Forecasting is a risky venture at the best of times. It is particularly foolhardy in todays’ uncertainty. However, enterprises must anticipate and plan. Fortunately, there is no dearth of busybodies who pit their wits against the uncertain. Here is a sampling of some of the consensus predictions for 2013.
One trend that appears in every forecaster’s crystal ball is that the world is going to get more mobile and more social. The emerging business environment is being built with mobility and connectedness. This has implications for the way organizations work, communicate, market, innovate and more.
There is a fundamental shift in the way individuals and organizations interact – from one-to-one and one-to-many to many-to-many. Also, connected mobile devices will liberate work and consumption from time and space constraints.
Smart organizations would accept the loss of confidentiality and control and use this freedom to drive up both productivity and revenues. They will cut down on face time and utilize smart mobile devices to achieve an anywhere, anytime work ecosystem.
The constant connection of consumers and enterprises will lead to more informed consumption and also more informed marketing. Consumers, particularly the youth, will be more driven by shared experience than exclusive possession. Transparency and engagement will become a critical marketing tool. The vast amount of consumer data generated by websites and apps will lead to micro-segmentation of the market.
Analytics will become crucial to business competitiveness and growth in the age of Big Data. Increasing digitization of work and lifestyle is producing humongous amount of data on behaviour of people and enterprises. But homing on to the commercially useful data through the piles of irrelevant data has been a challenge. Now, technologies and techniques are evolving to help enterprises log and use the relevant information. Such data will be increasingly used to target products and services at customers in a personalized way.
A concomitant trend would be the intensification of the battle for data security in the online world. Business data, both on own servers and in the cloud, faces threat from rivals and criminals. Any breach of data could lead to not only losing the competitive advantage but also incurring severe legal liabilities. Balancing openness with security will be a key challenge for the enterprises.
The trend of global trade and economic growth shifting to the emerging and developing markets is likely to intensify. The rich world will continue to struggle with fiscal and financial correction and will raise barriers to imports and outsourcing. Simultaneously, the intra-emerging economies trade will gain momentum. The emerging market companies will look to buy strategic assets and businesses in other emerging economies. Also, the high-growth upcoming markets will drive innovations and there will be increasing convergence in the products designed for the developed and the emerging markets.
Sustainability will become more than a buzzword. It will become a measureable and business-critical priority. The cost of energy used and the energy-efficiency of the enterprise’s offerings will acquire greater competitive significance. The realization of regulatory and social risk of environmental implications will deepen. International investors will attach significant importance to enterprise sustainability. There will be a proliferation of sustainability rankings and awards. There will also be an increased flow of energy and emission efficient technologies.
Besides these general trends, the technological, economic and social changes will force micro-level shifts in most industries and enterprises. 2013 will test the adaptability of enterprises and managers. Those fittest for the passing era will make way for the most adaptable.
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