How Can Leaders Leverage Trends For Success In 2019?
Disruptive technologies have been making their impact felt for years now, but in 2019, these changes are expected to be unprecedented.
The underlying accelerant will be 5G, revolutionizing the way people use technology by multiplying computer processing speeds more than tenfold. Leaders who manage to master these technologies and their ability to enhance company performance stand to thrive over the next few years.
Machine Learning And Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Advances in machine learning and algorithms will lead to advanced AI. While the breakthroughs will be most evident in the operation of autonomous vehicles and in robotics in 2019, progress in AI will continue to enhance—and transform—the way companies interact with their customers.
Every moment in a customer’s life is a potential money-making opportunity. Customers are used to receiving personalized recommendations from Amazon and Netflix, for example, digitally and instantly. As the relationships between businesses and customers shift toward greater granularity, so will the depth of insights a company can get into customer needs and preferences. Leveraging AI enables businesses to better understand the needs of their customers and offer them highly customized, personalized and on-demand experiences in real time.
To accomplish this next level of personalization, leaders will need to combine AI, real-time analytics and sophisticated back-end systems so that they can capture and deliver on a customer need exactly when that need arises.
Quantum Computing (Supercomputing)
Quantum computing can solve extremely complex problems quickly and on a huge scale. For example, traditional forecasting of the weather is currently limited to what computers can compute within a certain time frame. Nearly 30% of the U.S. GDP is affected by weather in some way, so the ability to use quantum computing to better predict the weather would yield enormous economic benefits, including allowing more time to prepare for disasters.
Blockchain’s greatest power lies in its ability to balance privacy and immutability with transparency across the transactional chain. This will satisfy customers’ growing demand for transparency and their need to know their personal information is safe and secure at all times.
I believe 2019 will be the year of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). NFTs differ from other tokens in that they represent one-of-a-kind items (like a home or artwork). They create digitally unique assets that don't require confirmation of authenticity from a centralized organization. Their significance is in enabling a decentralized way of maintaining the value of distinct, digitally scarce items. NFTs like CryptoKitties are themselves a kind of collectible (paywall) and are gaining in popularity. Looking forward, we could soon see gaming tokens and collectibles, digital tickets and online identification processes all issued as NFTs.
Extended Reality (Virtual And Augmented Reality)
Advances in augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) are living up to, and exceeding, expectations in terms of creating and reinventing user experiences.
Creative brands can utilize AR and VR to deliver more engaging user experiences, let customers try new products and services and boost sales. Business leaders can also create personalized employee learning systems, which could potentially increase productivity and cut HR costs.
The creative possibilities are endless when you start exploring new ways to have fun with AR and VR and engage with them in new and authentic ways.
2019 is the year in which trust will become the most important currency for doing business, ultimately making or breaking a company’s success.
Business leaders who are able to build trust will stand to benefit the most. Not only will they gain privileged access to customers’ unique digital identities, but they will be able to understand their customers in a whole new way. These deep customer insights will unlock unique new opportunities to offer rich, individualized and personalized products and services.
Just as companies are undergoing a digital transformation, so are their employees. However, often employees are undergoing a faster digital transformation than their employers. While many companies are creating new jobs that gear them up for a technologically advanced future, many also still operate traditionally in the way they recruit, train and support new employees.
This results in a growing mismatch between staff and the digital infrastructure they have access to at work. Employees are becoming frustrated as they wait for the infrastructures on which they rely to do their jobs to catch up and align with their own technical proficiency.
In a global environment where a company’s digital success will be predicated on its ability to attract and retain top technologically proficient talent, business leaders will need to bridge this digital divide. They will need to create the conditions for employees to learn, grow and have the autonomy to experiment and innovate. This will require a culture that supports innovation and introduces a whole new set of performance metrics.
Additionally, today employees change their workplace on average every 4.2 years. Leaders will need to put in place best-practice systems that foster connectivity and networks as well as streamline their operations to cater to this new reality.
Cybersecurity Across Ecosystems
Everyone in the cybersecurity industry knows that hackers never sleep. As long as you are connected to the internet, your business and personal information is vulnerable. As the world gets more connected, we are more connected, and our businesses are more connected. This makes everyone and everything vulnerable to cyberattacks. In fact, this year the prospect of a cyberattack is a primary concern for most business leaders.
In 2019, as businesses become increasingly connected to partners in a commercial ecosystem, it is critical that all partners collaborate in their efforts to take cybersecurity to the next level.
The Bottom Line
In 2019, business leaders will be challenged to successfully manage both the hard and soft skills needed to harness the benefits of the technological transformation underway. They will need to build trust with their customers before being able to deliver the highly customized and personalized on-demand products and services that can be developed through access to deep, real-time customer insights.
This article was published on Forbes.