The future is not now, the future is constant.  We’ve always been chasing the future, wondering what is going to happen, how it’s going to be, how we are going to survive.  For some reason, the guesses from the past had us wearing foil-inspired clothing and “moon boots”—maybe not too far off with Uggs, but we’ve dodged a bullet so far on the metallic garb. 

1953-house-of-futurefull-paleofutureTechnological advancements are probably a more exciting thing to ponder.  According to the Jetsons, we should have flying cars and robot maids by now.  There are cars that can fly and drive themselves, although they are not common…not yet, anyway.  And don’t forget the Roomba.  Cats love it, I promise.  But we are far away from the space station ranchette.

But what of the future of business and the technology that will drive their businesses more efficiently, more effectively, and with more innovation or intuitiveness? It’s not as exciting as a Mr. Fusion on the back of our Deloreans, but it’s still necessary to consider and prepare for the future of business and its operation mechanisms.

Staying modern is something that all businesses must attend to, regardless—it’s not just the work of creatives to figure out —it’s how you stay competitive and relevant.  Barring supervolcanoes, a direct hit by a mega asteroid, or some other cataclysmic event, there will always be a tomorrow relatively similar to today.  To stay modern, though, is not truly anticipating the future, it’s just keeping up with everyone else. 

Who is driving change and how can you be part of the movement forward?

Good question.  There is no way either of my grandmothers, born in 1911, could have imagined a thing like the internet.  Who knows what we will be working with in the far future.  In the near future, we know this:

Social Media – it’s not going away any time soon.  It’s likely to go through several phases and fads of popularity.  Hire someone to stay on top of these trends and be there when they take off.  Right now you should probably have a business presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and depending on your business, Pinterest, Yelp, or YouTube.  Seems like Google + is becoming less popular, as is FourSquare.

People are always going to drive your business, as employees and customers, people still matter to whatever industry you are in.  They are going to run it or use it, and sometimes both.  People are also the greatest variable, because they are so unique and motivated by different stimuli.  Your employees need to be happy, engaged, and given the tools and information they need to work as efficiently as possible.  Old tools can often be a hindrance, so stay on top of technology in-house.  Go ahead and plan on investing in upgraded hardware and software on a regular cycle.  Customer service is always going to be at the heart of making clients happy…as times change, they are going to expect to get whatever they need from you easily, readily, and reliably. 

Accessibility in various media and formats is going to be necessary for a good long while, too.  Someday we might be able to do everything electronically with our phones or magic key fobs or by pure voice activation, but until that day comes, you need to provide access in a variety of forms—primarily via mobile devices, but also web-based.  You still need to have a way to interface with another human by telephone, because not everyone is okay with chatting or waiting on emails, because…

I predict there will be a movement among some in society to withdraw from so much technology.  This retraction may create a gap in your revenue if you don’t pursue those people who are leaving.  They may love the concept behind your product, but then, when they choose local/green/natural alternatives to what you are providing, you must be prepared to “go there.”  There are many industries that may be less affected by such a withdrawal of clientele, but if you are one of them, it may serve you well to consider how you will manage to make yourself seem more human, more approachable, and more conscientious of the community and environment.

The other side of that coin is dealing with expansion—globalization has been here for a while, and that makes the whole world your marketplace.  As more and more people become “connected” globally, there will be more and more opportunities to provide those people with your services and/or products.  Are you ready for the increase?  What is the capacity of your systems to handle an influx of interest?  To support a foreign language?  To ship products internationally?  Growth planning is likely already a part of your business plan, but creatively stepping beyond the normal pathways and into new frontiers is what can really expand your business to new and unpredicted levels.  Staying on top of trends here is going to keep you competitive.

Security may be the number one concern for the future of business operations.  It might be the number one concern right now, as we all know with more and more companies dealing with massive security breaches happening nearly every other week.  Staying ahead of hackers to protect your business and your clientele is going to become increasingly pressing as society moves toward more and more electronic business interactions. 

ArchiTECH Solutions specializes in supporting businesses as they move into modernization, globalization, and providing excellence in customer service.  We have extensive service implementing BPM products, improving CRM, and initiating Centers of Excellence.  Please contact us at orangebpm@architechsolutions or call us at 703-972-9155.