..And just like that, the year is coming to an end. 2019 shall be remembered as a milestone year, as the majority population in India learnt the true applications of a smartphone -- from video-streaming to eLearning to eConnect and ePayments. While telecom providers have enticed the ‘data-intensive’ appetite of Indians, the exponential growth in data usage and a number of connections have opened myriad business opportunities for ordinary Indians. Google and other technology companies are gearing up to be a part of this transformation. While the USA and China are indulged in trade wars, India empowered with its young population and a balanced government can emerge as the next ‘manufacturing’ hub of the world. Below are a few trends for the upcoming 2020:
Technologies are upgrading themselves at a breakneck speed. We live in times when the majority of today’s job profiles will cease to exist within the next decade. It is important to continuously upskill to remain relevant. For organisations, understanding how to use real-time information and analytics to make smarter choices will be the key to growth and survival. As the focus shifts towards mobile, companies do not have a choice but to invest in Mobile Analytics and Business Intelligence to measure and provide a seamless product (customer as well as employee) experience. Finally, while Cloud Computing continues to influence analytics, organisations must prepare themselves against the impact of the Internet of Things, AI and Machine Learning would have on analytics.
As human resources occupies its rightful place at the high table of their organisations, employee wellness shall remain their focus. In an era of cost-cutting, wellness programmes aimed at easing work-related stress for employees will result in lowering of costs at multiple levels. Stress-free and engaged employees are more committed towards realising their organisation’s goals. Surveys have proven that organisations employing a highly engaged workforce show higher profitability. Furthermore, employees will appreciate their management for ensuring access to the right tools, support and resources. A sense of accomplishment, warm collaboration within teams and a clarity of their contribution to the company’s success shall motivate the employees to better themselves. On the other hand, human resources have an important responsibility to stave off the workforce from burnouts. Finding the right work-life balance is crucial. In such a case, employee wellness programmes will become a chief catalyst for employee retention.
Corporate world has been speaking about digital transformation for over a decade now. In the meanwhile, leaner start-ups have mushroomed around and changed the rules altogether. The biggest hurdle with digital transformation remains the legacy infrastructure in use within organisations. It is a high-stakes game and senior management will have to take tough decisions to stay in business. This will entail not only adopting newer leaner technology models but also measuring their reverberations on the existing information hosted by the organisations. Applying the right technology is crucial as one needs to get every stakeholder on-board to build a cohesive system. Moving forward, organisations will have to display agility in planning against the frantic pace of technology innovation and its resultant impact on the legacy system.
As the world continues its journey towards turning digital, erosion of privacy has been sticking out like a sore thumb. Governments are running against time to enforce strict laws against privacy infringement. The most recent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is one such example. With augmented data management becoming a reality, it will be challenging to regulate growing Data Appropriation. Speaking of organisations, with most hosting cloud-based technologies – be it CRM, Dropbox, etc. it will be necessary to enhance cyber security features of such platforms. Going by the threat of data theft, cyber insurance shall find increased acceptance in 2020. Do not be surprised if passwords become obsolete in the coming years. While most data-sensitive businesses – like banks have moved to a double-authentication system, organisations too are shifting towards biometric and one-time password generation in order to establish authentication.
Green is the new Black
The past few years have led a silent revolution in favour of sustainable alternatives. 2020 will see a transformation from status-based ‘green’ consumption to a more widespread awareness and applications of the alternatives. In the past few months, airlines have chucked out the usage of plastic bottles; hotel industry has discontinued plastic usage in packaging of toiletries, governments are banning single-use plastics etc. Smart appliances – home or offices, are contributing to reduce the carbon footprint. Tesla and its competition is working overtime to shed usage of fossil fuels in running vehicles. With the lowest capital cost per MW globally, India is fast developing off-grid solar power as an alternative to carbon-based fuel. A sustained communication strategy and ‘shame’ associated with ‘living in the past’ will create much-needed awareness to embrace this ‘Green’ revolution.
It is evident that 2020 will be a year of transformation. It will challenge the established norms with ‘smart’ technology seeping into every nook and corner of businesses around the globe.
Nilesh Gaikwad is Country Manager at EDHEC Business School, France. He can be reached at .