By Cally Chan, General Manager of Microsoft Hong Kong and Macau
As challenging as 2022 has been, I was delighted to connect with many old friends in June when we celebrated our 30 years in Hong Kong. We convened the Hong Kong Management Association to recognize 14 local enterprises that have successfully integrated technology into their business operations to achieve continuity and positively impact Hong Kong. Congratulations again to all award winners! As we enter our fourth decade in Hong Kong, we see three areas that will be central to the territory’s continued development and success as a technology hub, all of which are key considerations for CEOs: hybrid work, sustainability, and the cloud-enabled metaverse.
Top of mind for business leaders driving digitalization
The pandemic made the concept of remote work mainstream and has shaped a preference for flexible working among employees. Hybrid work is now part of our collective workplace culture. Employers must find ways to offer flexibility if they want to compete for the best talent. Technology-empowered business has connected employees to collaborate from a distance. For example, giving accounts payable the ability to manage invoices without being physically in the office, introducing a new way of internal communications to engage employees, and so forth. We need to accept that hybrid work is here to stay. Business leaders now need to think about technology that is fast to deploy, easy to use, and effective. At Microsoft, we are helping them advance in this direction by taking the complexity out of licensing and knowledge management and providing the tools and platforms to collaborate seamlessly and securely.
Sustainability is a fast-rising concern in Hong Kong. Customers are increasingly conscious of the importance of sustainable business practices and demand products and services that fit with their ethos. Regulators are also stepping up their efforts in pushing forward the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) agenda. Within Hong Kong’s digitalization, a robust ESG strategy must always be a priority and companies need to get serious about ESG data.
When it comes to data, ESG reporting poses challenges because sustainability is hard to quantify. In addition, ESG data that does exist is often siloed across different business units. Technology can consolidate siloed data into one platform to inform decision-making on ESG action. At Microsoft, we aim to build a better world and work closely with our customers and partners on reducing carbon footprints through technology-based sustainability solutions. For example, Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability offers a set of comprehensive, integrated, and automated insights for organizations to measure (Record), understand and take charge of their carbon emissions (Report), set sustainability goals, and take measurable action (Reduce). It also provides recommendations based on data and AI to help cut emissions and bridge compliance gaps.
The metaverse represents the next wave of the internet according to Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. It offers a new way to empower employees, optimize operations, transform products, and better engage customers. From a social perspective, the development of more immersive virtual experiences will empower people to build communities based on shared values, and to express themselves in more authentic ways. The metaverse will take us to a new level, allowing us to engage with digital content in 3D and ushering us into Web 3.0. We expect this to give way to new mediums and applications. Two related Microsoft products recently announced – Mesh for Teams and Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces – both have the potential to help businesses improve productivity and operational efficiency. As we develop for a metaverse-powered future, we will never lose sight of the importance of building an open platform that puts identity, privacy, and trust at its core.
Cloud capabilities point the way forward
Moving into a new digital era in Hong Kong, we see the transformative power of cloud technology as key to the market’s continued success as a technology hub. The cloud has a clear and continuing role to play in enabling both organizational transformation and the growth of startups. As a technology enabler, Microsoft will continue to be an enthusiastic supporter of Hong Kong’s progress and stands by to champion the growth of innovation in both public and private sectors for the next decade and beyond.