New technologies and consumers: Trends to expect in 2015

Over the past few years, we have seen the proliferation of new technologies to impact more and more aspects of our daily lives, and this is only set to accelerate in 2015.

Despite the exciting possibilities presented by these technologies, there are a number of roadblocks in the way of their eventual adoption.

However, the opportunities for companies when it comes to Cloud, Big Data, the Internet of Things and other growing technologies cannot be ignored.

Overcoming any obstacles to gaining business value from these technologies will be of prime concern to enterprises over the next year.

The changing customer

Consumer’s expectations are ever-evolving and businesses need to work hard and keep up with their constant shifts in behaviour and needs.

What can businesses do to put them first and meet their expectations? Increasingly people expect both speed and personalised service and it can be difficult for businesses to work out what to prioritise, but a better customer experience is a must.

The key to fully integrating these digital channels will be the automation of big data. This means automating the collection of data but also liberating big data from the siloes and implementing big data analytics to gain proper insight.

Gartner was recently quoted as stating that "Big Data is entering the trough of disillusionment," and there is no doubt that finding the insights within your data is not as easy as you might think.

This is a challenge that needs to be addressed however, as the potential edge from big data will only go to those who seek to fully analyse and use this to inform their next actions based on these predictive insights.

Modern management and new business models

Changing customer needs and detailed analytics will require dramatic changes in management and skills.

Gartner predicts that by 2017, 70 per cent of successful digital business models will rely on deliberately unstable processes designed to shift as customer needs shift. Adjusting to an unstable consumer-led environment means many existing styles and skills will simply be outdated.

Away from the complexity created directly by consumers, we’ve also seen increasingly complicated software architectures created in response to the digital age.

Off-the-shelf and custom applications are needed for this to exist. The problem isn’t always the complexity itself, but the frequency of change which is increasing.

Businesses must use technology tools such as automation to profoundly shift how they operate, becoming agile, efficient, and disruptive in their markets. By bringing everything together and connecting loose ends, automation enables people to deliver the much-needed cost-saving that it needs, while simultaneously freeing up resource to focus on delivering value.

The risk and the opportunity

Those companies that don’t embrace new technologies risk permanently damaging their customer relationships and revenue streams as they fail to meet market need.

Transitioning to business automation is a significant step for any enterprise, and not one that will be taken often. It’s a detailed, strategic initiative that is going to involve much planning, testing, validating and lean business approaches to get right.

However, if you become one of those that understand the value of automation and involve it at all layers to address your most fundamental business challenges, you can free up immense internal resources to focus on driving business growth and innovation in order to create opportunities and out-perform the competition.

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Chris Boorman is chief marketing officer at Automic.