What technology trends are driving big changes for business managers in the next two, three, or even five years? There are many examples to illustrate how quickly technology has changed our lives at work and home, especially in the past few decades. Who remembers floppy and DVD drives? Barely a decade ago, CDs were the music format of choice whereas today, nine in ten tracks are heard via digital formats. There’s more computing power in a household washing machine than the guidance system for NASA’s Apollo 11 spacecraft. And until recently, a ‘drone’ was what we called that guy who gave a boring wedding speech!
Technology has arguably had the biggest impact of all in the workplace. How can we position ourselves to embrace change, and work out ways to implement it for success?
Let’s look at the next big technology trends for business managers:
Intelligence … augmented and artificial
In basic terms, augmented software assists businesses to make smart decisions based on data. For example, an online retailers’ records may show that if a specific customer has proven to be so loyal over a long period, they may be presented a price that is slightly more for a product than a ‘one-off’ shopper. Augmented intelligence can be programmed to ‘offer’ a slightly higher price for an item, knowing the loyal shopper is more likely to agree.
Artificial intelligence takes things a step further and is quickly infiltrating the mainstream. A good example of artificial intelligence would be the automated delivery truck programmed to drive from point A to B, with no driver in sight. Any ‘machine’ which takes the place of a human is a part of the artificial intelligence wave.
Customers are king, and they want more things faster
Customer focus has always been front-and-center of any successful business. However, the rules are changing, and fast. In future, customers will have several options of where and how they interact with businesses. They’re engaging and purchasing on a micro-level via platforms that didn’t exist a decade ago, such as Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat. Companies which can accumulate, assess and distribute customer data will be the pacesetters of the future.
Customers’ tastes are changing and driving change
Any long-standing business owner has lived through several ‘game-changing’ developments within their chosen industry. In the past, new developments were largely driven by the businesses growth plans or by changing industry standards. These days, it’s the buyers, not the sellers, who are calling the shots and what they want is a genuine ‘experience’. Therefore, spending on items such as entertainment, dining out, and overseas holidays is exceeding all previous metrics.
Customers demand consistently good, quality products, but that alone won’t buy loyalty. What they want is to deal with a business which shares their values, and even supports the same social values as they do. Research has consistently proven that customers will spend more with businesses that they feel aligned and connected with.
Nobody treads water in business
In today’s business world, the pace of change is increasing rapidly. There will always be those who won’t change their ways of dealing with customers, and those who will struggle to change fast enough. Many businesses will be tempted to think that what’s worked in the past will continue to do so in the future. The smart business manager knows that working harder to avoid failure is not an option. The workplace of the future is one where well-educated people will still make the final decisions, but they will be expertly informed by technology about what their customers want.
Smart businesses will embrace change driven by technology trends, and by doing so will ensure they keep ahead of competitors. A great starting point for a business committed to success would be to equip business managers with a respected online Diploma of Business (Leadership) (BSB50120) qualification.