This is a list of trends and our thoughts on how 2022 will likely SMEs and empower them to work better with their customers and employees. It does not include emerging Web3 technologies like the metaverse, blockchain, and cryptocurrency, as these are trends that we will explore separately.
This first part is for Business Operations leaders that want to emerge as change-makers within their business and transform their operations to become more efficient and cost-effective. Following this are trends for Marketing Operations, and finally, we will explore Business Strategy.
#1 Flexible workforce will drive hybrid cloud adoption
If you are working hybridity or remotely, you must safeguard your operations online and ensure privacy, security, convenience and scalability. This means that on-premises legacy data centres or purely public cloud solutions will not work.
Hybrid cloud infrastructure combines public clouds, on-premises computing, and private clouds to provide greater agility and support to remote teams. Besides agility, which is the primary benefit of a hybrid cloud, this type of infrastructure drives costs down and accelerates the digital transformation of the business.
#2 Hybrid workforce tools will make you more productive
Employee portals, knowledge management systems, internal communication tools and workplace analytics will play a bigger role in 2022. With hybrid or fully remote work on the rise, you will need an employee portal for seamless employee onboarding, training, self-service knowledge management and mental health tracking to empower your team to work better.
Having visibility on employee activity within the employee portal, you will gain valuable insights on engagement, productivity or issues that require attention.
#3 Excellent employee experience drives success
Business operations leaders will face a more significant talent shortage and a shift in employee demands. Providing the support, strategies, and tools that employees need to advance in their roles, improve their working conditions and achieve a work/life balance will directly impact your business’ performance. Happy employees equal happy customers, better performance and higher productivity rates.
If you truly understand the significance of providing a great employee experience, you can scale sustainably and win new talent, retain employees and beat the competition.
#4 Achieve greater innovation with low-code tools
Combining low-code / no-code tools and professional developers will give you a competitive advantage by spending less time solving simpler problems and focusing more on building transformative solutions. Digital products or services built with low-code applications shorten the time to market and help you gain a competitive advantage as they become more time and cost-effective.
#5 You will invest more in AI and Business Process Automation
Implementing AI is an increasingly essential business function in 2022 and beyond. Automating repetitive day-to-day tasks will address the talent shortage and employee productivity issues and help you become more efficient and achieve significant cost savings. And, AI is not just for major corporations with deep pockets. SMEs can also become AI-friendly and benefit from automation by starting small and automating the process that would make the most significant impact. Do you need help deciding which business process to automate? Reach out for a free consultation call today.
#6 Legacy system modernisation becomes a priority
Legacy systems that slow down operations and cost businesses time and money had no place in 2022. Businesses will prioritise legacy system modernisation to prepare themselves for the hybrid future and sustainable business transformation. Will you?
How we can help
- Technology, data and process audit: Identify areas of improvement and what your team needs to become more productive, agile and efficient.
- Employee portal: Improve employee experience and get everyone on the same page. From accessing essential content, documents and self-service functionality to live chat, case tracking and analytics.
- Business process automation: Drive efficiency, maximise performance and lower costs by leveraging our technology to automate time-consuming processes.
- Legacy system modernisation: Stop wasting money and time on systems that don’t work. Transform them into modern, intuitive, secure, fast and scalable solutions that will empower your team to do their best work.
In this part of our tech predictions for 2022, we will discover which trends and strategies will impact Marketers and Customer Experience professionals.
#7 Customers expect even better digital experiences in 2022
A global survey by McKinsey found that COVID-19 has accelerated the digitisation of interactions by several years. Also, generations no longer play a key role in technology adoption and digital activities. The pandemic forced people of all ages to digitise many actions, such as attending a meeting, grocery shopping or taking an exercise class. Therefore, customers are more accustomed to digital experiences, expecting even better ones in 2022 and beyond.
#8 Customer Experience will evolve to be more empathetic and anticipatory
Businesses will continue to provide personalised experiences to their customers but will become more sensitive to the customer’s situation. Due to hyper-personalisation and technologies like geo-tracking and device listening, people often feel violated and irritated. In 2022, businesses will prioritise human-first experiences that are more anticipatory rather than responsive, more human and empathetic and feel less invasive.
#9 Businesses will design for privacy
With customers being more protective of their data and privacy and strict government regulations around data, businesses need to change how they collect and use customer information. Digital solutions such as websites, portals or digital services should be designed with user privacy at their centre. This requires embedding privacy into the design, transparency and visibility, end-to-end security, privacy as the default setting, and user-centricity instead of business-centricity.
#10 The importance of Omnichannel grows further
The lines between our digital activities and real life have begun to blur. And this is the main reason why an omnichannel strategy is so crucial in 2022 and beyond. Customers should access, use and purchase your products and services across several channels and devices, from mobile apps, web browsers, and social media to text messages, Smart TVs, virtual assistants etc.
In 2022, SMEs with limited resources should choose the channels, devices and platforms they want to offer their products or services and create a seamless, consistent, omnichannel experience to increase sales and customer loyalty.
#11 Self-service portals will shape customer service
Self-service customer portals provide customers with more power, choice, autonomy and convenience and improve their digital experience with the business. Using self-service portals, customers can access, use or purchase your digital products and services, consume content and find solutions to their challenges.
An excellent digital self-service can decrease the number of support calls and boost customer engagement with your brand, resulting in long-term ROI, customer satisfaction and reduced support costs.
