Next year will be a year of focused revenue growth, streamlined time to results along the traditional cost optimizations. Organizations have learned where digital has delivered well consequently, they will be increasing their bets where results are more likely to carry the day. The emphasis on steady-state only results based on consistent KPIs will change to include more calculated innovations and emergent measures. Organizational visibility and insights will rule this year with stronger links measured from strategic direction to projects and operational results. Customer journeys, experiences, and feedback will be sharper, faster, and more frequent. Because of the skills scarcity and jobs becoming more complex base skills will have to be automated to free workers to take on more challenging tasks. Organizations have to be prepared for emergent scenarios as the world is much more dynamic and shifting. Innovation will be necessary at all levels even when pursuing focused goals and results because of change. Innovation will also be accelerated because of new easy-to-use digital capabilities.
Tight Integration of Direction with Results
Manging the synchronization between direction with the actual results is a constant challenge and both are changing dynamically. Not only must the direction be clear and repeated, but all must also understand how the direction plays out in operational results. The integration between actual results must be checked frequently and carried out with efficient communications. It means that the delegating of the monitoring and the adjustments necessary from operations must be in tune with the direction. It will require more than just collaborating managers with workers through a mish-mash of today's communications channels. The focus will require results-oriented communications that keep the stakeholder's results in the eyes and ears of everyone contributing. It is not only necessary for the business results, but for efforts and projects trying to improve the status quo. All of these are in constant flux and need constant attention. The emphasis for 2022 and beyond will be stakeholder-driven outcomes.
Competitive Customer Experiences
Organizations will have to change from tepid surveys that are after the fact to real customer journeys and delightful experiences that may not be synchronized with the established processes and procedures that are carried out by customer service personnel that act as buffers from the real experience and the rocky support systems that are often numerous and not designed for customers. Even in self-service situations, most organizations are just delegating the data entry to their customers to make the current and rigid processes or systems work. This perpetuates organizational silos and puts the burden of service on the customer. Keeping in mind that a real customer journey starts before it reaches your organization's door steps and often doesn't complete there is the first step in creating a customer experience that beats the competition. At your door step sentiment analysis using voice and video will gain in popularity.
Increased Skill Augmentation
It is getting more difficult to find workers that will perform the basic skills of a job. There is a definite shortfall in the number of workers willing to do some of the basic tasks. The movement has started to replace these basic skills with robots and software bots. This is an unstoppable trend because there is no satisfaction for the workers to do this kind of work. The workers that are already doing the basics become opportunities to take on more challenging work assignments. This will likely require additional training or augmentation of base skill sets with forms of smart automation and knowledge extension with the help of AI, data mining, and other forms of augmenting technologies. workers will be given insights and guidance in the midst of their tasks. This may be audio or video assistance in synch with the work included in pre or post-activity pieces of training.
Practiced Scenarios & Agility
We all know that the world was caught "flat-footed" by COVID. We saw supply chains designed for optimal conditions and no warehouses fall of their face. It was because nothing of that magnitude was ever anticipated and there was a bet that folks could manage to redirect and adjust if anything substantial occurred. The days of laying back and hoping for the best are gone. COVID may have been an outlier for generations past, but there are more coming with climate change, geopolitical events, and natural disasters. Many organizations will start the discipline of scenario planning and practice for such emerging scenarios. This is more than a fluke "black swan" event. We have been lucky in the past and our luck will run out.
Continued Business Innovation
Innovation is not only about dreaming about new ways to please customers and perform efficient business events/transactions. Innovation is applying creative approaches to solving real problems that get in the way of results. Digital technologies are no longer the domain of the technical, but they are tools in the hands of business professionals. Learning to leverage processes and data closer to business problems is now becoming a reality. As more technology emerges and business types pick it up, there is no telling how it will deliver results.
Organizations now have experience in successful in deploying digital solutions or have at least seen other organizations show success. It is my bet that organizations will be focused on where success has been demonstrated and they will leverage proven success heavily in the next few years. The lessons learned from threatening business scenarios will be leveraged by savvy organizations to learn to be better prepared for emergent situations. Digital will help cope with the challenges and opportunities as it is proving itself helpful on a number of fronts now.