A New Year Workout for Businesses

For companies, excelling in the digital experience delivery must be paramount for demand generation and customer satisfaction

A New Year Workout for Businesses
It is not surprising that most of us put health right on the top of the resolution list. Fitness centres always see an upsurge during January when expanding waistlines are measured and goals are set. Businesses looking for a workout to get healthy and prosperous should take these trends into consideration.

Gartner, a business consultancy, has made the main theme of their recent hype cycle around the evolving relationship between humans and machines. “We encourage enterprises to look beyond the narrow perspective that only sees a future in which machines and computers replace humans. In fact, by observing how early adopters are using emerging technologies, there are actually three main trends at work. These are augmenting humans with technology — for example, an employee with a wearable computing device; machines replacing humans — for example, a cognitive virtual assistant acting as an automated customer representative; and humans and machines working alongside each other — for example, a mobile robot working with a warehouse employee to move boxes.”

Digital explosion

Entrepreneur or corporate giant, there is no escaping the convergence of our offline and online worlds. Start your year by investing more budgets in a robust and aggressive digital strategy that will keep your company connected, communicative and collaborative. Assess the health of your website. Understand the new rules of search, discover and find. Excelling in the digital experience delivery is paramount for demand generation and customer satisfaction.

Mobile makeover

Yesteryear’s mantra —mobile first — had everyone rushing to create a mobile presence and in app proliferation only to discover that utility and engagement was key. In 2014, mobile strategy will focus on relevant and useful information that is triangulated around location and context. Investing in responsive web design and creating mobile specific content that spurs action will trigger benefits. Take some of the big retail giants who are offering free wifi in exchange for pushing out offers and coupons and taking advantage of location and opt-in marketing.

Design differentiation

According to Jorge Azurin, who runs operations of the website Freelancer.com in Asia, more companies are turning to freelancers as the demand for illustration and Photoshop design is up by 19 per cent, and the creation of Powerpoint presentations is up 35.4 per cent. The rise of social platforms has resulted in visual and short video content being consumed faster and now boast a higher chance of going viral than textual content.

With the 3D printing industry heating up and set to become a $3billion industry 2016, Freelancer also predicts that more workplaces will adopt 3D printing technologies. Demand for 3D rendering, 3D modelling and 3D animation have showed significant double-digit growth.

Harvesting big data and analytics

Integrated into business processes, 2014 will be the year of converting data and analytics into insights that will help every department get smarter. For big and small companies, it will be easier to manage information and to parse it into input needed for smarter decision management and engagement.

“Like” fnding

More start-ups and businesses are finding new ways to get funding. Competing with the traditional VCs, other sources are continuing to put pressure including super angels, angel investor and other crowd funding forums. With more instances of hacking and the Edward Snowden controversy, according to Forbes, privacy and security will be key area for investment.

Paying for social status

Peer to peer influence will continue to impact brand favourability on social channels. According to Branderati, “word of mouth will be the primary factor for 20-50 per cent of purchasing decisions”.

“Pay to play” came of age in 2013 with Facebook revamping the way news is consumed in feeds, embracing the hashtag, including location based incentives and increasing its advertising revenue by pushing sponsored feeds. As the channel becomes more crowded with companies selling their wares, grabbing share of “like” will get more difficult unless there is a clear benefit to the reader. Managing your Facebook presence will require more than foisting an intern on the site. It will require useful content, creative promotions and interactive discussions.

Clout in the cloud

As the cloud wars continue with the big players looking to capture market share. The cost of doing business in the cloud will decrease. According to Ernst & Young (EY), “Analysts have been talking about cloud computing for years, but cloud-based services are finally starting to take off. By 2016, Gartner expects all Forbes’ Global 2,000 companies to use public cloud services, transforming much of the current IT hardware, software and database markets into infinitely flexible utilities.

When cloud computing becomes widespread, it will transform businesses and business models, potentially reducing both initial and recurring costs for IT buyers, increasing their flexibility and lowering their risks. Despite concerns related to data security, privacy and business continuity, its value proposition makes the success of cloud computing inevitable. Over time, cloud-based services will grow increasingly sophisticated and evolve into full-scale business processes as a service.”

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