In an era of rapid change, businesses are constantly compelled to adapt to changes. One way organizations can achieve this is by reviewing trends that can further guide them in creating or modify their policies and strategies, with the aim of bringing in fresh growth and sustaining relevance to their markets.
The new year once again brings and emphasizes trends that several professional services and research firms expect to shape the future of industries, as well as impact both individuals and businesses on a global scale.
Continued AI revolution
Generative artificial intelligence (AI) and automation are seen to transform industries by making them more efficient, fostering innovation, and tailoring personalized customer experiences. This year, more advanced AI technology is expected to be developed, specifically for use in data analytics, decision-making, and customer services, which will further revolutionize business operations.
According to global professional services company Accenture, the shift to generative AI evolved from being transactional to becoming a more personalized experience. With an advanced language tool, AI can engage with users, providing solutions that go beyond simple requests, catering to the needs of their users more effectively.
Accenture’s recent “Life Trends” report said that AI gives opportunities for brands and platforms to address issues in the digital interface and also adapt to the rising consumer behavior.
“With the new AI, there are new ways of working, new ways of researching, and new ways of discovering the world,” the report said.
This “new AI” is helping the way individuals interact with the internet and it is changing such interactions into a more personalized experience. It enables businesses to address digital interfaces, such as improving search functionality, enhancing visibility, or providing a better service for their customers.
“For businesses, the technology’s flexibility and nuance present an amazing opportunity to shape a more relatable, human-like representation of the brand — one that can build customer relationships in meaningful ways,” the report said.
“With the pace of change showing no sign of easing, brands should consider now what large language models might help them achieve. Brands that successfully use technology will become part of a new dynamic that makes people feel more understood than ever before — and allows brands to be better understood too,” it added.
For Deloitte, another global professional services firm, AI is a game-changer and it is transforming the business landscape.
“With mindful and imaginative guidance, generative AI stands to unlock a world of magical new business possibilities. Without it, we run the risk of scaled mediocrity — or worse,” it added.
Contrary to initial speculations of the technology replacing humans, AI is expected to continue advancing and amplifying human capabilities. According to the London Business School (LBS), the synergy between human intelligence and AI capabilities will play a vital role in maximizing the advantages of technology to improve humanity.
“Adapting generative AI includes everything from customer service centers, rewriting service provision protocols, to back-office operations, such as contract monitoring being redesigned to reduce or eliminate reliance on human labor. The development of alternative ways of working will arguably enable generative AI to reach its true potential and have an effect as profound as the technology itself,” LBS said on its website.
“Generative AI is a cool productivity-enhancer and it will have a profound long-term impact on how we access and process information. For most companies, it will be what we call a ‘sustaining innovation’ — it will reinforce rather than undermine their competitive position,” it added.
More sustainable business practices
Incorporating sustainability into the core strategies of businesses is also predicted to accelerate this year. According to market research and consulting firm Whittaker Associates, this ongoing sustainability shift is driven by consumer demand, regulatory requirements, and the impact of climate change on business operations.
This year, businesses are expected to embrace green technologies and prioritize transparency in sustainability reporting.
“Sustainability was high on the corporate agenda in 2023 and will continue to be in 2024. Through a combination of consumer and social pressure, new reporting standards, and government regulation, there is huge pressure on CEOs to turn their sustainability pledges into action. Several major industries, including energy and automobiles, have arguably reached the tipping point in their push for sustainable ways forward,” LBS explained.
In relation to green technologies, Deloitte noted in its “Financing the Green Energy Transition” report released last November that 70% of green investments should establish sustainable infrastructures and technologies that pave the way towards a greener future.
“Just as we are continually developing solutions and technology to rapidly decarbonize, we must take definitive steps to remove financial barriers in order to accelerate a just energy transition, especially in developing economies,” Deloitte Global Sustainability and Climate Practice Leader Jennifer Steinmann said.
Maintaining cybersecurity measures
Furthermore, the focus on data privacy and security is also seen to accelerate. According to Whittaker Associates, the focus on data privacy and security is set to accelerate as much as digital transformation does among businesses.
“Businesses are investing in robust cybersecurity measures and privacy-compliant data practices to protect sensitive information and build trust with consumers,” Whittaker Associates President and CEO Dean Whittaker wrote on the firm’s website.
Leading enterprises are taking action by implementing a combination of strategies and tools aimed at identifying risks, as well as increasing their employees’ awareness of potential risks.
In particular, according to the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), integrating AI in cybersecurity means enterprises must strike a balance between the technology’s advantages and disadvantages to the enterprise itself. Training employees on how to utilize AI technology is one way to achieve this.
Also, cloud security or cloud-based solutions remain well-known when it comes to storing and protecting data. ISACA reported that more organizations are leaning into cloud-based solutions because of their scalability and cost-effectiveness.
Keeping remote and hybrid work
While companies are implementing the return to office policy, remote and hybrid work arrangements are still seen to continue.
According to Mr. Whittaker, companies are more likely to reevaluate working spaces, corporate policies, and team structures to embrace remote and hybrid working models, focusing on prioritizing digital collaboration tools, innovative office designs, and employee well-being.
This workplace revolution calls for organizations to focus on adapting to changes while also creating a culture that empowers individuals and addresses their needs and goals as employees.
“The workplace revolution is in full swing, and we can expect more companies to experiment with four-day weeks, creative employment models, and hybrid work patterns. For their part, individuals will be looking for more fulfilling work and for opportunities to make career shifts all the way through,” LBS said. — Angela Kiara S. Brillantes