Hailed as the world’s leading business strategist, award-winning professional speaker Scott Steinberg is among today’s best-known trends experts and futurists, and the bestselling author of “Fast >> Forward: How to Turbo-Charge Business, Career, and Sales Growth”; “Make Change Work for You: 10 Ways to Future-Proof Yourself, Fearlessly Innovate, and Succeed Despite Uncertainty” and “Millennial Marketing: Bridging the Generation Gap”. He is also the president and CEO of BIZDEV: The International Association for Business Development and Strategic Partnerships. His website is AKeynoteSpeaker.com
From cutting-edge online payment solutions to smartphones as powerful as PCs and cloud-based work productivity tools that let your desktop travel wherever you go, technology now makes it possible to do business anytime, anywhere. Likewise, with businesses of every size set to spend more on digital transformation than ever before, it’s clear that more organizations are also turning to these high-tech tools as a way to future proof their enterprise. Happily for modern executives wondering exactly how technology will change business in the future, it’s not hard to get a sense of where the virtual world is headed, and how you can stay ahead of the curve. Here, we take a closer look at five major shifts in business that technology is set to usher in within the coming years, and how these sea changes can help you future proof your organization and take work productivity, and performance, to the next level.
AI, Analytics and Predictive Insights
Never mind the Internet of Things. Welcome to the Internet of Everything. With millions of devices now connected and talking to one another, research firm IDC suggests that more than 463 exabytes of data will be generated daily worldwide by the year 2025 — the equivalent of hundreds of millions of DVDs. That’s a massive amount of work productivity tools and information that business leaders can tap into to find out details on customer preferences and purchasing habits. Likewise, it’s an incredible volume of data that they can be scanning to better assess risks, determine where to place strategic bets, and leverage to create uniquely customized products, services, and solutions that better speak to individuals or target audiences. Paired with cutting-edge analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) tools, not only can your business use these advances to find a wealth of ways to better collect, manage and leverage data that can help you make smarter decisions, you can also use these futuristic advancements to target ads and offers to viewers at the times they’re most receptive to them, and even predict what tomorrow’s shopper wants before they know themselves.
Virtualized and Mobile Workforce Management
With more than 2.5 billion smartphones now in circulation worldwide, online shopping having overtaken retail spending, and 63% of companies now using remote workers, even as global competition continues to skyrocket, the writing is on the wall. Mobile, remote, and virtualized workplace and market environments are the future of business. Luckily for modern organizations, a huge range of high-tech work productivity tools and communications solutions offer simple, cost-effective ways to help you empower, and field, a virtual or remote workforce of any size. From videoconferencing solutions to apps for scanning, and sharing documents and invoices, the best productivity tools for work will soon go far beyond cloud storage solutions. Just a few sample signs of how technology will change business in the future include artificially intelligent drones that can be used to perform remote site inspections; interactive 3D training simulations that distantly located colleagues can interact within in real-time; and robotic arms that surgeons can manipulate from miles away. Similarly, stores that let you pay for goods just by picking up an item and fleets of driverless transport trucks also hint at the many ways technology can help you transform business operations. In short, high-tech solutions provide all the tools you and your teams need to connect, communicate and do business 24/7/365 in tomorrow’s world — and compete on a global scale.
These days, it’s all but given you’ll be working with a growing array of partners, customers and vendors all around the world. That means having to process transactions virtually anytime, anywhere, and in a growing range of currencies, with digital payments skyrocketing in popularity, and set to top $168.65 billion in transactions by 2026. Luckily, a variety of online payment processing solutions and automatic billing options can help you improve relationships with those with whom you work, and streamline operations across the board. Similarly, with credit card use at an all-time high, and high-tech advancements in finance growing, you can only expect to see these payment solutions becoming smarter. In coming years, they’ll be able to enable wireless payments, process peer-to-peer transfers and transactions (so you can split bills with friends), and function as all-purpose digital wallets — modes of functionality for which your business would do well to plan. Likewise, for those organizations hoping to future proof themselves, it’s worth noting that many firms are also now using high-tech payment solutions to save billions on fraud. For example, today’s artificially-intelligent voice-monitoring tools can now be used to analyze shoppers’ speech and mannerisms, and verify their identity when they call customer support lines for help. Some are even smart enough to identify imposters and immediately report them to authorities, helping provide significant savings and avoid lost work productivity.
VR and AR
With 73 million people and counting, millennials (born 1981-1996) have now surpassed baby boomers as the single-largest generation in the workforce, and Generation Z (which follows) is expected to surpass them in size soon after. However, both prefer interactive exercises, lifelike simulations, and hands-on training over traditional instructional courses and career development programs. Luckily, high-tech and highly-interactive work productivity tools such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and 360-degree video solutions provide more engaging ways to train tomorrow’s leaders. These solutions give you the ability to let workers go hands-on with new tools, strategies, scenarios and solutions to see how they work, and how the results of their actions and decisions play out in real time. Rather than describe scenarios in a hypothetical sense, such high-tech training options allow organizations to simulate environments and scenarios in realistic detail, and — depending how interactive they’d like to get — actually give applicants a chance to go hands-on and see how they fare in different contexts. It’s the next leap forward in training from gamification: In essence, you can try on the shoes of virtually any career role and see how you fare, even in the most complex and demanding of tasks or environments — and it helps trainees boost learning and recall. Retailers are leveraging these tools to help customer service pros learn to deal with demanding situations, including irate shoppers and high-traffic sales days; educational institutes and health-care companies are using it to train surgeons or medical students, offering them a working glimpse into the human anatomy; and hospitality, incentive, and destination marketing companies are using it to help workers take virtual tours of hotels, properties and other facilities.
Cyber Security and Analytics
Unsurprisingly, in a world of online commerce, cybercrime is today’s fastest-growing form of criminal activity. Set to cost organizations a whopping $5.2 trillion by 2023, virtually half of all businesses suffered a data breach just in the last year alone, making the need to future proof against online and high-tech threats an absolute necessity in today’s digital world. Luckily, technology can help you guard against these growing threats, and not just in the form of free or paid virus-scanning tools. Rather, today’s hottest new network-monitoring solutions are artificially intelligent, and can actually track every single user interaction and use these insights to create baseline models of how systems behave under normal conditions. Once these baselines have been set, they can then continually monitor your systems for any anomalies or suspicious behaviors — and shut these concerns down in seconds of detection.
What’s more, these high-tech tools also get smarter over time, and can even scan for and close system loopholes before they come under attack. Using these solutions, you can regularly scan all apps, systems, solutions and devices connected to your network; conduct vulnerability testing; and instantly lock down compromised systems or accounts to quarantine the scale of any compromise. With the average cost of a data breach now hovering around $3.86 million, making a point to implement these measures will be critical to future proofing any business going forward. I&FMM