Driven by tech innovation, the future of business will bear little resemblance to current practices. Companies that want to stay on top aren’t only hiring knowledgeable and skilled workers, but also developing a clear approach to serving their customers well. Success increasingly depends on independent teams guided by mentors. Rather than managing them, tomorrow’s businesses will point them at a problem and let them work. Keeping up with these trends can be challenging, but for your business, it’s essential to embrace change to succeed.
With the right technology, any business can flourish
To gain advantage over its competitors, the company of the future will abandon yesterday’s rigid hierarchies. One way we see this trend emerging is Decentralised Autonomous Organisations (DAOs). Based on blockchain technology, a DAO eliminates the need for management by incorporating shareholders. Each shareholder owns tokens that represent a share in the organisation, and each token provides them the right to vote on issues regarding the company. An example of a DAO is Dash, a decentralised peer-to-peer cryptocurrency network released in 2014. Dash performs the same cryptocurrency functions as Bitcoin, with additional options such as instant transactions (InstantSend) and private transactions (PrivateSend). It has no managers or executives, and is run entirely by the shareholders who hold its tokens.
The importance of predictive analytics
But before implementing DAO, it’s important for the company to have an efficient business plan and strategy. This increasingly depends on predictive analytics. Predictive analytics combines data with statistical algorithms and machine learning, providing an answer to the question “What is probable to happen?” Ray Major, the CEO of Halo Business Intelligence, points out that “(Of) companies who have implemented predictive analytics, two-thirds of them say it adds value to their business.” And this is just the beginning, as it’s estimated that the global predictive analytics market will grow from $2.7 billion in 2015 to $9.2 billion by 2020.
Amazon, for instance, is using predictive analytics to find out which products its customers buy the most. This way, it can prepare the right products for shipping in advance. And the one thing Amazon relies on the most to understand its customers is data. We’re living in an era where the sheer amount of data being generated is mind-numbing. Just imagine how many emails, text messages, photos, and other forms of data are shared every hour – that’s a lot of information that needs to be processed, and it needs to be done quickly.
“Real-time data and stream processing are becoming central to how a modern company harnesses data,” says Jay Kreps, the CEO and co-founder of Confluent, a company that provides technologies that enable fast data processing. “For modern companies, data is no longer just powering stale daily reports—it’s being baked into an increasingly sophisticated set of applications, from detecting fraud and powering real-time analytics to guiding smarter customer interactions,” he adds.
The company of the future is small, hyper-connected, and flexible
Although a company’s size is usually the way to measure its performance, this will no longer be the case in the future. Often described as the ‘backbone of the economy’, small businesses still remain in the shadow of large firms. But this is set to change, as small- and medium-sized enterprises are becoming more customer-centric and more efficient, often competition head-to-head with the world’s leading companies. Small businesses can take big steps towards better service by embracing technology. Unlike the world’s leading corporations, however, small businesses are often limited by small budgets, especially when it comes to PR. But they’re offered an affordable way of promoting their products and services by harnessing the power of social media.
Furthermore, thanks to the IoT, these organisations can improve their products and services, yielding a hyper-connected world. But how does a company become a hyper-connected organisation? Hyperconnectivity means that everything is communicating – not just people to people, but also people to machines and machines to machines, yielding tremendous amounts of data that provides valuable insight.
Another trend expected to change the business landscape over the next decade is the gig economy. This is transforming the way we work by cutting the umbilical cord that used to connect workers to their offices. And it’s quality that matters, not spending five days a week, eight hours a day, in a cubicle or an office. Alan Macklin, the deputy chairman of the Association for Project Managers, agrees. “We are seeing an increase in freelance work at the top end, where individuals have the competences, confidence and demand in the marketplace to give them as much work as they want and when they want it.”
To excel in the future, you need to work on your soft skills
The rapidly evolving labour market demands a new skillset, too. According to the Deloitte Access Economics report, Soft Skills for Business Success, “soft skills and personal attributes are just as important to success as technical skills.” Soft skills will become the new job ‘currency’. But, how do you attract the most skilled workers and keep them? To remain competitive, organisations need to adapt. It’s important that employers revalue their businesses to ensure better service, and that they offer more than just a paycheck.
Chief information officers (CIOs) shouldn’t be neglected, either. In this tech-driven era, a chief information officer can either make an organisation stronger or ruin it completely. CIOs carry a heavy burden, being responsible for finding ways to cut down IT costs while transforming a company, broadening its IT strategies, and bringing digital business innovations to the fore, all the while maintaining existing IT portfolios. That’s not an easy task and it demands nothing short of excellence.
Predictive analytics driven by data, the IoT, and DAOs are poised to change the world of business as we know it. Following the rapid advancement of technology, it’s also possible that, in the future, we’ll conduct meetings in virtual environments when our conversational partner is thousands of kilometres away. The most future-focused organisations are already folding these new practices, technologies, and approaches into their business models. In short, the company of the future will be reshaped by numerous tech trends, evolving into something that looks very little like the businesses of the past.