Predictions for Technology and Business in 2016

13196909_mWith 2015 now behind us, it’s time to look ahead to next year. There’s much to look to, including the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, the United States Presidential Election, and a host of Hollywood blockbuster superhero films. Technology will be a major participant in each. What those technologies will be is going to be hotly debated, and this blog post will serve as a barometer for what may matter. Read on!

Customer relationship management hits the mainstream

It’s not usually regarded as a sexy part of marketing, but it’s one of the most important. Customer relationship management tools, otherwise known as CRM, have been flying under the radar for the past few years even with the prevalence of technologies like Salesforce, Marketo, and HubSpot. In 2016, CRM will become everyone’s business and inbound marketing and marketing funnels set to include everyone within small, medium, and large companies, particularly with LinkedIn finally jumping into the space and turning everyone’s profile into a bona fide sales engine. Professionals of all levels and experience should get ready for a hyper-driven sales cycle, further emphasizing the importance of relationships and social conversations.

Employee relationship management hits the mainstream as well

As millennials settle into the workforce, human resources organizations will be looking forward to welcoming Generation Z. In their preparation, many organizations have implemented employee relationship management tools, better known as employee advocacy. The intention of employee advocacy is to provide workers the opportunity to share and amplify the work they do at a company while also offering elements of gamification for participation. In 2016, more companies will adopt such platforms with the intention of increasing employee engagement, retention, and productivity. The best companies will pair such programs with competitive benefits offerings as well, further enticing an age group long jaded by the struggles of the Great Recession in the early portions of the decade.

Social communities hit a fever pitch

Past years had many marketers encouraging their customers to build brand pages on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. In recent years however, brand page reach has dwindled with the noise and pay-to-play approach that has befallen social media marketing. In 2016, customer engagement evolves into a more personal touch with the mainstream adoption of technologies like Facebook groups and Slack communities. Jobs which require understanding of social communities will increase in number as businesses of all sizes look to keep in touch with customers and maintain consistent engagement points for increased revenue and product development.

Video technologies become top of mind in marketing dollars

2015 saw the emergence of video streaming technologies like Blab, Meerkat, and Periscope. Social networking giant Facebook even got into the game late with live video streaming for non-celebrity end users. As inbound marketing strategies continue to evolve, expect a heavier dose of video marketing dollar spend as well as ad-hoc video production, with companies of all sizes seeking additional methods to delight their fans. Video will become the new opt-in form as companies will seek to leverage the technology as a live purchasing, customer service, and customer engagement platform. Events such as the presidential election and the Rio de Janeiro Olympics will further provide live streaming opportunities, pushing social and digital media companies to add more features for staying power.

Cloud continues to transform business activities and function

Cloud computing shed its buzzword costume in 2015 and became a serious technology strategy for businesses seeking increased agility and workplace transformation. With spending set to skyrocket in 2016, businesses will see transformation in everything from business costs to employee engagement to day-to-day activities. The emergence of cloud with technology-savvy Millennials and Generation Z employees hitting the market will force employers to explore new recruiting methods, remote work arrangements, and bring your own device (BYOD) opportunities to attract ambitious employees, encourage increased productivity, and bolster employee retention.

Integration and automation continue to improve business outcomes

2015 saw the emergence in popularity of technology automation resources like IFTTT and Zapier, which offered businesses of all sizes the opportunity to put some of their operations in cruise control. Furthermore, the continued popularity of applications like Buffer allowed companies to maintain content automation strategies in keeping up a flow of consistent customers. 2016 will see much of the same and more, as companies like Google, Uber, Tesla, Ford, and more look to perfect the self-driving car and integrate those technologies with our daily lives to increase productivity. Companies like Amazon will continue to innovate on the day-to-day needs of consumers as well, providing more time for leisure and learning.

Wearables hit their mark

The past few years are where wearables became a popular idea, notably with companies like FitBit, Apple, and Google developing everything from heart rate sensors to exercise devices. As health and technology continue to merge, 2016 will see an even greater emphasis in wearable technology devices. For small businesses, wearables mark the ability to do business anywhere, anytime, in line with agile thinking. For the consumer market as a whole, wearables will build upon the already-existing craze brought about by the mobile revolution.

Technology consolidation continues

The end of 2015 saw some memorable technology moves, notably with the acquisition of cloud-software company EMC by long-time PC-maker Dell, who was looking to add newer innovations to its portfolio. As the economy continues to strengthen, the market should expect to see more acquisitions, initial public offerings, and sales in 2016 as market leaders seek ways to capitalize on technology gains. Notable companies that may make a move in 2016 may include Twitter, which saw continued struggles in 2015 to attract users and Yahoo, which continues to seek stability and will also celebrate 20 years as a public company in the coming year.

How does your 2016 look?

As you look towards the coming year ahead, what stands out to you in your crystal ball? Share your comments with us below, or reply to us in a tweet @Curatti. Happy New Years!

 

Image: Copyright: ‘http://www.123rf.com/profile_alphaspirit‘ / 123RF Stock Photo