According to the Annual 2017 Business Trends Survey conducted by WGA Consulting, LLC, of which 1195 executives from large cap companies participated, there are some prevailing trends in 2017. Companies will focus on operations or plans that will increase their competitive advantage and add value to them. At the top of the list of hot trends in 2017 the focus of companies is on employee engagement and customer satisfaction, the concern of future cyber-attacks and the negative impact for the companies, and the direction of companies over the next two years towards expansion for growth instead of cutting costs. Furthermore, there is a general inclination towards development of IT technology, tools, and data analytics that could help the organizations retain their positions in their industries, make the best fact- based decisions, and grow. However, nothing is possible if no extra efforts are placed in the right vision, mission, strategy and culture. These components act as the strategic compass for the organizations’ successful future.
2017 Business Trends to Watch
In 2017, companies continue their efforts to improve employee engagement. An engaged employee is one who is enthusiastic and fully committed to his job, working hard to achieve organization’s goals and improve brand image. Employee engagement is a competitive advantage for a company through its people. The top three drivers that the organizations should focus in order to maintain or increase employee engagement are career opportunities, brand alignment, and recognition. Companies are launching initiatives to ensure their workplace approach results in the right conditions for all members of an organization to give of their best each day. The better the work environment for a company, the bigger the profits in the long run. Efforts to increase each employee’s commitment to their organization’s goals and values and keep them motivated to contributing to overall organizational success continues to be a high priority.
As we move towards the digital business world, the number of Internet users along with portable devices is constantly increasing. Hence, the number of cyber-attacks is expected to rise. Companies are highly concerned about a potential cyber-attack or privacy data breach in 2016 and the impact that these incidents could have on them. A data breach is a security incident where sensitive, protected or confidential data is intentionally or unintentionally released to an untrusted environment. These incidents can be catastrophic for a company, as customers may not feel secure working with them in the future or they may lose their competitive advantages that led them to success. Existing standards of the cyber security world will need to adapt to the current threat situation. However, in a digital world, security cannot be a hinder for progress and innovation. Companies need to understand that is not possible to operate in a 100 percent secured virtual environment. It is essential to identify their key assets and to focus on how to protect them. Cyber defense of companies need to be prioritized, well-targeted, and risk based. The most crucial action that companies will consider in 2017 is the anticipation of attacks with threat intelligence, and the establishment of robust incident response processes, in order for their operations to remain intact or resume as fast as possible after the incident, and eliminate consequences.
Focus on IT Technologies
The rapidly growing and advancing IT industry will affect businesses in 2017. Globalization continues apace, new regulatory and compliance requirements appear, and organizations want to keep up with the environment and competition. In 2017 companies are expected to invest even more in harnessing emerging technologies and applying them to their business roadmap. Companies will focus on developing IT tools (ERM, CRM, etc.) and analytics and on building IT technologies to implement their platforms with insights they get from data mining. By focusing on big data analytics, companies will be able to retain their position in the industries, make the best fact-based decisions, prepare for future changes, and global growth. This 2017 trend aims to merge the real and virtual worlds and take advantage of the changes in social environments. Organizations this year are expected to build software defined applications, storage and data centers, in order to improve their operations. This year we will notice that organizations will try more effectively to leverage breakthroughs in science to use for their business strategy.
Over the past 20 years there was a perception that in order for a company to improve performance and eventually grow, it had to follow a cost cutting strategy. Cost cutting strategies include measures to reduce company expenses and improve their performance. However, the ongoing trend in business in 2017 and 2018 will be planning for expansion. Organizations are searching for new opportunities in order to grow. They are trying to identify how to take advantage of emerging or niche markets, which can offer promising returns, and reach new customers globally. This year, companies are expected to focus on prioritizing strategic growth through expansions, and this priority should drive their investments. In order for the ventures to be successful they will need to line up their costs with their goals and deploy their resources accordingly, effectively and efficiently.