Game Changing Business Innovations in 2018

Game Changing Business Innovations in 2018

In a constantly evolving world, businesses must always be innovating to keep pace. In fact, businesses that innovate first, often find themselves the leaders of the pack while businesses that fail to recognize the next big trend can quickly find themselves irrelevant. Conversely, however, timing is everything.

Businesses that make the leap to new tech before clients, consumers and the general public is ready can also find themselves falling flat. Like every other year, 2018 ushered in a number of smart innovations that businesses would be wise to pay attention to.

Here are 4 game changing business innovations in 2018.

1. AI

While AI (artificial intelligence) is not exactly new, it has taken some tremendous leaps forward in the last few years. From "chatbots" capable of handling a wide variety of basic customer service tasks to detailed analyses to supply chain management, the sky is literally the limit for how AI can help transform businesses in 2018 and beyond.

While smart businesses don't always immediately jump on the latest new trends until they have been tested, tried and are nearly perfected, there is also a "sweet spot" to jump in and be ahead of the curve. This "sweet spot" may be coming close to an end for many businesses as AI driven applications are making significant inroads in almost every type of business on the planet. Businesses that don't make the leap soon may find themselves being left in a trail of dust.

2. Automation

Like so many other innovations, the concept of automation itself is nothing new. Automation is as old as the industrial revolution when giant factories began churning out mass-produced goods. Business automation in 2018, however, is expanding to cover a broader and broader range of tasks. From automatic bill paying to automated responses and social media posting, automation is taking on a whole new range of redundant tasks.

The constant fear on everyone's mind is the thought of automation taking away jobs. What automation does instead, however, is take on the most redundant tasks that don't actually require human intelligence, leaving humans free to apply themselves to innovations which create new jobs. Jobs which are far more exciting and challenging than the ones machines are currently doing.

3. Advanced Analytics

We've all heard the analogy of the butterfly that flaps its wings halfway around the world creating a hurricane on the other side of globe. The reason we've all heard it is that it is a concept that actually has some merit. It's a simplified version of the law of cause and effect.

It does't take a rocket scientist or a genius to figure out effect - we all feel it when it happens - but understanding the cause, however, is a whole different issue.

Most businesses are complex operations that require a delicate balance between supply chain and accurate prediction of demand to succeed. Even the tiniest change in one of these factors can have a catastrophic effect on a business. This is where advanced analytics comes in.

While you may not notice a sudden 12% increase in web traffic on the third Sunday of every month, advanced analytics will. In addition, advanced analytics can help you understand the reason why, which will help you determine whether that is a trend you should be taking advantage of or whether it simply a passing phenomenon.

4. Unstructured data analyses

In the earliest days of computers, commands had to be rendered in a very specific way in a very specific code that a computer could understand. Every new generation of computer built on what had already been programmed until computers could recognize commands in every language spoken on the planet. After more than 80 years of programming, however, computers are now on the verge of being able to recognized unstructured data.

One way of looking at this is that computers have been able to recognize and interpret yes or no answers, but now they are on the brink of being able to understand maybe. Imagine a computer being able to analyze a customer's speech patterns to recognize what area of the country (or world) they are from and automatically being paired with a similar customer service agent or sales associate. Further, imagine a computer being able to analyze body language to recognize an angry or irate customer or even a potential threat.
 

In a digital age, it should be no surprise that most business innovations are technology driven. In fact, Gen Z is the first generation that doesn't know what it means to need to be connected to the world by a cable or cord. They are the first generation that is just as comfortable interacting with a machine as a human and in many cases may actually prefer it. Smart businesses should be focusing on ways of leveraging this preference in order to maximize their human resources towards those that still prefer human interaction. Next gen tech is what can help you tell the difference.

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