It’s that time of the year again and the prognosticators are out in force. Do you have a real vision for what you want the iconic 2020 year to deliver for your business? If not, never mind; we have you covered: these top five trends are what we believe will be the disruptive change bearing down in Australia’s mid-market organisations over the next 12 months and beyond.
1. Customers come to the fore. This might seem obvious, but all too often customers are neglected. For example, in one Gartner study customer focus is way down at around 10 per cent of activities being focused on by CIOs. In 2020, customer-centric activities will start to overtake other functions, even from where the CIO is typically focused. Boards and executive teams will refocus their activities on customer-first strategies as they react to disruptors in their market who are getting customer engagement right.
2. Intelligent insights for all. For too long mid-market companies have struggled to get insights from the data they already have. 2020 will see artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI & ML) driven insights gather pace, based on acquired customer and business data. For example, last year Microsoft announced support for AL and ML in its Power BI suite of analytics tools. Such availability is driving companies to really focus on data-driven decision-making.
3. Marketing to muscle up. Given the continued concerns about market trends and subdued growth, companies wanting to get the edge and break out of the growth curve to reach customers better, will be keen to ramp up their marketing, advertising and digital engagement in 2020. Traditional channels will expand into product and service ecosystems, especially in the social space. A good example is the rapidly growing transactional volumes on platforms like Alexa and Instagram where a marketing campaign can result in direct sales for instant ROI.
4. Employee happiness gets digital. In recent years, wages have struggled to grow and operating costs continue to be tight. In 2020, how will mid-market leaders keep their employees engaged? A big step forward will be through digital engagement, just like what is happening with customers. We can expect a growth in employee engagement platforms and capabilities, especially among the array of SaaS platforms already in use.
5. New fintech forces strike. The last movie blockbuster of 2019 might be the final Star Wars saga, The Rise of Skywalker, but when it comes to money, the disruptive forces in banking and finance are waiting to fire in 2020. With the annus horribilis for the big banks drawing to a close, neo banks and fintechs, focused on being different, more customer-centric and delivering outcome-based services, will start to come to the fore. This will be enabled by changes such as mandated next-gen payment capabilities like the New Payments Platform (NPP), and new data sharing regulations coming into play throughout 2020. A wide range of additional payment options are also presenting challenges to online businesses, which must now cater for new payment types (and new institutions) like Alipay, WeChat pay and crypto currencies.
How does your plan for 2020 look? If you’re thinking about these initiatives and have some strategies for letting them play out, we’d love to hear about them in the comments.
- Anthony Woodward is founder and Chief Executive Officer of Accelera