Question: Is there something that can make
your organization future-proof?
Recently, I attended a trade show in Hong Kong which showcased the latest trends in technology.
It was stimulating and scary at the same time. Stimulating as I discovered new possibilities.
Scary as I wondered how well I could stay in the know with such rapid changes. I went from booth to booth like an excited child hitting the carnival.
While taking the train back to central Hong Kong, I observed around. There was not a single soul who was not attached to a piece of technology. Phones, tablets, laptops. They were ubiquitous.
As I sat down during the journey ruminating on my observations, I jotted down a few thoughts in my handy notebook.
Thoughts on how the future is here and how businesses can stay relevant or even in existence by understanding the rapid changes in customer behavior, technology trends and preparing themselves with the right strategies to future-proof themselves.
This article is the outcome of the copious notes that I took on that train journey.
So, what exactly is to future-proof your business?
As per Wikipedia, “The concept of future-proofing is the process of anticipating the future and developing methods of minimizing the effects of shocks and stresses of future events”.
In other words, it is the ability of the organization to stay connected to the customer more than before, have an understanding the evolving technologies and acknowledging the changing nature of the workforce.
These can then be used to establish the long-term strategic or True North goals to identify what steps the company has to take to future-proof themselves.
In this article, I have outlined some(if not all) emerging technology trends and the strategies that companies can deploy to continue to stay relevant:
Some Disruptive Technology Trends
1. Go Mobile
Experts believe that by 2020 the global revenue from mobile apps will be $190 billion. Evolving technologies like Artificial intelligence(Google Assistant, Siri and others), Augmented reality(AR)/Virtual reality(VR), Biometrics like facial/voice/fingerprint recognition, ease of connectivity to devices like wearables are all changing the way we conduct or day-to-day activities like communication, entertainment, shopping and even leading a fit life. Emerging Mobile trends coupled with changing customer demographics and their preferences provide a great opportunity for businesses to tap onto this enormous potential.
Co-creating products/services is not new. Companies want to be engaged such projects as it enables them to discover what is valuable to the customers which leads to unique innovation opportunities which becomes a source of great competitive advantage. It provides a unique edge in the marketplace. With the advent of new technologies like additive manufacturing and collaborative web-based modeling, entry barriers are signficantly knocked down. Companies can revisit their product development strategies around this trend and gain significant edge by really knowing what the customer needs are.
3. Social shopping
4. Green products
Rise of Millenials
Ideas to become future-proof
For me, the areas where artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning (ML), and the internet of things (IoT) can have the greatest benefit are:
1. Anticipating Vs Seeking customer requirements:
Designing a better product as customer data has been manipulated to anticipate the next best thing they need (or don’t know they need as AI has anticipated they will want it).
Aggregating customer data to improve service as the second step to the anticipated better-designed product.
Virtual sourcing and developing a collaborative supply chain structure that rapidly advances e-tender virtual auctions with strategic and preferred supplier groups.
Advancing forecast demand modeling — predictive and directional market trending analysis to identify what manufacturing technology you need to meet current or future product designs and customer anticipated needs.
Blueprinting the digital factory by creating a very transparent view of operations, where minimal human involvement is needed or wanted in very fast and repetitive tasks; apply lean flow, pull, and optimized automation and robotic integration to run lights-out as needed. In essence, AI will design processes extracting pertinent lean principles as needed without human involvement.
Enhancing analytics capabilities that are perpetually working to predict and anticipate market trend conditions; modeling and simulating the perceived need in order to have the internal capability and manufacturing capacity within your existing digital factory or extended supply chain (third-party fulfillment) to meet market needs should this need be realized as per the predictive modeling applied.
Deploying self-learning and intuitive algorithms functionality to detect design flaws and fix them before the product is integrated into the hard manufacturing workflow where we start to add value, which can translate into waste of the design is wrong.