Most readers don’t know this, but I can see into the future. Following a freak accident involving my Twitter feed, highly charged gamma rays and a radioactive spider, I gained the incredible ability to identify top business trends that will affect our economy in the year ahead.
Okay, so maybe this information comes from good old fashioned research and not super powers, but that doesn’t change the larger-than-life impact these innovations are poised to have on the way companies do business in 2017. Look into the future and prepare for the year ahead with these five business trends heading your way:
Big, Bigger, Biggest Data
While big data is nothing new, the opportunities to gather and utilize a wide range of customer and client information are only growing. As more social media platforms, personalized product offerings and ways to consume meaningful content sprout up, the amount of data to dig through will only become more abundant. However, as we’ve learned after a year of now-famous polling miscalculations, the real key here is not only having data, but understanding what it means. Businesses will need to invest in the right talent to give meaning to the numbers and better connect with their audiences in 2017.
Join the Crowd(funding)
Who doesn’t love sneak peeks? Think about it; before we ever see a movie, we’re given a taste of what’s to come with endless leaked details from the cast and crew and weeks of trailers chock full of action. It’s this love of the teaser that’s driving one trend most people might only think relates to charitable fundraising – crowdfunding! Crowdfunding, or funding a project by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people online, is actually on pace to surpass more traditional fundraising methods, such as venture capital. By engaging with a small, yet vocal group of consumers early in the creation process, businesses are learning that they can jump start new developments, while consumers get a taste of what’s to come.
Who Needs Email, Anyway?
There are more ways to communicate than ever, both personally and professionally. Personally, you’ve probably been used platforms such as Facebook Messenger, Google Chat or Snapchat to keep in touch with those close to you. Professionally, more offices than ever are linking coworkers with internal collaborating tools, such as Slack or Skype for Business. All of this innovation in communication means you might be seeing less emails fill up your inbox.  Finding the best way to reach coworkers and external audiences alike will be a huge challenge for all businesses this year.
Automation Celebration
From taxi services to the everyday functions of a home, more and more activities are being automated to make our lives more efficient. Artificial intelligence is only going to get smarter as the technology moves forward, and businesses are going to need to adapt to a brave new world of driverless cars, non-human chat bots and an overall shift towards hands-off ways of completing numerous tasks.
Let’s Get Uber Personal
However, as automation takes over, businesses that can make a personalized impact will continue to stand out.  Customer service that goes a step beyond will always make a bigger impression than any piece of technology alone. Consider recent advances in ride sharing; how comfortable would you be hopping in a car without a picture and a profile to complete the experience? Businesses will need to take the customer experience a step further by embracing the customization of innovations. Using the expansive data profiles being collected to tailor products and services to specific client and consumer tastes builds trust and puts innovation into real action.
We may not know exactly what the future holds, but odds are these trends are going to be a big part of doing business in 2017. What do you see in store for businesses in the year ahead? Share your thoughts below!