With new emerging technology constantly transforming the business landscape and challenging industry norms, we seek to recognize technology teams with an innovative future fit technology strategy that drives growth and helps them stay ahead of their peers. The winner and finalists for the 2023 Technology Strategy Impact Awards in APAC have executed best practices and harnessed technology to enable their organization to reconfigure business structures and processes to meet future stakeholder needs, all while staying resilient and focused on customer obsession.
Congratulations to Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, this year’s winner, and the three finalists: AIA Group, Macquarie’s Banking and Financial Services Group, and United Overseas Bank.
Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories: Accelerating The Pharma Industry With A Future Fit Tech Strategy
Headquartered in Hyderabad, India, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories is a $3 billion global pharmaceutical company. As a cloud-first company, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories utilizes technology to outmaneuver traditional challenges in the industry and stay ahead. After the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories focused on adapting its strategy around global trends of new work models and the blend of physical and digital interactions between patients and healthcare providers. With a clear alignment between the technology strategy and the overall business strategy, the business and technology teams share a common North Star. Through this, the organization places people first and charts its digital business transformation journey around the customer experience. Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories explained the key tenets of the future fit technology strategy that underpins this success:
- A technology strategy that drives business value. In aligning tech initiatives tightly with business strategy, Dr. Reddy’s has crafted a governance model that is both agile and outcomes-focused. Resource allocations are meticulously planned based on quantifiable impact. The organizational structure fosters a symbiotic relationship between tech and business teams, measured by both output (e.g., platform user numbers) and outcome metrics (e.g., cost per reach, ROMI). Operating as a product organization, the cross-functional squads focus on a common North Star metric, dissected into key components: platform health, time to market, user adoption, and, ultimately, business value. This ensures that technology is not just an enabler but a strategic driver of tangible business benefits.
- A human-centric approach. Serving a broad spectrum of customers — from hospitals and B2B players to doctors and patients — Dr. Reddy’s excels in creating a customer-first technology ecosystem. Its six-layered tech stack enhances touchpoints and delivers personalized, pull-based engagement across the board. Backed by a specialized team focused on human-centered research and user experience design, it marries data-driven analytics with design thinking. The result is a transformative customer experience that not only prioritizes transactional efficiency but also harnesses the power of network effects.
- Continuous development of its people. Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories stands out for its thoughtful approach to workforce development, central to its “Certified to Build/Operate” model. The company not only invests in technical proficiency through role-specific certifications but also fosters a culture of continuous learning. Programs like Digital Ninja and DnA Champs are more than just upskilling initiatives; they’re aimed at creating a diverse, adaptive workforce ready for industry 4.0 challenges. The emphasis on design thinking and user centricity also speaks to a broader educational approach, ensuring that employees aren’t just technically skilled but also attuned to customer needs.
- A platform business model. Dr. Reddy’s has reimagined its entire business model through a platform-centric lens. This transformation breaks down traditional silos, leveraging modular, reusable process blocks to accelerate transactions across the value chain. Platforms like Nucleus and MedEngage showcase the company’s commitment to cross-functional collaboration and user engagement, all backed by strong tech foundations and measured through key KPIs. This platform strategy not only enhances internal efficiencies but also offers dedicated engagement channels for various stakeholders, from sales reps to doctors and end consumers.
To hear more about the strategies of Dr. Reddy’s, be sure to attend Forrester’s Technology & Innovation APAC Forum, October 31 and November 1 in Sydney, Australia. Presenters from Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories will be sharing more about the company’s technology strategy in a keynote session.
