As a futurist specializing in the intersection of business and technology, my job is to look into the future and advise companies on how to prepare for a rapidly changing world.
Here are seven challenges every company should prepare for in 2023:
1. Inflation and economic downturn
Headlines are already filled with talk of soaring inflation, and the trend is likely to continue in 2023. Many economies will stagnate or shrink, and businesses need to prepare for this reality.
Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), reported that the fund lowered its forecast for global growth in 2023 to 2.9%. The IMF pointed to rising risks of financial instability and recession.
Companies can address inflation by establishing end-to-end, actionable visibility into spending by business process, function, cost category, and business unit, as well as reducing spend.
2. Supply chain security
Supply chain security is another key issue. The challenge started with a COVID-related backlog and was made worse by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and labor shortages caused by the Great Resignation. This makes parts and products harder to come by and drives up prices (eg, energy, grains, computer chips, oil, etc.).
According to an Accenture report, supply chain problems could result in a cumulative loss of €920 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) across the euro zone by 2023.
Companies should resist the urge to overorder to cover backlogs, which could make the situation worse. Instead, focus on long-term recovery and align your needs to prevent similar shortages in the future.
3. Raise customer expectations
Customers are demanding a more immersive customer experience in the real and virtual worlds.
Customers who enter brick and mortar stores don’t just buy products—they want a memorable in-store experience. If your business has a physical store, consider adding a more immersive experience.
Online retailers should consider adding extended reality (XR) experiences, such as virtual dressing rooms, that allow customers to “try on” clothing, accessories and cosmetics without leaving their homes.
No matter how you interact with consumers (online, offline, or both), ask yourself: “How can we add more value to our customers by turning this interaction into an experience?” value?”
4. Accelerate digital transformation
Artificial intelligence (AI) is already starting to enhance all of our businesses, and this trend will continue to accelerate next year. At the same time, other technologies such as 5G, blockchain, cloud, IoT, etc. are building and accelerating AI, and they are all reinforcing each other.
This is rapidly creating a world of ever-increasing technological advances. In response, every business must think of itself as a technology business. Companies need to redesign their processes and ensure their workforce has the skills needed in a world where we increasingly collaborate and work alongside capable intelligent machines.
5. The battle for talent will intensify
Speaking of employees – companies of 2023 must be prepared for a constant onslaught of talent. We’ve been hearing about the “war for talent” for years, but now it feels like the war is deepening.
Companies across all industries face large gaps in skills critical to the future, and they will need to reskill or upskill large numbers of their workforces in preparation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Companies can and should take responsibility for training talent, taking steps to directly hire people right out of school, using low-code or no-code software for critical needs, and instilling a culture of continuous learning.
On top of that, the pandemic has caused many people to reevaluate their jobs, leading to mass resignations across many industries.
To attract top talent, employers must offer a work environment that fits the new work environment, including job flexibility, authentic leadership, diversity, and more.
6. Data and Device Security
Cyber attacks are on the rise, and ransomware and phishing scams are now commonplace. As businesses become more digital, they amass more data, which is extremely attractive to cybercriminals intent on stealing that data and holding organizations hostage to monetary demands.
Mobile and IoT devices are not immune to cybersecurity threats. Additionally, quantum computing is on the rise, which could render existing security systems obsolete.
Companies can protect themselves by taking proactive steps, such as evaluating their data backup and recovery processes, conducting penetration tests and vulnerability scans, and taking proactive steps to protect sensitive data and prevent cyberattacks.
Climate change is the world’s greatest business challenge, and consumers are demanding transparency about sustainability practices and greener products and services.
Companies can respond by looking at the full picture of their business practices and auditing their entire supply chain. They should also consider switching to renewable energy sources, moving to more sustainable packaging, and allowing people to work remotely when appropriate (which helps reduce emissions).
Becoming more sustainable not only meets consumer demand, but also helps you discover efficiencies and savings that can positively impact your bottom line.
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