Economic recovery. Rapidly advancing science and technology. These and other trends will transform how business is done in 2016.
Here’s how you can keep up.
1. Protecting investments
In recent decades, organizations in finance and infrastructure have increasingly found that it isn’t a good idea to base their decisions entirely on expected return on investment (ROI).
They seek to actively protect their assets and investments with Risk Management. Rather than judging an investment on how much it is likely to pay off directly, organizations will also look at how much more it could cost if they don’t do something.
There is no direct payoff to investing in things such as increased bookkeeping oversight, or trimming the trees near power lines, but these initiatives are way less expensive than the fallout from a bookkeeping scandal, or fixing downed power lines in a storm.
Risk Management is increasingly influencing management teams in all sorts of organizations, especially when larger and more valuable assets and investments are on the line.
Hiring, salaries, and competition for talent are expected to continue rapidly increasing in 2016, and as organizations invest more and more on talent, they will also be more motivated to protect this investment.
It seems likely that the traditional focus on ROI (how an initiative might improve hiring quality or increase employee engagement) will be supplanted by Risk Management (how an initiative can reduce bad hiring decisions or prevent employees from becoming unhappy).
2. Products and services will be evaluated differently
“Proof of concept” and validation studies can establish the value of a new product or service.
But they often don’t add much insight beyond that—modern tech products don’t just work one way anymore.
This is slowly beginning to undermine the power of testimonials, case studies, and anecdotes in general.
Other people’s experiences are less relevant to your own. The best products and services are constantly updating and changing to meet everyone’s specific needs.
Just think about some of the most popular companies right now.
Google search, Netflix, airbnb, Uber.
Does it still make sense to evaluate them based on whether someone else used it to find what they were looking for? How does knowing that help you?
And it makes even less sense to ask whether they actually work. They do. That’s not even the right question to ask anymore.
As the best technology products and services in other areas continue to become more customized, they will be evaluated differently as well. Our decisions will be increasingly based on the power of the methodologies they use rather than on specific pieces of evidence that may or may not be relevant.
Even more interesting is that individual good or bad experiences don’t directly reflect the quality of the product or service itself. These experiences are data points to be collected and used to improve the offering. Instead of being particularly happy or upset right away, we just expect better outcomes in the future as a result.
3. People will expect more, sooner
Perhaps the most interesting theme throughout all of this is that everything is moving toward prediction and away from reaction.
We want to know what will happen and what to do—but further in advance.
We have seen many trends go from “cutting-edge” to “absolute necessity” over the years.
Does this include the things we discussed above?
It seems likely, but only time will tell.