Businesses have faced tremendous challenges and undergone an incredible amount of change in recent years, and 2023 will not let up. Businesses are grappling with the aftermath of the global pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, economic challenges, and accelerating technological advances.
Here are the trends I believe will have the biggest impact on the way we work and do business in 2023.
1. Accelerated digital transformation
In 2023, we see continued innovation and development in transformative technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), cloud computing, blockchain, and super-fast networking protocols like 5G. Furthermore, these transformative digital technologies do not exist in isolation from one another, and we will see the lines between them blurring. New solutions for augmented working, hybrid and remote working, business decisions, and the automation of manual, routine, and creative workloads combine these technologies in ways that can enhance each other. This brings us closer than ever to the point where we are able to create “intelligent enterprises” where systems and processes support each other to perform simple and mundane tasks as efficiently as possible.
To prepare for this, companies need to ensure they embed the right technology in their processes and across all areas of operations. At this point, there really is no excuse for being in business and not understanding 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 more closely aligned with customer needs, and streamlined manufacturing processes are on the table, and by 2023 the barriers to entry will be lower than ever. Many of these technologies, such as AI and blockchain, are now available in “as-a-service” models over the cloud, and new interfaces and apps are allowing companies to access them through no-code environments.
2. Inflation and supply chain security
The economic outlook for most of the world in 2023 does not look good. Experts tell us to expect persistent inflation and subdued economic growth. Many industries are still plagued by supply chain issues that emerged during the global shutdowns caused by Covid-19 and have only been made worse by the war in Ukraine. To counteract this and stay afloat, companies need to improve their resilience in every way they can. This means reducing the risk of volatile market prices for raw materials and building safeguards into supply chains to counteract bottlenecks and rising logistics costs.
It is important that companies map their entire supply chains and identify all supply and inflation risks. This allows them to find ways to mitigate that risk, such as: B. alternative suppliers and more independence. I have recently worked with a number of companies that have decided to outsource parts of their manufacturing after realizing the risk of relying on Chinese manufacturing, still plagued by a zero Covid policy and subsequent closures .
The world is becoming increasingly aware of the fact that the climate catastrophe will pose a much greater challenge than anything we have experienced in recent decades and will dwarf the challenges of the Covid pandemic. That means investors and consumers are favoring companies with the right environmental and social credentials, and buying trends are increasingly being driven by conscious consumers – those of us who prioritize factors like environmental impact and sustainability when choosing how we buy or do business.
In 2023, companies must ensure that their environmental, social and governance (ESG) processes are placed at the heart of their strategy. This should start with measuring a company’s impact on society and the environment, and then move to greater transparency, reporting and accountability. Every organization needs a plan with clear goals and timelines on how to reduce negative impacts, and then the plan needs to be backed up with solid action plans. The assessment and plans should also go beyond company walls, covering the entire supply chain and suppliers’ ESG credentials. It’s easy to forget the environmental impact of cloud service providers and the environmental impact of data centers.
4. Immersive customer experience
In 2023, customers are primarily looking for experiences. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that price and quality take a back seat. Both play, to some extent, a role in how we experience the process of choosing, buying, and enjoying the goods and services we spend our money on.
The role that technology has traditionally played here has been to streamline processes and remove hassle from the consumer’s life. Think of recommendation engines that help us make purchasing decisions, or online customer service portals that deal with issues and customer service. These will still be key in 2023, but the game has evolved, with this year’s keywords being immersion and interactivity.
The Metaverse — somewhat of a catch-all term used by futurists to describe the “next level” of the internet, where we interact with brands and other consumers through immersive technology, including 3D environments and VR — is the stage , in which this will take place . Think of online stores where we can browse and “try on” virtual representations of clothing, jewelry and accessories. We could use virtual dressing rooms to dress up avatars of ourselves – like the kind already pioneered by the likes of Hugo Boss – or it could include AR like the ones used by Walmart to see how clothes fit our actual bodies. These trends will affect both online and offline commerce.
The trend toward experience is so strong that brands like Adobe and Adweek are appointing Chief Experience Officers (CXO) to ensure it becomes a fundamental element of business strategy. In addition to the customer experience, companies are increasingly having to think about the employee experience as the competition for the most talented and skilled workforce intensifies.
5. The Talent Challenge
Over the past year, we’ve seen major movements by talented people, referred to as great resignation and quiet quitting, as workers reassess the impact of work and what they wanted to get out of their lives. This has put pressure on employers to ensure they offer attractive careers, the flexibility of hybrid work, and an attractive work environment and culture. Providing people with fulfilling work, continuous growth and learning opportunities, flexibility and diverse, values-driven jobs will be critical in 2023.
Additionally, accelerating digital transformation (trend 1 above) is leading to greater workplace automation that will enrich pretty much every single job in the world. Humans will increasingly share their work with smart machines and smart robots, and that has huge implications for the skills and talent that companies will need in the future. This means reskilling and upskilling many of our employees, as well as hiring new people with the skills needed for the future.
On the one hand, companies need to manage the huge skills gap that exists in fields like data science, AI, and other technology areas, and ensure they are creating the data and tech-savvy workforce needed for future success. And on the other hand, as human jobs are augmented by technology, companies need to retrain employees with skills needed to work with intelligent machines and augment their unique human capabilities that cannot currently 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.
To keep up to date with the latest business and technology trends, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter and follow me TwitterLinkedIn and YouTube and check out my books Business Trends in Practice and Future Skills.