Businesses have access to a range of different technologies to improve their relationships with customers. What will change in 2016?
The current relationship businesses enjoy with their customers and the wider consumer base is notably different to its past iterations. Now an ongoing conversation thanks to enterprise social media use, organisations have a number of different ways to engage with the public.
Naturally, this relationship won’t stay static for long, with a number of industry experts indicating that technology will only become more important to this relationship. From product creation and development to marketing initiatives, technology – and the professionals that support it – will continue to underpin these relationships.
In many cases, the investments in these ongoing developments will be as a result of consumer demand. According to Deloitte, the modern individual has high expectations for the way organisations should be able to function, meaning businesses need to be prepared to react to these changing trends.
What do consumers expect from an organisation?
Consumers have little patience when it comes to technical deficiencies that impact their relationships with organisations. For example, online stores that don’t work as intended can test the patience of potential customers or – in worst cases – drive them away entirely.
Deloitte investigated the areas where businesses will need to invest throughout 2016 to ensure they make consumers’ lives as easy as possible. Unsurprisingly, almost all of these involve a significant degree of technology investment and ongoing support.
According to the firm’s survey, many of these developments will seek to greatly improve the e-commerce experience for consumers, ensuring it’s even easier and more secure for people to buy things online. For example, Deloitte believes the number of cases where people will be able to use their fingerprint to authorise payments on a mobile device will rise by 150 per cent this year.
Deloitte Technology Partner Stuart Scotis believes that these changes will benefit both consumers and businesses. Where customers gain transactions that are faster, easier and more secure, organisations receive new channels to collect valuable data to improve their processes accordingly.
“In the near term, the opportunity is for business to use these technologies to enhance their current practices and improve the performance of existing software,” he explained.
“Businesses will be able to generate new insights from the data to both better meet customer expectations and automate tasks.”
What will be the next major growth market?
There’s likely to be no shortage of jobs for app developers over the coming 12 months as well. Organisations looking to stake their claim on the increasingly competitive app marketplaces should be directing their attention towards the video games for the most positive reaction.
According to research from Superdata, this is the largest video game market worldwide, overtaking the consoles and PC where the technology originated. The firm found that mobile gaming was responsible US$25 billion worth of revenue worldwide in 2015, leading Superdata to declare that this is now a mature segment of the market.
However, Deloitte provided an interesting counterpoint to the argument. While the total revenue for mobile gaming may be higher overall, it’s split between a massive library of games. According to Deloitte, the average mobile game earns $40,000 in revenue, compared to $4.8 million per console game.
While mobile, console and PC gaming will provide a stable market for software developers, there’s also an opportunity for professionals to be involved in bringing an emerging technology into the mainstream as well. Deloitte stated that 2016 will be the year that virtual reality continues to evolve. While it will remain an emerging technology mostly used by hardcore gamers, the devices are ripe for experimentation in other markets.
How will the workforce respond?
The need for organisations to satisfy these demands will put further pressure on an already competitive market for tech talent. According to software provider Accenture, 2016 will be the year of the “Liquid Workforce”, as recruitment trends evolve in an attempt to spread a small amount of talent across a growing job market.
The liquid workforce is one that is less reliant on traditional roles and employment arrangements, replacing long-term permanent jobs with more flexible and less static opportunities. Contracting and freelance work will be the hallmarks of this new job market, trends that will force businesses to reconsider how they meet their need for talent.
Accenture notes that many organisations are now preparing their workforces with change in mind, ensuring they can expand or contract the number of staff they employ at will.
These trends are taking hold in the US in particular, where freelancing and contract jobs are dramatically growing their influence due to their universal appeal for both candidates and businesses.
The other risk to the permanent workforce is the increasing role of automation. As many organisations are serving a customer base that relies on the speed and quality of their interactions with businesses, in many cases machines are found to be a perfectly capable substitute for people.
The key talking point is that the workforce is no longer a static group of people, and businesses that want to forge stronger bonds with their customers need to ensure they’re making the most of these trends.