AIA Group: Helping People Live Healthier, Better Lives With A Future Fit Technology Strategy
AIA Group is the largest publicly listed life insurance group in Asia Pacific, with a presence in 18 Asian markets. Technology, digital, and analytics (TDA) lie at the center of the AIA Group corporate strategy, with the goal of transforming its digital infrastructure, enhancing stakeholder digital journeys, and growing the analytics-powered data platforms. The transformation journey has enabled AIA to create a seamless, omnichannel experience across different platforms tailored to each market. AIA Group can deliver innovative, personalized solutions for customers with cloud-native technology, achieving new levels of efficiency and speed in all 18 markets. Here’s a closer look at the transformative pillars of its strategy:
- Focus on stakeholder value. AIA’s technology strategy has had a tangible impact across key areas of its business. Customer satisfaction is high, demonstrated by a strong Net Promoter Score℠ (NPS) in nine different units. Employee development programs have produced more than 400 skilled graduates. Meanwhile, on the distribution side, advanced digital tools have contributed to generating over $280 million in new annual premiums.
- Insights-driven alignment. AIA Group is guided and aligned to 23 TDA metrics, from each country’s CEO to the delivery and operation teams. Real-time data availability, enriched data quality for front-end applications, and organizationwide adoption of data analytics stand as testaments to AIA’s insights-driven business. As of April 2023, it boasts an impressive 80% in customer data richness and 84% in data availability groupwide. With data usage at 81% and data quality at 74%, its comprehensive approach to data management drives both operational efficiency and business growth.
- Connected ecosystems. AIA launched a digital platform called Graphene, enabling AIA to connect with new customers and digital-native partners such as Gojek and Shopee to better connect and build long-term relationships. In 2022, 15 new partners joined the platform and more than 1 million customers were acquired, most of which were new to AIA. Results are significant, with 379 million users across 20 partners, 1.7 million digital leads generated, and over 483,000 digital policies sold.
- Emphasis on nurturing the right skills. AIA Group places a strong emphasis on continuous training, with the Organisation of the Future (OOTF) framework targeted toward improving employee experience. AIA has invested in reskilling and upskilling opportunities, with multiple internal academies. For instance, the AIA Cloud Academy helps build core tech capabilities for the teams at AIA, empowering them to integrate these new skills into their individual projects. AIA Digital+ was also launched to attract and nurture top TDA tech talent across Asia.
Macquarie’s Banking And Financial Services Group: Leading As A Future Fit, Technology-First Digital Bank
Macquarie’s Banking and Financial Services Group is the retail banking and wealth management business of Macquarie Group Limited, serving approximately 1.8 million customers in Australia. A major shift in the journey of Macquarie’s retail bank began 10 years ago when it had to build its tech stack from the ground up and focused on cloud technology. In 2023, inspired by global digital leaders, Macquarie’s Banking and Financial Services Group launched its D3E division, focusing on the core pillars of digital, design, data, and engineering. These pillars enable Macquarie’s Banking and Financial Services Group to leverage data-driven insights in charting its path ahead. Its future fit technology strategy focuses on:
- Business and customer value. Macquarie’s Banking and Financial Services Group demonstrates the tangible impact of technology on business success. By rebuilding its technology stack and migrating core banking to the public cloud, it has seen a 20% uptick in critical performance metrics like end-of-day batch processing. This approach has also given it the flexibility to continuously optimize and innovate. One result is a streamlined customer experience — new accounts can be opened in as little as a minute, and with high NPS scores and substantial growth in market share, Macquarie exemplifies how strategic tech investments can drive sustainable growth.
- Modern technology platforms. Macquarie’s Banking and Financial Services Group exemplifies a forward-thinking approach to banking operations through its comprehensive platform strategy. Aligning its specialized platforms — ranging from entitlements to payments to data — with key business capabilities, it has minimized inter-team dependencies and turbocharged its technology ecosystem’s velocity and reliability. These platforms are strongly aligned with the overall business strategy and stay focused on building business value with a clear roadmap. Its OKR-driven planning ensures that both business and technology objectives are in sync.
