2021 and Beyond: Business & Tech Trends To Watch

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Tremendous innovation is happening around us and I am hopeful for 2021 and beyond, despite the crazy time we live in (COVID, elections, murder hornets.) Some of this is ready for use, and some not, depending on how you feel about adoption of innovative technology. Author Geoffrey Moore wrote Crossing the Chasm, dealing with innovation diffusion and why companies buy technology. An explanation of the different groups that companies fall into with graphic is below:

  • Innovators and Early Adopters are willing to take risks to create significant financial returns.
  • Early Majority consider themselves smart technology consumers, but they want to see some evidence the solution will work.
  • A chasm lies between the Early Adopters (EA) and the Early Majority (EM), with the EM wishing to deal with market leaders.
  • Late Majority watches the Early Majority and waits for the cost to come down.
  • Laggards adopt technology only when forced.
Curve

Where are you and your company on this curve? We know from looking at the curve that most consumers are part of the Early and Late Majorities. It’s important to know where you fit into that model. You’re not going to be happy with the risk of purchasing a technology solution that’s in the Early Adopter stage if you’re a Late Majority customer.

I’ll go out on a limb and review three technology-enabled trends that are worth watching:

  • Remote workforce – I expect the remote workforce to remain elevated, even after the perception of danger from COVID subsides. My question: why don’t we perceive that in some roles, a remote workforce is more efficient than the on-premises counterpart? It appears many of us are Laggards (above) when considering working remotely. For some roles where face-to-face collaboration is essential (e.g., sales), it’s not as attractive, but in other cases, lagging adoption is simply a lack of an innovative approach. Technology companies certainly know how to make this work. Why not others?
  • Everything as a Service (EaaS) – We’re all used to technology as a service (SaaS, IaaS, etc.), but what about business services? EaaS is different from retainers in that it’s a subscription model more focused on a sustainable relationship between a client and provider, versus a specific project. Wouldn’t client and provider each benefit from a relationship based on predictive engagement versus responding to problems? Would one monthly price for financial, tax, technology, and consulting services work for many companies? I think so, but it will take some Innovators and Early Adopters to figure it out and demonstrate the value.
  • Cybersecurity – I daresay if it weren’t for COVID and the elections (and perhaps murder hornets) cybercrime would have been the top story this year. Trends are telling us that threats are escalating, especially ransomware. Cybercriminals are Innovators (and with the emergence of Ransomware as a Service, also Early Adopters) hence a fundamental problem for the rest of us. We need to counter that with our own innovation. I think AI-enabled tools for cybercrime prevention is the best bet. Educating your workforce to prevent phishing is good, but I predict the bad guys’ tools are going to get more sophisticated. Here’s one area where we should all be Early Adopter/Early Majority consumers.

As always, let me or one of the partners at BKM Sowan Horan know if we can assist you with planning for your innovation for your growth and profitability.