Businesses have faced enormous challenges and undergone incredible changes in recent years, and this will not slow down in 2023. Businesses will have to deal with the consequences of the global pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, economic challenges, as well as an increasingly faster development of technologies.
Here are the trends I believe will have the biggest daily impact on the way we work and do business in 2023.
1. Accelerated digital transformation
In 2023, we see continued innovations and developments in transformative technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), cloud computing, blockchain and hyper -fast network protocols such as 5G. Moreover, these transformative digital technologies do not exist in isolation from one another, and we will see the boundaries between them blur. New solutions for augmented work, hybrid and remote work, business decision making, and automation of manual, routine, and creative workloads combine these technologies in ways that allow them to enhance each other. This brings us closer than ever to the point where we are able to create “intelligent businesses” where systems and processes support each other to complete mundane and mundane tasks in the most efficient way possible.
To prepare for this, businesses need to ensure that they integrate the right technology into all their processes and every area of operation. At this point, there’s really very little excuse for being in business and not having an understanding of how AI and the other technologies mentioned above will impact your business and industry. More effective sales and marketing, better customer service, more efficient supply chains, products and services that are more aligned with customer needs, and improved manufacturing processes are all on the table, and by 2023, the barriers to access will be lower than never . Many of these technologies, such as AI and blockchain, are now available in “as-a-service” models through the cloud, and new interfaces and applications give businesses access to them through code-free environments.
2. Inflation and supply chain security
The economic outlook for most of the world does not look good in 2023. Experts tell us to expect continued inflation and sluggish economic growth. Many industries are still plagued by supply chain issues that arose during the global shutdowns caused by Covid-19 and have only been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. To combat this and stay alive, companies need to improve their resilience in any way they can. This means reducing exposure to volatile commodity market prices, as well as creating safeguards in supply chains to deal with shortages and rising logistics costs.
It is important that companies map their entire supply chains and identify any exposure to supply and inflation risks. In this way, they can explore ways to mitigate this risk, such as alternative suppliers and becoming more self-sufficient. I have recently worked with several companies that have decided to outsource parts of their manufacturing after recognizing the risk of relying on Chinese manufacturing that is still plagued by a zero covid policy and subsequent shutdowns.
The world is increasingly waking up to the fact that climate catastrophe will pose a far greater challenge than anything we have experienced in recent decades and will eclipse the challenges faced by the Covid pandemic. This means that investors and consumers prefer businesses with the right environmental and social credentials, and buying trends are increasingly driven by conscious consumers – those among us who prioritize factors such as ecological impact and sustainability when choosing who to buy from. or with whom they will do business.
In 2023, companies must ensure that their environmental, social and governance (ESG) processes move to the center of their strategy. This should start with measuring the impact each business has on society and the environment, and then move on to increasing transparency, reporting and accountability. Every business needs a plan with clear goals and timelines for how to reduce any negative impacts, and then the plan needs to be supported by solid action plans. Assessment and plans should also go beyond company walls and cover the entire supply chain and ESG credentials of suppliers. For example, it is easy to forget the environmental impact of cloud service providers and the impact of data centers on the environment.
4. Immersive customer experience
In 2023, customers crave experience above all else. This does not necessarily mean that price and quality take second place. Both play a role, to some extent, in how we experience the process of choosing, buying and enjoying the goods and services we spend our money on.
The role technology plays here, traditionally, has been to streamline processes and remove hassle from the consumer’s life. Think recommendation engines that help us choose what to buy, or online customer service portals that deal with problems and after-sales support. These will continue to play a key role in 2023, but the game has evolved, with immersion and interactivity being the keywords this year.
The metaverse – something of a term used by futurists to describe the ‘next level’ of the internet, where we interact with brands and fellow consumers through immersive technology, including 3D environments and VR – is the stage where this will happen. Think online stores where we can browse and “try on” virtual representations of clothing, jewelry and accessories. We could use virtual dressing rooms to dress avatars of ourselves – as already pioneered by Hugo Boss – or it could involve AR, as used by Walmart, to see how clothes would fit our real bodies. These trends will affect both online and offline retail.
The trend towards experience is so strong that brands like Adobe and Adweek are appointing chief experience officers (CXO) to ensure it is a fundamental part of business strategy. In addition to customer experience, businesses increasingly need to think about employee experience as competition for the most talented and skilled workers intensifies.
5. The talent challenge
In the past year, we’ve seen massive departures of talented people, referred to as the Big Quit and the Quiet Quit, as workers reassess the impact of work and what they want to get out of their lives. This has put pressure on employers to ensure they provide attractive careers, the flexibility of hybrid working and an enticing work environment and company culture. Providing people with fulfilling work, continuous opportunities for growth and learning, flexibility and diverse value-driven workplaces will all be essential in 2023.
Additionally, accelerating digital transformation (trend one above) is leading to more automation in the workplace that will augment almost every job in the world. Humans will increasingly share their work with intelligent machines and intelligent robots, and this has huge implications for the skills and talent companies will require in the future. This will mean reskilling and upskilling huge swings of people in our businesses, as well as recruiting new people with the skills needed for the future.
On the one hand, businesses need to address the huge skills gap that exists in areas such as data science, artificial intelligence and other technology areas, ensuring they are building the data- and technology-savvy workforce needed to succeed in the future. And on the flip side, as human jobs are augmented by technology, businesses need to retrain staff with the skills needed to work alongside intelligent machines and develop their unique human skills that currently don’t. can be automated. In 2023, it will include skills such as creativity, critical thinking, interpersonal communication, leadership and the application of “human” qualities such as caring and compassion.
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