- A high-performance operating model. By pivoting from enterprise agile to a platform operating model, every platform is empowered to make its own decisions. Under D3E, Macquarie’s retail bank has continued to invest in building technological capabilities that are enabling it to reduce lead time in product and service delivery and to focus on velocity, reliability, and scalability. Anchored by design thinking, it builds compelling, data-driven digital experiences tailored to customer needs. In an industry where customers demand tech platforms to be ever-reliable and instantly available, Macquarie aims not just for speed but for unmatched reliability, scalability, and satisfying customer experience.
- A customer-focused culture. Through various initiatives dedicated toward employee well-being and a flexible work environment, Macquarie’s Banking and Financial Services Group is committed to delivering an inclusive, innovative work environment and has achieved excellent employee engagement scores. Through a strong understanding of the core drivers of talent engagement, Macquarie’s engineering teams, for example, are empowered to understand the needs of their clients and develop solutions to meet those needs. They are equipped with market-leading technology tools such as fully integrated MacBooks and communication channels such as Slack to drive engineering collaboration and engagement and are also developing on the latest cloud-based platforms, all with a focus on delivering the best experiences for customers.
United Overseas Bank: A Future Fit Technology Strategy To Drive Productivity And Quality Using Data Insights
United Overseas Bank (UOB) is a multinational banking corporation headquartered in Singapore, with a network of approximately 500 branches worldwide. The technology strategy at UOB is closely aligned with its overall strategic focuses of connectivity, personalization, and sustainability, embedding capabilities that can drive steady growth in these areas and success for the organization. UOB is accelerating its strategy by using data-driven insights in its decision-making processes and an agile cloud infrastructure to respond rapidly to market and consumer trends. Here are some of the key dimensions of UOB’s future fit tech strategy:
- Balancing efficiency and effectiveness. UOB focuses keenly on metrics that bridge technology and business impact. It has improved its cost-to-income ratio to a noteworthy 43.3% in 2022, reflecting disciplined spending and operational efficiency. This fiscal prudence is matched by a surge in customer engagement, as evidenced by a 40% year-on-year (YoY) increase in feature usage and a 25% boost in NPS. It invests strategically in aligning technology planning with business goals, driving topline growth and market expansion. Since 2017, UOB has experienced an average NPS increase by 30% YoY.
- Driving the business with trusted insights. UOB’s data architecture program, in place since 2017, serves as a bedrock for its future fit technology strategy. With large amounts of data being collected across different touchpoints throughout the organization, UOB has consolidated approximately two petabytes of data into an accessible, centralized platform. For instance, retail and business banking customers can benefit from data services through access to real-time analytics based on their cash positions. The adoption of self-service analytics encourages data-driven decision-making across the organization. Continuous monitoring, robust data governance, and stringent privacy compliance measures add layers of trust and effectiveness to analytical ventures.
- Embracing adaptive practices. With a S$500 million investment dedicated to reinventing digital capabilities, delivery, and runtime practices, UOB is committed to adaptive practices that fuel growth and efficiency. Its embrace of agile methodologies such as scrum and kanban allows for rapid value delivery and enhanced market competitiveness. Coupled with a flexible, cloud-native architecture, these methods make it easier to meet evolving market and customer demands. By adopting DevOps principles, the company has streamlined collaboration and boosted the speed of product releases. Value stream mapping is another cornerstone, optimizing workflows to adapt to ever-changing efficiency and productivity goals using standard service delivery management practices.
- Forming partnerships for technology and business success. Through a blend of value-creating partnerships, strategic joint ventures, and co-creation, UOB taps into new markets and elevates customer experiences. Its platform strategy is noteworthy, leveraging third-party APIs and technologies to enhance its own offerings and building an integrated ecosystem that drives loyalty and retention. By actively engaging in resource augmentation, it also accelerates project delivery while scaling operations efficiently.
Congratulations to all of these firms. To learn more about how you can build a future fit technology strategy, be sure to attend Forrester’s Technology & Innovation APAC Forum, October 31 and November 1 in Sydney, Australia. Presenters from Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories will be sharing more about their technology strategy, and the agenda has a variety of other sessions on technology strategy best practices. We hope that you will be able to join us.