#12 Digitisation of marketing and sales material
In 2022 businesses should enable their marketing and sales teams to digitise their pitch material. Bringing their presentations and credentials online and making them interactive will help them win more customers and make the team more efficient. Pitch presentations can be turned into landing pages where prospects can interact with content, watch videos, and complete Calls To Action (CTAs). At the same time, your team can gain valuable usage and engagement analytics to understand what works and what doesn’t.
#13 Customers will prefer businesses that offer accessible experiences
There isn’t a simple “one size fits all” for digital or hybrid experiences, and businesses need to commit to accessibility standards. Making their websites, portals, digital products and services accessible to people with disabilities is essential. In this way, brands will be more inclusive, reach a broader market, comply with the law and offer a better experience for everyone.
How we can help
- Audit customer engagement: How engaged are your customers with your brand? Do they enjoy the experience? Are they satisfied with your products or services? What do they want you to improve? Learn these and more with a customer engagement audit.
- Customer experience: Provide personalised experiences that are designed for your customers’ data & privacy, gain a 360 customer view of your customers and offer an omnichannel experience to delight your customers and win new ones.
- Data security and privacy: Ensure that your customer’s data is collected and stored in secure locations and all your customer-facing applications are designed with privacy at their centre.
- Customer portal: Provide a portal that your customers can use to access, use or purchase your digital products and services, track key metrics, make support requests, consume content and collaborate directly with your team.
- Interactive pitch materials: WOW your prospects with digitised pitch materials to interact with and make the sales process interesting, fun and dynamic.
Our third and final list explores which technology strategies and trends will help businesses transform, adapt and win in this new reality.
#14 Hybrid products and services to become the new norm
We are facing a hybrid future where product/service consumption, work, interactions and life, in general, will become increasingly integrated. Businesses will transform outdated service offerings into hybrid digital/physical offerings to improve customer satisfaction and create new opportunities for profit.
#15 Increased focus on de-risking digital projects from the start
Businesses have invested millions in digital transformation and new technologies over the last decade, especially during the pandemic. Not all of these projects have succeeded. In fact, most of them have failed. And from now on, we will see an increased interest among business leaders to safeguard their investment from the start, asking digital agencies and vendors for more transparency, cost and time certainty before the digital project starts.
#16 Audits are back and here to stay
Due to the common digital project failure, businesses will start auditing their operations, customer and employee engagement, technology, and experiences to understand what needs improvement before committing to an expensive digital transformation programme.
#17 Businesses will adopt new models
By transforming products and services into hybrid offerings, businesses open new possibilities for profit. We expect that the subscription business model will be one of the most popular and lucrative for companies of various industries. Subscription-based models enable businesses to connect with their customers better and keep them returning to purchase. It also provides a better deal for customers as they enjoy products and services on demand, most of the time from their home, effortlessly and at a lower cost. And businesses should remember that convenience can be a great differentiator. Just think of why we all use Amazon or Netflix.
Subscription models are not just for entertainment companies and SaaS/PaaS businesses. They can work for other types of companies in healthcare, retail, food, professional services, education, and so on.
#18 The emergence of privacy-enhancing computation
As mentioned earlier, we expect 2022 to be the start of businesses providing personalised experiences that respect customers’ data and privacy. This expands into the wider business environment, including employees, partners, supply chain and third parties.
Privacy-enhancing computation is a method that secures the processing of people’s data in untrusted environments. It uses various privacy-protection techniques to allow businesses to work with personal data and extract value from it while satisfying compliance requirements.
#19 Disaster recovery and business continuity will be a priority
Businesses will continue their efforts to become more agile and anticipatory. They will strive to reach a position where they are not preparing for “something that could happen” in the future but establish strategies with actional-dynamic steps that will prevent them from suffering after the crisis happens. It’s about having the right technology, strategy, partners and mindset to act when crisis strikes, from security breaches and technology issues to health, financial and organisational difficulties.
#20 Tech vendors and digital agencies will be under the microscope
Due to a significant shortage of software engineers and technical talent, companies will struggle to form successful in-house teams. Outsourcing or augmented teams will be the best solution in most cases. However, choosing digital agencies and tech vendors will be even harder and longer, so businesses can ensure digital project success and cost certainty.
#21 A war for knowledge worker talent
The struggle to find knowledge workers will increase globally, forcing companies to change and adapt. Adopting a hybrid model and culture will be advantageous, but businesses will try other radical solutions like shortening the work week. They will invest in automation, advanced knowledge management systems, and internal communication to improve efficiency and connectivity. At the same time, the tools used for remote work provide insights that help managers measure and improve their team’s performance.
#22 Tech budgets will increase
With all the above trends dominating 2022, businesses will increase their tech budgets to stay ahead of the competition, delight and retain their customers and win new ones. Gartner predicts that tech budgets will grow by 3.6% in 2022, the most significant increase in a decade.
How we can help you
- Audit the market: Understand where the opportunity lies, what your competitors are doing and what you can improve and transform to win new customers and retain existing ones. Build a robust strategy and become future-ready.
- Design and build new products and services: If you want to digitise a previously manual and outdated service, improve the customer experience, delight your customers and win new ones, reach out to our team. We help you bring your ideas to reality.
- Develop new business models: Take advantage of new business models such as subscription-based, dynamic pricing, and flexible or fixed cost to unlock new opportunities for profit and stay ahead of the competition.
- Improve employee experience: Attract and keep top talent in your market by using battle-tested strategies, technologies and processes.
Talk to us about your project.