Adviso came into being in 2002. Back then, the thing every company wanted was a website. Since then, the world of digital has evolved tremendously and it’s hard to even pretend we can predict exactly what the next 15 years will bring.
Digital is disrupting organizations, that’s nothing new, and the disruption is far from over. Many a person has tried to predict what the future holds only to find themselves submerged in confusion. To understand why, just look at two predictions from the same source. For example, in 2017 Gartner predicted that the Internet of Things (IoT) would hit the “Plateau of Productivity” within two to five years, then flip flopped a year later, now predicting a five to ten year window for this to happen.
In this context, who better than our clients to give us an idea of the actual concerns organizations have about the future? That’s why we decided to send our clients a survey about how they see the future. After all, our tagline is “Your future is our present.”
I’ll start by emphasizing the fact that a large majority of our clients are confident about the future, and don’t see digital as a threat. If anything, it’s the opposite. In fact, some see it as a way to work more efficiently or as something that’s occupying a larger and larger space in their daily professional lives. Now that we know there’s nothing to worry about on that front, let’s go a little farther.
As I mentioned earlier, 15 years ago, everyone wanted a website. So it seemed only natural to ask our clients what they thought they would want in 15 years. We got lots of different answers to this one, however a certain consensus started to emerge. A few trends appeared several times in the answers we received, but if we had to narrow it down to three, it would undoubtedly be artificial intelligence, robotization and open data.
Whether that’s a reflection of current trends or a real look at the future, we couldn’t resist… We needed to dig deeper!
By narrowing down our questions, we realized that beyond technology, the ultimate goal for many of our respondents was the same: to stay ahead of their customers’ needs. Some even talked about doing away with pre-existing products and instead developing products based on the real interests of consumers and, in doing so, offering them what they actually want by anticipating their needs. It would seem that the consumer will increasingly be at the heart of companies’ thoughts and actions.
A second important point to mention about our clients’ expectations for the future is that, not only is personalization going to start playing a more important role, but there’s an expectation that things will happen in real time. Some people talked about knowing where customers are in their customer journey down to the second and others talked about having a direct, solid and unique connection with consumers (emotionally and technologically), or even about more evolved human-machine interfaces. The brain-computer interface that Gartner mentions in its hype cycle might not be that far out, in the end…
We are convinced that digital’s greatest potential lies in profound transformations that necessarily exploit opportunities in every part of the organization. That’s why it was completely natural for us to question our clients on how they imagine digital will impact all the different parts of their business in the years to come. The results showed that not all areas are thought to be impacted to the same extent; some are expected to have a more tumultuous future than others:
Perceptions about the future:
The question that comes immediately to mind after all this is: what are we missing today that would allow us to make efficient progress? To answer that, here’s a list of the elements deemed highest priority:
Something else that might surprise you about the answers we received has to do with the fact that more buy-in from management emerged as one of the things respondents were least concerned about. This is surprising considering the statistics and information we usually see when we’re talking about the challenges of digital within organizations:
Over the course of our work, or simply in our discussions with clients, certain subjects come back time and time again: Should I sell on Amazon? How can my brand stand out more considering I sell a commodity product? Faced with these questions, we couldn’t pass up the chance to ask our clients how they see their relationships with the giants of the web (ex : GAFA) over the next 15 years. The results, while relatively mixed, might come as a shock considering the concerns we see people express every day. Essentially, we might have expected these giant companies to be perceived as competitors, but that doesn’t seem to be entirely the case:
We’ve seen it in all our questions, the future of the organizations that participated in our survey seems promising as it relates to digital. A few hot topics emerged, and the context in which we’re evolving (Great Montréal, world leader in Artificial intelligence) almost certainly has a role to play. The most important thing to retain out of all this is that the companies we surveyed seem confident about the future, a future in which digital and the interests of the consumer are likely to become more and more important. The notion of “customer first” is a chapter that is far from ready to close. The thing that seems most up for discussion, we noticed among the different observations, is not so much what is coming, but how it will be done and the role of human intervention in the equation. Deep transformation is definitely on the horizon. Let us help you with yours!