Megatrends poised to shake up business

Megatrends poised to shake up business

Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality, virtual reality, and blockchain are transforming industries, introducing us to a phase in which tech works beside and for us, instead of being an abstract concept only a few have exposure to.

These changes “promise to overhaul the very definition of what it means to be human”, according to an EY report, The Upside of Disruption: Megatrends Shaping 2018 and Beyond, which offers predictions about how these disruptions will reshape the world, from everyday life to business operations.

Here’s a glimpse of coming megatrends, along with questions leaders should consider as they materialise, according to the report.

Doing away with industry barriers: The days of separate industries dominated by a few leading corporations are on the way out.

Larger businesses will have a hand in a variety of sectors, with mergers and acquisitions leading the way to cross-sector corporations, the report says. It’ll also mean more collaboration, in the same vein as how healthcare, construction, utility, and education companies are now working to improve particular communities’ access to knowledge, or how consumer-product, energy, and technology companies have teamed up to develop autonomous vehicles.

Corporate leaders should be thinking about what they’ll need to survive in this new world, from looking at how rivals could become collaborators to turning to new business models when competition rises, the report advises.

The future of work: Businesses need to be thinking about how their workforce will manage the increased use of technology and how to recruit individuals that thrive in a workplace dependent on advanced technologies. Higher education will have its own role as well, with new curriculums needed to expose workers to the possibilities of advanced technologies in all sorts of disciplines.

Ageing populations: Around the world, people are living longer. That translates to challenges and opportunities related to how older adults spend their twilight years. Autonomous vehicles could help seniors live in their homes longer by allowing them to get around when active driving is harder because of physical limitations, just as technology-assisted devices could help monitor health and mobility capabilities of the elderly.

Business opportunities in a range of industries, from drug development to social messaging applications to aid communication with health professionals and family members, will abound as the ageing population increases around the world.

Consumer expectations: Consumers are getting smarter and more demanding. Be prepared for customers who will have research at their fingertips or even deploy AI-assisted tools to find the best product. Effortless and smooth customer experiences are expected from today’s, and tomorrow’s, savvy consumers.

“They expect technology to help, not hinder, their quest to get what they want, where and when they want it,” the report says. “And the price of a mistake is high.”

Consider which steps need to be taken today to ensure that your company will be able to perform in the marketplaces of tomorrow. Consider also what happens when AI is deployed on purchasing information. Does your company’s product stand out as a superior product? Or will it be forgotten as rivals rise to the top?

For a closer look at the megatrends highlighted by EY, click here.

Sarah Ovaska-Few is a freelance writer based in the US. To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact Jack Hagel, an FM magazine editorial director, at Jack.Hagel@aicpa-cima.com.