When people think about the future of business, it’s often in terms of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, or other concepts that even a few years ago would seem like impossible science fiction. But amidst all the glitz and glamour of a hyper-connected world, “the boring stuff” often goes unnoticed. The day-to-day science and practice of operating a healthy business. For us, the future is not about new processes or small, incremental gains in efficiency but rather a game-changing, seismic shift in how organizations measure and optimize employee and team performance. Let’s take a look at where the future of business might take us.
The Future of Business Is Data (You Can Actually Use)
Big data! Deep insights! Terms like these have been thrown around pitch sessions and board rooms with reckless abandon for years. But, we can finally say that actionable big data is here. And it will only become more prevalent and effective as time goes on. Just as google has moved toward a semantic, voice-driven search, automakers, pharmaceutical companies, and manufactures have already embraced big data to increase productivity and reduce the costs of their workforce. This trend should continue to pick up steam, as data storage and computational costs continue to decline.
The Future of Business Is Prediction
How many more employees will we need to finish this project on time? Why type of work might my clients need next quarter? Who is my top-performing employee? Huge data sets and advanced analytics will offer new insights into the questions that matter most for your business. Fast forward three or five years, and knowing the answers to these questions will become the norm, so much that it will be considered strange not to know. It will truly be mind blowing.
The Future of Business Is Metrics That Make Sense
Traditional business metrics offer little insight into company performance. Yes, gross revenue, operating profit, overhead costs, etc. are all important to understanding the health of any organization. But, what really happened? Could the business have performed better? What was the average employee utilization rate? In hindsight, did the management team make the right strategic decisions? Were individual contributors creating the right content for the business? Just as sabermetrics has changed baseball management, new, more precise metrics will change how we analyze business performance. We may have “too much data” right now, but we’re not far away from being able to transform this data into a new roadmap for managing a high-performing organization. Businesses with access to these new metrics should outperform those who are unable or unwilling to embrace the new insights they offer.
The Future of Business Is a Truly Global Workforce
How long before “local” will be perceived not as geographically proximate, but familiar? When — not if — will teams overcome once-permanent language barriers with new forms of translation or even new languages altogether? How will managers engage, train, and retain an increasingly diverse and geographically disparate employee population? Will all meetings be on video? Or conducted through VR? No one knows for certain, but we can be sure that change is coming, whether it’s too soon or not soon enough.