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Top 5 trends to help you stay in business in 2018

How do your business priorities stack up to the top 5?

As every organisation prepares to be replaced by another division of Amazon, it is traditional in January to look ahead to see what trends will be impacting your business and where you should focus your strategy this year.

As I look to the key trends this year, I am staggered by how similar they all seem to years gone by - 100 years ago this year was the end of World War 1, which was the “War to End all wars” - but turned out to be just another one on this list. So, it seems the technical and business trends seem to keep coming back year on year. So ... how do your priorities stack up to the top 5?

 

Number 1 - Experience

It is all about the experience! Whether you are onboarding customers, employees or transactions, this year it is all about how well you do this. Are you at the cutting edge deploying AI and bots? Or are you driven by paper and bureaucracy? This is also the easiest and hardest to measure as experience is subjective. One man’s meat is another man’s poison goes the popular phrase, and we not only vary person to person but, we ourselves vary depending upon mood and circumstance. There are times where I don’t want to talk to anyone I just want a quick interaction with a website and I am done. There are also times where I need to hear that a human cares, understands, shares knowledge or is going to do what I need to be done.

So how well does your organisation treat customers, employees and third parties? Simple you already know the answer. You don’t need surveys or Net promoter scores. You already know don’t you, instinctively. It is either great or not good enough and empirical evidence is only needed to justify a business case to spend money.

 

Number 2 – Efficiency

Yawn, efficiency again? Really? You are kidding me, right? Nope, number 2 on everyone’s list is making processes more efficient. Again, are you deploying cutting edge AI and Bots? Or are your processes stuck in a tide of inefficient treacle flowing in the wrong direction? Surely, 100 years on from the industrial revolution there can’t be an inefficient process left? Well of course there is.

I have read that starting this year up to 50% of jobs could be replaced by cutting edge AI and bots and if you haven’t looked at this burgeoning tech trend you are already well behind the curve. For a crash course in this, try looking at some process automation examples.
Of course, more effort put into making processes better means more people can concentrate on giving a great experience - or looking at new ways to do business. Which brings me on to ...

 

Number 3 – Redesigning your Operating Model

Most dangerous, but if successful most rewarding, is the need to redesign your operating model. If you started your business today, how would you serve your customers, employees and business partners? Unless you are reaping the benefits of cutting edge AI and Bots (haven’t I heard this somewhere before?) then your processes and models could be creaking and antiquated, and in need of serious modernisation.

Sometimes it is just too hard to turn a whole organisation around, so the simple thing to do is to create new start-ups from within your business. Why not create your own competition? Fail fast, succeed fast, these highly focused, high energy entities can shake off the shackles of the past and create the perfect vehicle to propel you into a successful future.

 

Number 4 - Compliance

Still in the top 10 for the 312th week is the thorny old toad that is compliance. Yes, this is the year of GDPR, Brexit and no doubt a hundred-other new legal or industry specific constraints on your organisation. So, unless you have an army of new staff ready to join to focus on keeping you out of jail or the papers, then you are going to turn to cutting edge AI and bots to take up the work needed to ensure you are working in a compliant manner. Without technology taking on the burgeoning task of detecting and tracking compliant processes it could seem almost impossible to do any of the other things on this list.

 

Number 5 – Reducing costs

Closely linked to efficiency, the good ole trend of reducing costs is still there in the top 5, and like a nagging toothache, isn’t going to go away until it has been sorted (note to self – it never will be!) If your business has a cost base higher than your competitors, or you are using public money, then you need to spend less and this year you will need to spend even less than any year before.

So, unless you are using cutting edge AI and bots to help you remove every unnecessary cent or penny from processes, you are doomed. That was a nice positive sentence, eh?

 

Now it might be me, but I sensed a bit of a trend in the top 5 there. Having re-read the list, it seems that in fact there is only 1 major trend this year. You need to get cutting edge intelligent robots to help you achieve this year’s goals.

I have seen the future and it is full of process robots and new digital assistants.

So, are they set to change the world? – yes. Will they replace everyone? – No!

To return to the picture and question at the top of this article, don’t worry Kitten, you are quite safe. All the time people save using robots will still lead to kittens and cats being the most sought-after things on the internet!

If you want to find out a bit more about how Twofold is helping businesses to become more efficient with a new 'Digital Workforce' take a look at the RPA page.

Please leave any comments below - do you agree or disagree, or maybe you've discovered some important trends to share?

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Tim Miller

Digital Transformation Expert

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