Three Imperatives for Successful Businesses in 2019

Lloyd Adams, Managing Director, East Region, SAP North America

The world of technology today has drastically evolved from what it was a year, or even a month ago – that’s the rapid pace of change that companies have to adapt to in order to stay afloat. While previously unexplored advancements can surface at the flick of a switch, several constants have taken hold, dictating how and when companies can operate in today’s marketplace. Here’s a list of developments I see unfolding further in the new year as well as how leaders can get ahead of them:

  • Experience will reign supreme

Other the next year we’re going to see an expansion in lines of business – like marketing, HR and sales – combine more sources of data to better enable them to connect with customers, job candidates and prospects. They’ll not only use transactional data (e.g. what they’ve purchased) but also experiential data (e.g. how do they feel about certain topics) to ultimately fuel greater empathy and a more complete understanding of the individual. I predict that the technology enabling this will leap forward in the coming years. And that will equip people to engage with one another on a far more meaningful level – leading to a far richer customer experience.

  • Brands that stand for nothing will be left behind

Purpose and the potential for brands to enact positive change isn’t anything new, and we’ve seen corporate citizenship and traditional CSR efforts become part of many companies for decades. But now we’re seeing that consumers are demanding more – they will support with their wallets companies that are authentic and accountable and punish those that aren’t.

  • Data ethics will become more important than data analytics

Consumer frustration with companies mishandling their personal data will drive forward-thinking companies to double down on ensuring ethics remain at the forefront. We’ll see these companies pause to consider whether the customer would be comfortable with the way their data is being used, and they’ll shift to an emphasis on forging relationships based on trust above all else. Technology will continue to advance to aid personal relationships rather than replace them, and goodwill will become even more of a competitive differentiator.

In short, business leaders in 2019 should take steps to go beyond being a good corporate citizen and authentically link their brand identity to purpose, mindfully leveraging technology in ways that spark world-changing concepts and seek to generate a powerful experience for customers, employees and others in their ecosystem.

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