4 Hot Topics for Your Business Agenda in 2017

Dark background with spotlightsWell, predictions are tricky, but after following some of the global trends, here’s what is likely to remain center stage in 2017. So, if you want to look smart with your boss (or remain the boss), integrate these topics in your business agenda.

Big Data
Big data is still hot and for the purpose of this quick-hit blog, we’re going to roll a few things under its umbrella. Data — and the collection, storage, measurement, use and security of it — will remain a key business objective. Using predictive and actionable analytics to drive and support decision-making will continue to be an area of improvement for most businesses. Accessibility and feasibility of cloud services and big data processing continues, while security on all levels becomes a responsibility for all employees and not just technology departments. Getting smarter about how your business extends, is impacted by, or can benefit from big data is a good thing.

Artificial Intelligence
In the quest to make smarter business decisions, artificial intelligence (AI) is the next step in that journey. AI is not the terminator-esque robotics from the latest blockbuster nor is it designed with the intention of replacing jobs. AI is used in business to enhance our ability to make better decisions, discover new intersections, identify relationships and allow opportunities for human efforts to be moved from low to high impact areas. You can see the AI impact growing in CRM, logistics, transportation, analytics and many other business segments. It’s safe to say that the impact to our personal and professional lives will continue to grow. While analysts differ in the short and long-term impacts of AI, they are consistent in predicting that it will impact us in many ways – changing, creating and linking opportunities.

… in all forms is a main ingredient to success. Monochromatic ideas and actions don’t generate leading businesses. Diversity in thinking and disruptive vision are leading trends.  However you want to say it – diversity, diversify, disrupt or just plain differentiation – they are key drivers for industry leading businesses who constantly ask, “How can we do it differently, use it differently, engage differently, produce differently?” Diversification drives innovation. Innovation drives business and economic growth. Sparking your business conversations with diversity questions could lead to new and improved outcomes.

Social Media
I could write a book on the good and evil of social media, but I’ll spare you that. Social media is HUGE and is increasingly impacting businesses and related decisions. Unbeknownst to some, social media didn’t begin with the internet; it has always been in existence. Neighborhood gossip is an original form of social media. However, now, anyone can tune into the gossip grapevine, take a picture, Photoshop it, share it and access it over and over again. Today, social media is online community-based, content sharing, interactive and collaborative methods for connecting people, ideas, information and things. All of these have become increasingly harder for businesses to manage and are hot topics for C-suite, marketing, human resource and legal departments. Determining how internal business actions help or hurt social media outcomes (and vice versa) will become more common place overtime.

Charlotte Ntreh is a Partner at PeopleResults where she helps clients build and sustain high performing, effective and impactful organizations with measurable results. You can reach her at cntreh@people-results.com or follow her on twitter @cntreh.