The last couple of years we have seen the rise of numerous new trends, some of which have persisted through the initial hype and built a loyal following, while the others are nothing more than a thing of the past. Most of these trends revolve around information and the way it gets delivered to the end user, whether it’s big data and extrapolation of useful information from it or AIs ready to answer any question we have using natural speaking patterns. Here are some of the most exciting and promising trends we expect to continue being on rise in 2017.
Mobile becomes increasingly more important
In 2015, Google published a report which stated that more than half of all Google searches have been performed via mobile. Google has acknowledged this rising trend by tweaking its search algorithm to favor mobile and responsive websites over desktop-only ones. What this means for businesses is that they should follow suit and start optimizing their technologies to cater to mobile customers and develop apps that replace their desktop-based activities.
Regarding the internal business structure, there are numerous document and customer relationship management tools available that allow working remotely, but how many of them have a mobile app that is more than a simple port of its desktop counterpart? Another mobile trend that has been sweeping the nation are mobile payments and mobile money transfer apps, which help customers complete their transitions in a quick and secure manner.
Big data will continue to dominate the market
The last two years were flooded with numerous headlines that contain the words “big data”. The reason behind this is simple: companies have finally realized that they were sitting on information gold mines and started developing tools to use and monetize that information. That said, simply possessing this large amount of data is hardly useful unless companies can use it to find new and exciting market opportunities, execute various product and service tweaks or target their customers with an even larger precision. It is safe to say that in 2017, we’ll see more tools like these being developed that will be able to provide their users with an unprecedented insight into their existing, as well as potential customers.
Digital CRM options
No matter the size of the business, it can hardly survive in this day and age without a proper customer relationship management strategy. An adequate CRM system has the ability to enhance the customer experience by using a number of different services which allow business owners to streamline internal business processes by delivering all the customer data in a single location. This data can later be used to help automated marketing efforts and further improve your marketing campaign’s targeting focus.
Businesses will focus more on user experience
Customer communication and relationship are extremely important, as they result in a positive user experience. Google’s SEO guidelines are pretty adamant when it comes to customer experience and any company which provides its customers with a subpar experience can expect to be demoted or completely removed from the search results. Besides websites, most companies today also have their own apps. The average app user expects any action to be completed in a swipe or two, no matter how complicated this action actually is on the backend.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how good your products or services may be if your customers aren’t provided with an excellent user experience. All that a business has to do in order to improve the experience for the users is to simply ask them about their wants and needs and whether their needs have been met by said product or service. Once this information is obtained, it can be used to drastically improve not only the user experience, but also the very products and services you’re trying to sell to your customers.
The workforce will become virtual
The virtual workforce trend is gaining traction as time goes by. This claim is further supported by collaboration platforms and productivity applications such as Basecamp and Slack and social management platforms like Buffer, which already uses this kind of technology to support its completely distributed team. This does not mean that you necessarily have to split up your entire team. Rather, this technology can be used to drastically increase the size of the talent pool when you’re looking for someone to fill in a position or when outsourcing tasks.
Automation and smart machines
One of the most disruptive transformations currently taking place in the tech industry has to be the introduction of automation and smart machines in work-related, everyday tasks. More traditional robotics has already been used in various industries with the most prominent one being the manufacturing sector in order to execute tasks deemed too dangerous or repetitive for the average worker. We already have smart machines in the form of smartphones that are able to recognize our voices and provide us with information using a rather natural manner of speaking.
However, unlike the conventional, voice-activated, menu-based systems we’re already used to and use regularly, cognitive agents can process the words we say, learn from them and adapt to the situation appropriately. AIs that can detect and recognize the emotional state we’re in are already being developed. This trait can be used to help those suffering from depression or even be used to detect and prevent suicide attempts. It won’t be long before we see this technology being used to increase security by, let’s say, using a smart HID reader able to actually recognize the user without them having to carry around an ID.
These are just some of the more interesting trends that are currently being developed. What’s interesting is that almost all of them include two distinct things: cutting down on the workforce while keeping the productivity on a satisfactory level and dissecting the customer info in order to provide them with a better experience while purchasing products and using specific services. What can be concluded from this is that trends regarding businesses and customers will not only prevail but will be the main talking point over the next couple of years as well. But we’ll find that out soon enough, won’t we?