Business Technology


5 digital trends that will transform the way you run your business

6 Mins

3. The real era of mobile

In 2013, mobile devices will finally pass PCs to be the most common web access tools, predicts Gartner. Indeed, smartphones have developed to a point where they eclipse the desktop experience.

This trend isn’t “up and coming” anymore – it has long arrived. We know that smartphones are already ubiquitous, and will, by 2015, be over 80 per cent of all handsets in mature markets. By 2015, tablet shipments will be 50 per cent of laptop shipments. Consumerisation is driving tablets into the enterprise, too, which businesses need to be aware of, as they are watching the “bring your own device” trend accelerate. The hardware is here – now it’s becoming all about the software, not the device.

The mobile internet era means that barriers to market are quickly shrinking. You don’t need to spend thousands of pounds on a fancy agency design for your smartphone app. There are dozens of services that will let you build, host and monetise your app at low or zero cost. And you better use them, because ignoring a business mobile presence is simply not acceptable anymore.

As mobile internet is becoming the internet, the use of today’s desktop browsers declines. Mobile devices, though already equipped with very capable browsers, will always have less screen space than traditional desktops, and lack the fine control of a mouse and keyboard. That means for websites to be successful on a mobile-centric internet, they will have to move towards app-like layouts: present less information at once, tap into user preferences and profiles to customise the information they present, and embrace sharing as a social norm.

4. The culture of immediacy

Fast-growing, successful businesses such as Shutl are all about one thing: enabling people to get what they want, when they want it. Shutl is an on-demand delivery business, which allows consumers to skip the wait between online shopping and delivery. The social impact of this is potentially massive; it’s a service that empowers consumers in need of a critical product and unlocks new business opportunities for entrepreneurs. It also improves accessibility, letting disabled people or people less able to make it to the high street, shop with the ease and convenience of an able bodied person.

In our culture of immediacy we are used to having everything we want at our fingertips. Music to download, movies to stream, e-books to read, new information, education, gambling, pornography. We are used to getting what we want on demand. If you are on a web page that takes more than 20 seconds to load, don’t you move on? If you have to wait in a line, don’t you tap your foot and huff and puff because things are just taking too long?

We are, today, allowed instant gratification for almost any urge. Now that we are living in a culture of inescapable immediacy, we expect businesses to adapt. The demand for immediate delivery, immediate response to complaints, immediate customer service etc., will inevitably have a deep impact on the way businesses are run, more and more so in the years to come.

5. Your team is everywhere

Imagine you could tap into the brightest brains on the planet to solve any given problem in your organisation. Well, actually, you can.

New technologies are making collaboration, problem solving, and hiring, a lot different. Talent as a Service is a market that will by 2020 affect approximately one out of three professionals worldwide, with vast economic and social consequences. It enables businesses to work with the talent they need, regardless of geographical boundaries. You don’t even need the office space to accommodate a new hire, as you stay connected with your team through the web. With the skills-gap in the UK widening, this opens up invaluable opportunities to find talent in any part of the world.

None of your team members have to be in an office every day anymore. Flexible working opens up opportunities across a very wide spectrum. Sure, it enables us to save time wasted on commuting, and allows working parents to juggle all parts of their lives more easily. But it also accommodates people’s personalities, as they are able to work wherever and whenever it allows them to be in their productivity sweet spot. Individuals who are “introvert” on the Myers-Briggs indicator are known to have a difficult time working in open office environments. Being exposed to the constant noise and gaze of co-workers can decrease people’s productivity significantly if the environment doesn’t suit their personality. Introverts can rise to their full potential, now that work can be done quietly, from outside the office.

As Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy once said, “There are always more smart people outside your company than within it.”

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