Top Trends Businesses Have to Look Out for in 2019

Operating in the VUCA Paradigm

Businesses around the world have been having a turbulent time for the last few years. Technological acceleration that has upended entire industries and disrupted markets has meant that businesses now have to operate at the speed of thought.

This is likely to continue in 2019 with the VUCA Paradigm or the Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity aspects coming into play.

Businesses now have to deal with extreme volatility brought about due to economic and market trends as well as the very real uncertainty that is being caused by the rise of populist politicians and the slow disappearance of export led trade which is now leading to domestic focus for many Multinationals.

Indeed, with all the Trade Wars and the Retreat from Internationalism, hitherto export led businesses are now compelled to look for customers within their home markets.

Thus, volatility is here to stay and it would be better for businesses to adjust and adapt accordingly. Next is the extreme uncertainty being caused by technology that is now accelerating exponentially which means that businesses can no longer afford to think laterally.

On top of that is Complexity brought about due to the maturation of the Economic and Financial System that has spawned an entire class of exotic financial products the workings of which are understood by only a few.

Lastly, the convergence of all these trends means that Ambiguity is here to stay and in response, businesses do need to either simplify their processes or have a grip on the ambiguity.

Embracing Agile and Rise of Market Sensing and Intuiting

The next trend that would impact businesses worldwide is the rise of Agile Methodologies which when adopted to organizational processes makes them responsive and sensitive to fast changing external and internal changes.

Embracing Agile means that businesses now can Intuit and Sense market trends better than before and more importantly, makes them flexible and adaptable to Digital Age trends.

Agile means that businesses now Roll In all the functions into modular teams that consist of Developers, Testers, and Implementers which make them elastic enough to respond to client needs.

As each team is self containing and self sufficient, businesses are better placed to react and respond to client requests thereby shortening the Lead Times it takes for new products and releases. The likes of Amazon and Netflix are already using Agile for scalability and speed of response to market requirements.

Why Cyber Security would be on Top of the Checklist for Businesses

Another key trend that businesses have to watch out for in 2019 is Cyber security. Given the rise in hacking incidents, it is but natural and indeed, inevitable for businesses to devise appropriate strategies which would help them in protecting valuable and confidential consumer and user data

Indeed, with the stakes so high for such data not to fall into the wrong hands, we expect a renewed focus on strengthening the systems within the businesses and ramping up counter measures to combat theft of data.

Moreover, it is also the case that Data Security would become a function in itself due to the heightened risk of breaches.

Managing the Fallout from the Very Human #MeToo Movement

Having said that, it is not only the Digital trends that would affect businesses and there are Age Old problems of Gender and Racial Discrimination that would affect how they operate.

With the increase in the number of women and racial minorities in the workforce, businesses have to walk a Tightrope as far as managing and actualizing a workplace culture free from harassment.

Towards this end, they have to ensure that they put in place Checks and Balances to both prevent and punish perpetrators of sexual and racial harassment.

Moreover, with the #MeToo movement showing no signs of abating, businesses have to be on their guard as far as dealing with the fallout of such instances is concerned.

Media Management in Times When Media Set the Agenda

Talking about managing the fallout of any scandals are concerned, businesses in 2019 have to contend with renewed focus by the media of all types and stripes on their activities.

Indeed, given the fact that we now live in a media driven environment where social media dictates the agendas, businesses have to be very astute in their media management strategies.

Further, they literally have to be on the lookout for each new Tweet and Facebook post as well as Breaking News on TV is concerned. This would demand much effort and time and the worst part of this is that even staid and venerable businesses cannot escape the media scrutiny which would in turn lead to the Digital Darwinism wherein businesses that cannot adapt would wither away.

Digital Darwinism and Creative Destruction

Lastly, Digital Darwinism is the term that comes to mind when peering into the future and looking ahead for 2019 is concerned.

As evolution has chosen the fittest and most capable of the species to survive, the Digital Age too would ensure that the Survival of the Most Adaptable, Most Fittest, and Most Lean of the businesses leaving behind the others who like the Dodos could not adjust to the new realities.

Moreover, Creative Destruction would also chip in which means that in the year ahead, we can see major surprises as far as the survivability of the businesses are concerned.

As the trends described here converge, it is inevitable that those businesses which do not have the stamina to run the race would be left out in the cold.

To conclude, we expect 2019 to be an interesting year for businesses with clear indications that it would be pretty rough on some.

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