Industries and markets across the globe experienced unprecedented turmoil during the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, new trends are emerging that focus mainly on changes to technology and consumer behaviour. There has been a massive uptick in the adoption of analytics, targeted content and omnichannel marketing since the outbreak of the pandemic.
While markets remain volatile and the future trends in business will undoubtedly come as a reaction to real-time customer behaviours, there are still some emerging trends that will shape industry in the coming months. Here are some of the top trends to expect over the next year.
The Push Towards Reducing Emissions
The climate crisis has been part of global conversations for years now, but we are finally seeing commitments from governments and businesses to take steps to reduce their environmental impact. The relationship between climate change and business is undeniable, so a growing number of companies are trying to enhance their sustainability. One of the biggest trends for companies is to pledge to be carbon neutral in several years. Big players in the global markets like Amazon, Apple and Microsoft have all individually made their intentions of emission reduction public in recent months.
Additionally, many small businesses are taking steps towards carbon neutrality. Nowadays, many business owners have started taking an online business climate course to give them information about running sustainable companies in the coming years. There is more awareness than ever before about business and climate change. Therefore, companies are now finding ways to calculate their carbon footprints and are taking steps to reduce this with the ultimate goal of reaching net-zero emissions.
These online courses can help business owners develop their toolset for dealing with this pressing issue. There is little doubt that many of our current industrial practices are unfit for purpose. Since the impact of business on climate change is undeniable, there is a pressing need to reevaluate how systems operate across the board, from the top level and throughout supply networks. As a result, such business and climate change courses are becoming increasingly popular as a means to drive towards a more sustainable world.
The climate crisis is set to be a topic for discussion for years to come, so it is unsurprising to see more entities taking steps to mitigate their environmental impact and reduce their carbon emissions.
Further Advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) Technologies
We have already seen the rapid explosion of AI across various industries in recent years. This has facilitated the automation of processes and has drastically improved operational efficiency in all aspects of businesses. AI has been widely adopted in manufacturing, healthcare, and technology and is becoming more prevalent globally in almost all industries.
The massive benefits this technology provides for companies when it comes to streamlining the operations, alongside our increased global reliance on data, means that AI will continue to be a staple in the coming years. As the technology becomes more advanced, expect to see it become more ubiquitous in all walks of life, especially in industrial applications. In fact, a survey from MIT found that 85% of executives that they studied believed AI would help their companies in the coming months and years.
Another application of AI technology that is gaining prominence is its use in customer-facing roles. For example, in e-commerce, there are developments in the use of AI as an alternative to call centres. These voice chatbots will likely make customer service expenditure far lower for e-commerce businesses and can help to facilitate more effective support in the industry.
Remote Working Will Continue Rising
Remote working was becoming a more popular option before the pandemic. However, after the outbreak of Covid-19, the practice became far more prevalent. Now, as we move past the restrictions implemented to curb the virus’ transmission, many employers are still relying on remote workers.
Forward-thinking companies have begun to use remote working as a means to access new talent pools. The pandemic proved that work could still be done effectively even as many aspects of life were shut down. Since then, there has been a bigger push towards fully remote or hybrid work as it offers a better work-life balance without noticeable declines in productivity.
With better internet speeds, connectivity and remote working solutions in an increasingly digital world, it seems as though working from home is here to stay for the foreseeable future.
Contactless Payment Will Continue to Trend
This is another aspect of business that has been significantly stimulated by the pandemic. As previously mentioned, consumer behaviour has changed a great deal over the past 18 months, and the rise in contactless payments resulted from this. In an era where people are acutely aware of the prevalence of germs and transmission of disease, contactless payment became a valuable method of limiting the spread of Covid-19.
While we are unlikely to see a continuation of restrictions in the new year, consumers’ concerns about the virus will probably stick about for the foreseeable future. As a result, customers will likely continue to abide by self-imposed restrictions. The significant drop-off in the use of cash is one such restriction.
During the pandemic, contactless payments became the norm and as we move into 2022, expect this trend to continue. It is a safe, easy and convenient payment method, and as contactless limits continue to rise, it is becoming a viable means of paying for almost anything.
Cloud-Based Solutions Will Be As Important As Ever
Over recent years, we have seen businesses increase reliance on cloud computing. IT infrastructure is quickly becoming one of the defining features of a successful business. While it is still very challenging to develop and implement these systems, at the same time, they have never been so accessible.
These days, we are more connected than ever before. This has prompted IT organisations to redesign network infrastructure to account for the increased demand for networking solutions. Cloud-based IT is now considered all but essential for businesses.
Large, multinational corporations like Amazon and Google have begun to offer such services. This has taken much of the guesswork out of developing infrastructure across the globe for almost any company. When smaller companies use these hosting solutions, they can avoid significant expenditure on building data centres while reaping the rewards of a data-driven approach.
Additionally, cloud-based systems have resolved many of the issues companies have experienced in scaling their operations. Using remote IT infrastructure, businesses can add computing power and storage as and when they need it. If they were to do this with in-house solutions, it would be costly and time-consuming. Therefore, the scalability offered by cloud-based solutions means they will continue to dominate the business world for the foreseeable future.
Overall, these are some of the current trends in business that are likely to stick about over the next year and beyond. As the world becomes increasingly digital, expect to see technological advances like AI and data processing solutions become more important for businesses of all sizes. On top of this, the pandemic triggered many behavioural changes among employees, companies and consumers. While restrictions are unlikely to progress into the new year, some of the trends of the past 18 months will undoubtedly remain in the business world. Finally, as we push towards a more sustainable society, expect to see businesses of all sizes begin to adopt more environmentally and socially conscious practices.