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The past few years have posed immense challenges and brought about considerable change for businesses, and this trend will continue in 2023. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, economic instability, and rapid technological advancements are all issues that companies will have to grapple with. The following business trends will have the most significant influence on the way we work and conduct business in 2023.

Inflation and supply chain security

Experts forecast that the global economy in 2023 will remain saddled with inflation and sluggish growth. This is a result of supply chain issues caused by the global shutdowns due to Covid-19 and the impact of the war in Ukraine. Companies must improve their resilience by reducing exposure to volatile market pricing of commodities and building protective measures into their supply chains to deal with shortages and rising logistical costs.

Companies should create a comprehensive map of their supply chain to identify any risks of supply and inflation. They can then explore ways to mitigate these risks, such as utilizing alternative suppliers or in-sourcing production, particularly if they are reliant on manufacturing from overseas.

Accelerated digital transformation

In 2023, we will see a continuation of advancements in digital technologies such as AI, IoT, VR/AR, cloud computing, blockchain, and 5G. These technologies will combine in new and innovative ways in order to enable augmented working, remote and hybrid working, company decision-making, and automation of routine, manual, and creative workloads. This will result in the creation of “intelligent enterprises” that are able to perform menial and tedious tasks in the most effective way possible.

Businesses need to utilize the right technology to stay competitive, as AI and other cutting-edge technologies can allow for more effective marketing and sales, improved customer service, more efficient services, and products that are better suited to customer needs, and streamlined manufacturing processes. These technologies are now available in ‘as-a-service’ models through the cloud and accessible via no-code environments. By 2023, the barriers to accessing them will be lower than ever.

Immersive customer experience

By 2023, customers will place a greater emphasis on a more immersive experience when choosing, purchasing, and enjoying goods and services. Price point and quality will still play a role, but technology will be used to create more interactive experiences that involve the customer more deeply. This could involve recommendation engines and online customer service portals, but with a focus on creating an immersive and interactive experience.

The metaverse is a term used to describe the “next level” of the internet, where people interact with brands and other consumers through immersive technology such as 3D environments and virtual reality. Examples of this could include virtual dressing rooms and augmented reality to show how clothes will fit on the actual body. These trends will have an impact on both online and offline retail.

Businesses are increasingly recognizing the importance of experience as a fundamental component of their strategy. This has led to brands appointing “chief experience officers” to make the experience a fundamental part of their business strategy, reflecting the growing emphasis on experience. Additionally, businesses must also consider employee experience in their strategy as competition for talented workers intensifies.

Sustainability

As the effects of climate change become more evident, it is becoming apparent that the climate disaster will be a much larger challenge than any we have experienced in recent decades and will dwarf the challenges posed by the Covid pandemic. This has led to an increase in conscious consumers and investors who prioritize factors like ecological impact and sustainability when making purchasing decisions.

In 2023, companies will need to ensure that the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) processes they implement are at the core of their strategy. This includes measuring the impact of their business on society and the environment, increasing transparency and accountability, and setting clear goals and timeframes for reducing any negative impacts. The evaluation and plans should go beyond the boundaries of the company and take into account the ESG credentials of their suppliers. For instance, the environmental repercussions of cloud service providers and the data centers companies utilize should not be overlooked, as the ecological effects of these resources are often ignored.

The talent challenge

The past year has seen a large number of talented people leave their jobs, creating pressure on employers to provide attractive and flexible careers, hybrid work, and a positive work environment and culture. In order to remain competitive in 2023, employers will need to offer fulfilling work, growth and learning opportunities, flexibility, and a diverse, value-oriented workplace.

The digital transformation is leading to increased automation in the workplace, which has significant implications for the skills and talent companies need in the future. This will require up-skilling current employees, as well as hiring new people with the necessary skills to adjust to the new landscape.

Businesses must address the large skills gap in fields such as data science, AI, and other tech areas to ensure they have the data and tech-savvy workforce necessary for success in the future. At the same time, businesses must provide their employees with the training they need to work with smart machines and also to cultivate their uniquely human skills, such as critical thinking, creativity, interpersonal communication, leadership, and empathy, that cannot be automated.