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Trends to watch in 2016

Social selling

With social media platforms making major moves to enable social selling with original brand content, businesses will have to expand their messages in order to influence their target markets. As users' activities continue to evolve, businesses will have to innovate their social selling strategies. That's all the more reason for businesses to focus sooner rather than later on cultivating personal, social media driven relationships with their customers.

Lean businesses

2016 looks like it could be economically challenging. Valuations are falling, financing is getting more competitive, and plenty of money-losing startups are cutting costs. China’s economy is slowing down which will have a knock-on effect on global financial markets. The BRIC economies are no longer the global drivers of growth that they once were. These market forces will encourage managers to build leaner, more sustainable ventures.

Generation Z

The focus on millennials and how they supposedly do and don't work what they want from their careers. has been a theme for the past few years. The oldest millennials are now turning 35. The youngest demographic of new workers are now entering the workforce. Generation Z roughly encompasses today's teens and young adults born after 1995, the oldest of whom are 21 years old. They are the new entry-level employees. They grew up during a recession, in which career opportunities were less plentiful and jobs were less secure. As a result, Generation Z are entrepreneurial. 

Big Data is getting even bigger

Both consumer (B2C) and business-facing (B2B) firms are facing intensifying competition when it comes to customer insights, and the data-science field is expanding in order to help meet the challenge. Not all data analysis qualifies as "big data," but solutions are multiplying, and 2016 may well be the year that more businesses seriously ramp up their investments in the field. The ability to develop an integrated, analytical view of customer activities and business operations will become increasingly important to businesses. Therefore, spending on big data projects will most likely grow over the next few years.

The gig economy

Increasing numbers of skilled professionals are driving the growth of the freelance “gig economy”. The barriers to acquiring and sustaining freelance projects continue to disappear. Fuelled by cheaper cloud computing, remote work tools, and the spread of enterprise-level technology platforms, the gigging trend will grow. Businesses can take advantage of this by tapping into talent when they need it. This will drive efficiency and reduce fixed costs for businesses while increasing opportunities for freelancers.