to be right. 2023, for me, is the year of simplicity. After all, the best businesses have a simple story, an effortless business model and a clarity of strategy that is almost poetic.” 

Dan Bognar, Group Vice President & General Manager, Asia Pacific & Japan at DocuSign: 

“2022 is the year that cyber security went under the microscope in Australia. The ACSC received over 76,000 cybercrime reports in the 2021-2022 financial year, an increase of nearly 13 per cent from the previous financial year.   

“These ongoing assaults are unlikely to relent, and Australian companies can now face fines of up to $50 million for a data breach. So, the number one priority for Australian businesses next year should be getting their security in order. 

“The reality is that most companies take a top-down approach to security, prioritising things like firewalls and antivirus software. More attention must be paid to the people and processes that underpin these technology investments, whether it be through training employees on correct processes, or investing in accredited technology to ensure security of data.   

“Security of documentation is paramount. Organisations hold a huge amount of personal and private information in their agreements – from HR documentation to legal and procurement contracts – so it’s critical that this data remains secure. In 2023, companies of all sizes need to make sure they secure their digital assets end-to-end, starting with an embedded contract lifecycle management system. Their reputations could depend on it.” 

Aaron Bassin, CEO & co-founder, Brigit:

“There’s growing uncertainty in terms of the economic outlook. Interest rates are going up, property prices are going down, investor capital is shallowing. A challenge and big focus area for Bridgit will be making sure that businesses continue to follow strong economic foundations with enough capital runway to grow, retain and support good staff, provide the best support to our customers, and to come out of next calendar year stronger than ever.”

Paris Thomson, Creative Director and Founder, SIRAP:

“At SIRAP we predict the proliferation of Interactive video content, particularly being implemented across more commercial and e-commerce brands. Additionally we also predict a rise in businesses creating a web3 presence and integrating this into their customer journey and holistic brand strategy.”

Nicho Plowman, co-founder of meditation app Insight Timer and Vedic Meditation teacher

“Business owners are taking a good look at their approach to health and work life balance. As we have gone through a process of renewal, people are starting to focus on rejuvenation.

“Businesses are looking at how to re-establish connection amongst management teams and broader teams who have been disconnected, so investing in their staff, teams and people is top of mind for many. Trends such as offsite team experiences and staff perks to incentivise and inspire the team will be on the up next year, it’s going to be all about team, people and culture.”

Tristan Sternson, CEO of ARQ Group and co-lead of NCS NEXT:

“We will start to see a significant ramp up in robotics and automation into work sites and businesses. Soon, we will start considering robots as our colleagues, be it physical robots performing repetitive tasks at work to free people up for the more meaningful tasks or ones we don’t see – embedded in code and in processes we do to speed things up. Maybe you’ll have a robot take your vital signs at a hospital, deliver your food in a restaurant or welcome you at a retail outlet.

“We will also become more sustainable and aware of our impact on the planet and start putting more action in place. Investments in business and policy to make the world more sustainable will be one top of the agenda for all businesses in 2023.

“There will also be a return to focus on autonomous vehicles. Things have been quiet over the past couple of years, but as we move towards more focus on sustainability and robotics, this is a great collision of these technologies, albeit with some challenges, which we are sure to overcome at some point soon.”

Nicholas Ingate, founder of Sabbatical Travel

“Looking ahead to 2023, we are forecasting an increased investment by business leaders in their well-being, as well as their leadership skills and professional development. The ever-expanding “transformative health” economy is booming, and founders and CEOs will continue investing in
the space. Within that frame, “Transformational Travel” will become the norm. There is no need to risk burnout when steps can be taken to avoid mental and physical tolls while also improving business performance.”

Best wishes to all our readers for 2023.

Further reading

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