By Simon Raik-Allen | Chief Technology Officer, MYOB
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been speaking to the media about the latest MYOB Future of Business report. In it we examine some concepts of developing technology that, until very recently, have been in the realm of science fiction.
Compiling the series, in which we typically look at least 20 years into the future, has been an interesting exercise that has created a lot of entertaining discussion. But there’s a very serious purpose behind it.
Although we can’t accurately predict every factor that will affect business even five years into the future, the trends in technology we are seeing now will quite radically transform business over the next two decades. The impact of increasing automation will pervade every part of our lives – from the jobs we do and the businesses we run, to the way we live and interact with the rest of our community.
Starting to think now about the possible long-term influences of increased automation, artificial intelligence and business technology is the only way businesses can prepare now to not only be successful, but also remain relevant as the world changes.
Just consider the disruptions we’ve seen take hold over the last five years. The taxi industry, the retail sector, hotels, airlines, telecommunications, printing – all transformed by new technologies, largely driven from the internet. Even human relationships have been completely changed by online technology.
So, in order to prepare your business for the future or ensure you are following a career path that will still exist and demand the skills you’ve established in the next ten years, it’s time to start thinking further into the future now.
In doing so, there are several practical steps you can take as a business owner to prepare now.
Digitise your business – Get online with a business website, and automate as many manual processes as you can. This is probably the most important step you can take in streamlining your operation today, to take advantage of the opportunities every new stage of technology provides. Anything you commit to paper today is data you can’t use to develop your business in the future.
Service is key – focus on the customer experience that your product or service delivers, and be sure you understand why your customers like to interact with your business. Ironically in the age of robotics, human contact will become more valuable and sought-after, and your customers are likely to seek out a more human service experience.
Broaden your business network – again, as more and more elements of our existence become automated, dealing with human colleagues will become a unique element of business. To make your business stand out in an automated world, you will need to focus and leverage your interactions with other companies.