As a futurist focused on the intersection of business and technology, my job is to look to the future and advise companies on how to serve a rapidly changing world.
Here are the top seven challenges every company should address in 2023:
1. Inflation and recession
Headlines are already full of soaring inflation, a trend that is likely to continue in 2023. Many economies will stagnate or shrink, and businesses need to prepare for this reality.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Kristalina Georgieva has reported that the organization has lowered its forecast for global growth of 2.9% in 2023. The IMF pointed to rising risks of financial instability and recession.
Companies can combat inflation by building end-to-end, actionable spend visibility by business process, function, cost category and business unit, as well as reducing spend.
2. Supply chain security
Supply chain security is another key concern. The challenge started with a COVID-related backlog and was made worse by a labor shortage caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and mass resignations. This makes parts and products more difficult to obtain and drives up prices (eg, energy, grain, computer chips, oil, etc.).
According to an Accenture report, supply chain issues could cost the entire euro zone a cumulative gross domestic product (GDP) of 920 billion euros by 2023.
Companies should resist the urge to overorder to make up the backlog, which could make the situation worse. Instead, focus on recovering long-term and realigning your needs to prevent similar shortages in the future.
3. Raise customer expectations
Customers are demanding a more immersive customer experience in the real and virtual worlds.
Customers who come into a brick-and-mortar store don’t just want to buy a product—they want an unforgettable in-store experience. If your company has a brick and mortar store, consider adding more immersive experiences.
Online retailers should consider adding extended reality (XR) experiences, such as virtual fitting rooms, allowing customers to “try on” clothing, accessories and cosmetics without leaving their homes.
No matter how you interact with consumers (online, offline, or both), ask yourself, “How can we add more value to our customers by turning that interaction into an experience?”
4. Accelerate digital transformation
Artificial intelligence (AI) is already starting to enhance all of our businesses, and this trend will continue to accelerate next year. At the same time, other technologies such as 5G, blockchain, cloud, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are building and accelerating AI, and they are all reinforcing each other.
This is rapidly creating a world where technology is developing faster and faster. In response, every business must see itself as a tech business. Companies need to redesign their processes and ensure their employees have the skills needed in a world where we increasingly collaborate and work with capable and intelligent machines.
5. The battle for talent will intensify
Speaking of employees – companies in 2023 must prepare for a continued onslaught of talent. We’ve been hearing about the “war for talent” for years, but now it feels like it’s deepening.
Companies across all industries are facing huge gaps in the vital skills of the future, and they will need to reskill or upskill large numbers of their workforces in preparation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Companies can and should take responsibility for training talent, taking steps such as directly hiring off-campus personnel, using low-code or no-code software to address critical needs, and instilling a culture of continuous learning.
On top of that, the pandemic has made many people reassess their jobs, leading to mass resignations in many departments.
To attract top talent, employers must offer a work environment fit for the new world of work, including job flexibility, true leadership, diversity, and more.
6. Data and Device Security
Cyber attacks are on the rise, and ransomware and phishing scams are now common. As businesses become more digital, they accumulate more data, which is extremely attractive to cybercriminals who intend to steal data and hold organizations hostage for monetary demands.
Mobile and IoT devices are not immune to cybersecurity threats. Also, quantum computing is on the rise, which could render existing security systems obsolete.
Companies can protect themselves by taking proactive steps, such as evaluating their data backup and recovery processes, conducting penetration tests and vulnerability scans, and taking proactive steps to protect sensitive data and prevent cyberattacks.
Climate change is the world’s biggest business challenge, and consumers are demanding transparency on sustainable practices and greener products and services.
Companies can respond by looking at the full picture of their business practices and auditing their complete supply chain. They should also consider switching to renewable energy, switching to more sustainable packaging, and allowing people to work remotely when appropriate (which helps reduce emissions).
Becoming more sustainable not only meets consumer demand, it also helps you discover efficiencies and savings that can positively impact your bottom line.
To stay on top of the latest emerging business and technology trends, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter and follow me TwitterLinkedIn and YouTube, and check out my books Tech Trends in Practice and Business Trends in Practice, which just won the 2022 Business Book of the Year award.