Prepare for 2013 by Taking Care of the Basics
Contributed by Andrew Bart
As the business environment becomes more global in nature, competition is increasing not only within the US but worldwide. Our world is definitely becoming a smaller place, economically, politically as well socially. Events such as environmental warming, wars, regional (e.g. European) debt crises as well as extreme poverty are impacting each of us no matter where the original event takes place.
With the “smaller world” as a stage, what do companies of all sizes need to master in the rapidly approaching new year?
The three drivers that will become more and more important in the next fiscal year are;
Let’s address each one separately. The use and importance of technology in business has been on the increase for many many years. Not only is technology facilitating cost reductions and thereby helping with the overall bottom line, but in some cases technology is allowing brand new business to be formed. One prime example is Amazon. In this particular case Amazon has actually replaced brick and mortar book stores. This particular result is not necessarily desirable but is certainly proof and an indicator that business should adapt and embrace technology. Of course all of the relatively new web “market plaza” is an indication of how technology is a major driver of new ventures and models of evolving enterprises. Less than twelve years ago, many of these web sites were not even dreams.
With a world wide infrastructure based on technology it is becoming more important for successful businesses to continue to be innovative. Catching up and a me-too attitude will no longer be sufficient to attract and retain the client base. Demanding customers continually require fresh products. The “cool” and new features totally drive the marketplace. As a technical executive it amazes me that the expectation from Apple Inc. is a new iPhone every year. As we all know if Apple could not keep up with this pace their customers would start migrating to their competitors. I would like to suggest that most successful enterprises will have to be aggressive about their innovation and R&D efforts.
While not a recent concept, customers will continue to look for value. With the ability to easily compare prices for similar products, the companies that can provide the best value for their clients will win all the time. Unfortunately, loyalty will not be sufficient to retain the following as it has in times past. Part and parcel of value is quality. Products and services will need to maintain the highest quality otherwise customers will quickly change to the competition. In this era of rapid communication reputation is very important to retain since bad news travels very fast.
While the upcoming business years present a very exciting environment, the participants will need to keep their eye on technology, innovation and value to ensure that their organizations remain a viable and growing entity.