2008 is going to be an extraordinary year for Australian business, one of on going change across most business fronts.
This is in line with my belief that we have experienced more change in the last 2 years than in the previous 20 years and that in the next 10 years we will experience the equivalent of 100 years of change.
Our marketplace is becoming savvier; customers want more involvement in the product and service you provide them. Staff will be harder to find and you’ll have to work harder to keep them.
In my regular look in to the future (eight out of ten of my predictions came to fruition in 2007) I see the following ten (10) trends and issues will be key influencers on business in 2008:
1. Rise and rise of on line business networking – as on line social network sites including myspace, Facebook, youtube and others have become mainstream communication forums for individuals; watch for this trend to invade the business environment as business learns to share and communicate with the broader public and amongst itself and also uses this space to reduce the cost of business to business development.
2. Continuing tight labour market – employers are going to find it increasingly difficult to attract new employees and are going to be working harder to keep those they have. Interstate and worldwide employee searches will begin to become mainstream. Mergers of companies that can share these scarce resources will increase.
3. Nanotechnology is building – the use of nanotechnology to engineer new products is the new holy grail. With current innovations including self cleaning glass, better sunscreens, paint that continuously washes cars and more, look out for the beginning of a new frontier of business opportunities.
4. At least one more year of economic expansion. We haven’t seen a recession in Australia for 16 years and next year is not going to be the year to change that, but the second half of next year will start to show a slowdown in our economy and nerves will begin to be frayed. Let’s watch China to see how they deal with their economy, rather then America, for the clues.
5. Climate change and water scarcity will continue to be key drivers for business discussion, decision making and innovation – “green” is destined to be the business mantra for 2008.
6. Prevention before cure – advances in the treatment of diseases and ailments will continue to surface in 2008 as we begin to see the pay off for the Genome project (DNA) and move ever closer to a medical age where the focus will be on “prevention” rather than “cure”.
7. The dawn of Cloud Computing – 2008 will be the year that we migrate to work and collaborate on-line with the growing rise and rich variety of on-line computer software that is fast replacing the software that we have historically bought from retail outlets.
8. Web and phone will merge – the world will begin to be all pervasive, where once phone calls followed us around everywhere, we will now be totally immersed in communication and information wherever we are – using sophisticated mobile devices (CarryAlongs) to watch TV, send and receive emails, remote access our office computers, surf the net, guide us to destinations, video conference the kids, post to blogs, take photos and even make old fashioned phone calls.
9. The keyboard and mouse are dinosaurs – we will be less dependant on keyboards and mice as we move to touch screens, voice and other input devices.
10. Household robots move in – household robots will begin to capture our imagination as more devices come to market. These will mostly be small single chore low level devices that will sweep, mow, order groceries, wash, or order take away food.