These Two Trends Will Put an End to Business as Usual in 2020

Where did the last decade go?  Seems like it was just 2010 and I was writing about the future of business in 2020, well it is now here!  I’ve spent much of my career in finance/accounting and management consulting and the last decade+ helping companies link their business and technology strategies with a focus on data and analytics.  Where will we head in 2020 and this next decade? Seems almost unfathomable to look at the next 10 years, so thought I’d focus on 2020 and maybe it will be clearer this time (no pun intended).

As I look at the year ahead, many thoughts come to mind by looking at the past on how businesses can better leverage technology, specifically data and analytics for innovation in the age of digital transformation. At the macro level, which businesses and industries will succeed in this ever-changing world, and which will thrive or fall behind?  One thing is for sure, those who aren’t prepared to adapt with the times will be left behind or constantly working to catch-up.

Whether you are a B2C or B2B company digital will continue to play a significant role in the evolution of business models and business value creation. Customers have been in the driving force for the last couple of decades; however, what is rapidly changing is the data and the new interactions with data from digital platforms, connected devices, connected machines and connected employees.  The speed in which companies need to make decisions or take action is critical for competitive advantage whether you are an insurance company, bank, healthcare provider, retailer, manufacturer, telcom, utility or government entity. Companies need to be able to anticipate/predict what customers want, need and quickly fulfill have the greatest opportunity to be most successful.

So thoughts on how this will happen?  In 2020, we’ll see two major trends augment the standard way of doing business through:

1. Connected Product/Service Offerings

Over the last decade we saw consumer focused industries working to solve and evolve their business interactions with the “the digital customer/consumer”. Companies are seeing their supply chains are no longer linear as consumers are now driving what goods and services are needed as consumers are looking for a variety of products and services to be provided from a connected ecosystem.  An ecosystem is where a variety of products and services are offered on one platform for a holistic experience to the customer/consumer/buyer.

Over the past few months, I have seen a growing shift of B2B organizations learning from and adopting B2C strategies in order to stay relevant and ahead of the curve with their customer base. Companies are developing new product offerings for business and lifestyle needs.  We’ve seen the products and services from the sharing economy to the evolution and new offerings from the car manufacturers with their subscription car programs. 

For example:  BMW with Access, Porsche’s Passport program and Care by Volvo.  These companies have taken a previously linear process to now: consumers (individuals and corporate customers) go to the dealership or online, select the car they want, and purchase for a subscription amount with flexible contract terms  with the option to exchange the vehicle based upon their needs on any given day. Insurance, roadside assistance, and repairs all included in the subscription fee via an ecosystem built by the car dealership with the insurance company and others.  

While many say this is just a modified lease program offering it is providing the car companies a new “stickiness” with the customer and need for new insights and prediction capabilities.  One needs to accurately predict inventory levels to meet customer needs on any given day, negotiate insurance rates and have real-time insights into cost components to ensure profitability and understanding customer driving and lifestyle needs.

The hospitality and hotel industry is an amazing example of utilizing Edge2AI capabilities for increasing guest satisfaction, reducing operating costs for utilities, maintenance and insurance.  Smart sensors and timers are used to check for lights that have been left on in a room, gauge room air quality, identify and shut-off leaky faucets to setting the television on the guest’s favorite channel when they enter the room.

2. Businesses Will Build New Digital Ecosystems to Evolve the Value Chain

2020 will be the year we see more companies evolve their value chains. How businesses used to think of products – and the actions and steps they’d take to develop them – will quickly evolve as more businesses move to an “as a service” focused model. With this fundamental shift, businesses will create their own communities and ecosystems with other businesses, collaborating and working together to deliver an all-encompassing service.

A great example of a digital ecosystem is connected homes, phones, cars, police, city governments, and healthcare providers.  PingAn Insurance which is brought together financial services, real estate, auto and health for a digital ecosystem to better serve the collective needs of their customers supporting B2B, B2C and C2C.

Lead, Evolve or Status Quo

There’s no doubt that 2020 will be an exciting year to be in business. In a shifting climate, those who stay agile will thrive with new business models that adapt to the changing desires and needs of their customers.  Connected 

Those in the driver’s seat with an eye on the road ahead with the ability to learn from the past with the occasional glance into the rear-view mirror will be leading the pack.  Some companies will continue to slowly evolve or even remain status quo. But what is important for all companies — the key is to focus on business insights with a data and analytics lifecycle which can effectively  “Collect, Enrich, Report, Serve and Predict” supported by an enterprise data cloud providing flexibility and ensuring your data and analytics needs are proper data privacy, governance and security.

Cindy Maike
Cindy Maike

VP Industry Solutions

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