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Despite the big disruptions of the last years, we take the leap and predict the digital trends for 2023 which will see many markets still adjusting to the "new normal".
A 360° customer view is important for all businesses to learn from their customers' behavior, proactively support and deescalate and enable employees to generate positive customer interactions.
However, this transparency is not only needed for customers but for all operations, stakeholders, and processes to generate numerous necessary and optional advantages:
A full overview on the entire tech stack, all vendors, contracts, and more can help a company gain transparency of all costs and enables it to optimize those, e.g., by identifying superfluous contracts or features, switch providers or make use of hidden support options and functionalities.
Especially global companies often struggle with a coherent brand and customer experience which is why standards are crucial to uphold a basic level of quality and keep the company voice alive. However, these standards can only be upheld if the company has transparency over all used templates, assets, and workflows in place which is why centralized platforms for marketing, service, sales (and more) can do wonders.
Bottlenecks, dead ends and complex approval processes can often hinder efficiency. It's quite natural, that those things exist and will always exist, but companies still can prevent the worst by creating transparency over workflows and processes as well as communication channels and check them for optimization potentials now and then.
Data usage but also access to data and tools can only be properly secured if all users and channels are being monitored and controlled. This also includes connected systems by third-party vendors and even mobile phones, etc. used by employees, partners and clients. Speaking of which ...
Transparency and artificial intelligence are the dream team to fight the constant increase in cyber attacks and ransomware. Smart security systems track all processes, systems, and connections and are able to identify unusual activities to notify security personal, send out information mails to users (e.g., to change their passwords) or counteract any harmful threats.
Additionally, in the context of a Security Operations Center, AI can support learning from mistakes to create a stronger system that fixes its own gaps and weaknesses continuously.
Given that hackers also use AI generated content to gain access (e.g., phishing messages and mails), companies and organizations need to fight them with AI-based solutions that:
Our Cyber Security experts help you evaluate your security readiness, implement the right technology and offer security services for a 360° security concept.
We often talk about industries lagging behind the digital transformation while others thrive and innovate but aside from lack of prioritization, a lack of the right solutions for specific industry requirements can be a big reason why companies and organizations refuse to "go digital".
Depending on the countries a company is active in, the industry, and even the specific portfolio, contract, object, and data management can look completely different. Out-of-the-box solutions usually are not enough and need to be customized but not every company has the right resources or implementation partners to not just ensure a technically sound solution but also include all legal, compliance, and functional requirements to make sure that the new digital platforms and systems actually generate more value and increase productivity.
That's why more and more tech vendors and their wide partner networks are turning their focus on industry templates and solutions that can be implemented faster and without need of too many customizations. Gartner has even listed industry cloud platform as one of the big 10 strategic technology trends for 2023 saying:
"Enterprises can use the packaged capabilities of industry cloud platforms as building blocks to compose unique and differentiating digital business initiatives, providing agility, innovation and reduced time to market, while avoiding lock-in."
Sustainability was a big trend for 2022 and it will continue being not just a trend but a necessity in the years to come. Climate change is happening, demands for a more ethical approach to production, technology and living in general are increasing and companies and organizations are slowly realizing that often enough, sustainable solutions also have the positive side effect of being cost-effective as well.
Our Spotlight Series this year, which took a look at the digital readiness of the countries of our DIGITALL locations, showed that the use of technology for more sustainability has been increased, especially in Eastern European countries. So, what does that mean?
The previously mentioned 360° view on processes and objects combined with the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning (via the Internet of Things) can support in monitoring and optimizing energy consumption. A smart IoT system could identify when, for example, a building needs to be heated and automatically adjust to safe energy (and costs). Even more so, this technology can be used both by B2B and B2C customers with individuals gaining more control over their resource consumption and being able to monitor and adjust it.
Already, the sharing economy (combined with other factors) has caused a lower demand in car ownership and has the potential to impact other markets as well. Giving people the opportunity to use and return products could help fight fast fashion (and other) trends that are cause of not only ecological issues but often are closely attached to human rights issues throughout the production chain.
With the development of the internet, 5G, cloud-based services, the spread of smartphones, and current trends such as the meta-verse and blockchain, the amount of energy spent to keep all the processes going has increased manifold and is currently unsustainable.
Developers need to include sustainability as a core requirement of everything they develop. Energy-consuming processes like blockchain technology needs to find alternatives that consume less energy (including the high amount of emissions caused by cooling these servers).
