By: Vibhu Airan
To define the current state of the planet with adjectives such as tough, challenging, and competitive would be quite imprecise, especially given how quickly global trends are changing every day. However, several ongoing shifts have had direct ramifications for the current state of affairs. All of the changes in our everyday lives are brought about or are greatly affected by the “business giants.” To fully grasp the future, we must first understand the ongoing changes in businesses throughout the world. In recent years, we have experienced significant challenges and undergone an unprecedented amount of change, which is expected to persist into the next few years without any indication of slowing down in the foreseeable future.
The global pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, economic challenges, and rapid technological advancements have had a profound impact on businesses of all types and sizes. From street vendors in Delhi to the wealthiest corporations, no industry has been immune to the repercussions of these events. Global politics has a widespread impact, with everyday people suffering the consequences. From taxes to loans, ordinary life is affected. Despite this, people are adapting to navigate the complexities.
- Swift implementation of digital transformation initiatives
Digital transformation is a crucial focus for businesses today, with an expected investment of over 3.5 trillion USD by 2026, surpassing the healthcare industry. The term gained popularity during the global pandemic and represents a cultural shift towards agile, intelligent business practices. Core transformative technologies, such as AI, big data, and the cloud, have broad applications across multiple industries, while sectors like manufacturing are embracing specialized robotics. Nearly three-quarters of global organisations will be leading digital transformation efforts in 2023, up from around half in 2021. To prepare for this, firms must embed appropriate technology throughout their processes and operations. It’s vital for businesses to understand how AI and other technologies will impact their organization and sector. Digital transformation offers numerous benefits, including more effective sales and marketing, better customer service, efficient supply chains, simplified production processes, and coordinated goods and services. The obstacles to accessing these benefits will be lower than ever in 2023.
- Inflation and supply chain security
Inflation is the phenomenon of prices increasing for all goods, directly or indirectly. It can also be explained easily by getting fewer goods and services for the same amount of money. Most central banks have a target of low and constant inflation to maintain throughout the year, but things have changed since the end of 2021; global inflation has been skyrocketing, as seen in many world regions. High inflation can lead to lower purchasing power for the common people, as prices tend to grow before wages. All of these factors have a direct influence on one thing: disruption in the supply chain. In the article ”What is supply chain inflation and why is it driving up consumer prices now?”, professors from the University of Oxford have said, “The interconnectedness of global supply chains means that when one price goes up, others tend to follow.”
According to the experts, three factors contribute to inflation: the increase in the price of goods and services, labour costs, and energy costs. “While consumer price inflation has been relatively low and stable for the last 20 years, the last few months have seen a big jump in price growth, along with lots of discussions about the role of supply chain disruptions,” say the authors.
Companies must strengthen their resilience in every way they can to counteract this and stay afloat in this market. This entails limiting vulnerability to unpredictable commodity market prices as well as incorporating protective measures into supply chains to deal with shortages and escalating logistical expenses.
To alleviate the impact of supply chain inflation, companies must undertake a comprehensive mapping of their entire supply chain, identifying vulnerabilities and potential inflation concerns. By taking these steps, companies can then explore measures to manage the risk, such as sourcing alternative suppliers and increasing financial independence. Such actions can help safeguard against inflation and ensure business continuity in the face of supply chain disruptions.
The gravity of the impending climate disaster is slowly dawning on the world, surpassing the challenges of the COVID pandemic and those faced in recent decades. Consequently, investors and consumers are increasingly favouring businesses with strong environmental and social credentials. Conscious customers, who prioritise ecological impact and sustainability, are driving buying trends and shaping the market’s future. Businesses that prioritise sustainability and environmental responsibility stand to benefit, while those that neglect them risk falling behind in the evolving market.
In 2023, companies need to make sure that their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) processes are moved to the centre of their strategy. This should start with measuring the impact of any business on society and the environment, then moving to the increase of transparency, reporting, and accountability. Every business needs a plan with clear goals and timeframes for how to reduce any negative impacts, and then the plan needs to be underpinned by solid action plans. The assessment and plans should also go beyond the company walls and cover the entire supply chain and the ESG credentials of suppliers. For example, it is easy to forget the environmental impact of cloud service providers and the impact of data centres on the environment.
- Immersive customer experience
Zendesk’s latest global customer experience (CX) trends report highlights the increasing importance of immersive experiences in differentiating brands and fostering customer loyalty. The report shows that 61% of customers value experiences that are natural, convenient, and fluid. When it comes to customer service, those interacting with chatbots for these reasons find them 71% more effective, as they are based on evolving algorithms and provide an immersive experience. However, businesses are lagging in their understanding of customer emotions, with 63% of business leaders admitting unfocused and reactive efforts to improve customer well-being. Tracking emotional data remains informal, with only 22% of leaders and managers using customer sentiment to personalise the customer experience. As immersive experiences and personalised interactions become increasingly important to customers, businesses must prioritise understanding and catering to their emotional needs to remain competitive.
Negative customer experiences can have a long-lasting impact and lead to customers switching to competitors. In fact, 73% of customers would switch after experiencing multiple negative interactions, and more than half would leave after just one. This highlights the importance for businesses to prioritise customer experience and invest in reshaping their approach. Many companies are already taking steps to merge teams and responsibilities around CX to increase operational efficiency, with 64% having plans to do so.
- Social, cultural, and workplace shifts
The working population is likewise changing dramatically. The number of Gen Z and millennial workers is increasing, while baby boomers are retiring. And, with a changing workforce, come shifting expectations and objectives; for example, 65% of employees want to work for an organisation “with a powerful social conscience.” Our working methods are also evolving. One in every five worldwide employees currently works remotely at least part-time, and the coronavirus epidemic is only going to fuel this “work from anywhere” attitude. More employees will expect to “float” between teams, positions, and employers as organisational structures grow more flexible. The “job for life” is long gone, and more individuals will work in the gig economy as freelancers or as free agents. All businesses must thus re-evaluate their working practises in order to meet the expectations of an ever-evolving workforce. Offering greater freedom, a better work-life balance, and helping the employees inculcate a deeper connection with the brand are very important in order to attract and retain talent in today’s workforce.
The world is constantly evolving and advancing, with new breakthroughs and innovations emerging every second. These five real-world examples of global trends are just a small snapshot of the many transformative developments shaping the world around us.