Technology itself can be created in a more sustainable manner, from finding alternative resources for production up to finding ways to reduce the energy consumption, emissions, etc. Lengthening use cycles, so people don't feel the need to buy a new laptop, smartphone, TV, etc. each year and creating tech in a way that makes it easier to repair it instead of replacing it, will very likely be a big topic in the following years not just economically but also politically.
Gartner put adaptive AI on its big 2023 list, so let's take a look at this truly interesting trend. Opposed to the standard self-learning AI, adaptive AI is able to revise its own code and therefor basically control not just what it is learning (and how to use these learnings) but even how it is learning.
“Adaptive AI systems aim to continuously retrain models or apply other mechanisms to adapt and learn within runtime and development environments — making them more adaptive and resilient to change.” (Erick Brethenoux, VP Analyst at Gartner)
Personally, I think this is an incredibly exciting field whose success will depend heavily on a trend I mentioned last year: getting rid of the AI black box and enabling a completely transparent overview of the AI's processes and decisions, so people still are able to correct. After all, the last years have shown clearly, that the best algorithm can get out of control within a short amount of time.
Low Code or No Code are applications that allow people to create their own apps, designs, workflows, etc. without using high programming skills. In fact, many CRM, marketing automation, and even content management systems already use low code/no code solutions in one way or the other. According to Gartner, the market for low code dev technologies is expected to grow 20% in 2023.
The main advantages are obvious:
Communication is key and one of the biggest areas of AI development (read more about it here). With the automation of many marketing activities in recent years and at the same time seeing the increase of power that influencers have over any audience's brand and product preferences, it's time to go beyond the standard personalization techniques and concentrate more on communication that feels more like an interaction.
Conversational marketing can be broadly defined as using real-time conversations (mostly via chat, social media, SMS or messengers) to create a direct relationship and quicken the buyer journey in the digital space just like a sales rep or shop assistant would in a store.
As Matt Ramerman puts it in his Forbes article: Conversational marketing is the new direct marketing.
"Designing purposeful customer interactions that invite and welcome customers to have a conversation with your brand, and to ask questions or modify a product offering or incentive so it fits their interests and needs."
Conversational marketing also tries to move lead generation away from forms and tedious research and turn the classic lead generation steps to a more organic conversation. In theory, this is a great way to engage potential and existing customers.
In practice, this often is a thinly veiled lead gen form that simply is worded a bit differently. It's therefore crucial, that marketing doesn't just put a one-way conversation on a conversational channel and call it "conversational marketing". Instead, customers should actually get conversations that allow them to react and change the flow and content.
As such, chatbot technology combined with AI is a crucial part of conversational marketing but should not be relied upon 100%. A hybrid approach that offers a smart self-learning chatbot that is smart enough to hand over to a human contact if needed, is usually preferred by customers.
With Reels taking over Instagram and Facebook, TikTok dominating social media trends and new platforms for a younger audience popping up constantly, the social media landscape has already shifted massively in the last three years. However, Elon Musk's Twitter takeover and Zuckerberg's "mea culpa" regarding Meta's revenue losses, the field for new (and old) competitors is pretty much open to shape the race for the biggest cultural influence and audience
It's therefore pretty much impossible to do any forecast except: there will be massive changes happening in 2023. Whether these involve the establishment of new social media platforms or the transformation of existing ones is up in the air.
For companies and organizations, however, it's clear that a healthy approach to these changes should be a diverse approach. Don't bet on one single platform, try to identify and manage the channels that your target audience uses and evaluate your current approaches to see if you might want to change directions next year. Plan ahead and set up processes in case you have to quit a platform without losing engagement and traffic.
First and foremost: keep an eye on trends and be critical when it comes to hype topics. Yes, the metaverse is part of nearly every single trend list for 2023 but it also is currently an empty space with sub-par visuals, no working business models and it has been a gigantic investment failure for Meta and Zuckerberg. Maybe don't invest in it just yet and see which social media platforms actually drove trends and business this year outside of the opinion pieces by people who urgently want the metaverse to succeed.
The DIGITALL Blog takes a look at the state of digital transformation by analyzing markets, new trends, best practices, and the cultural shift in companies, organizations and target audiences. Subscribe and receive weekly mails with the newest articles in your inbox.
Juliane Waack is Editor in Chief at DIGITALL and writes about the digital transformation, megatrends and why a healthy culture is essential for a successful business.
by Juliane Waack
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