Based on the uncertainty of 2020, the amount of content in 2021 focused on trying to predict what’s next is unsurprising.
Psychologists say that predicting the future gives us a sense of control over it. Uncertainty fosters fear. The more unknown, the more threatened we usually are. After a year of feeling threatened nearly every day, minds seek comfort by painting the picture of tomorrow.
But there’s a difference between an all-in vision and more educated conjecture based on the lessons learned and trends already taking hold.
The race to be ready, and thereby resilient, continues
Is it possible to be ready for everything? Probably not, but businesses can be ready for anything. Being future ready requires planning and strategy with openness and adaptability built in. These traits enable businesses to be well-prepared for challenge and opportunity alike.
With 2020 hindsight and 2021 foresight, businesses will redefine how they can be future ready. These businesses must be agile, excited by the future and adaptable so they can react quickly and embrace change. They understand the power of technology to solve business challenges and are open to new tools. Future-ready businesses also create roadmaps for digital transformation and build documented, specific, funded and measured business strategies; keep up with the forces shaping business; and get help from thought leaders.
Organizations that adhered to these characteristics experienced fewer negative impacts on their businesses in 2020, according to Vodafone Business’ Future Ready Report — 30% reported an increase in profits compared to the same time last year, and 44% said they saw a positive effect on their innovation. These characteristics are the makeup of a more resilient business and what organizations need to strive for in 2021.
Data determines direction
It’s clear that no business can be future ready without data, and data access will be increased in 2021 with IoT at the core. Seventy-eight percent of businesses using IoT surveyed in the IoT Spotlight agreed that data is now critical to them, and 88% of Future Ready Report respondents said data is critical to making the best commercial decisions.
The best way to become future-ready is seamless access to crucial business data and the ability to identify and isolate exactly what information is needed at all times, which is exactly what IoT provides.
Collecting and processing information from a business and its products is essential to catalogue and track assets, automate a complex process, perform predictive maintenance or monitor quality. Connecting assets via IoT means being able to manage them efficiently, effectively and securely.
IoT creates differentiation
Ultimately, IoT is not just a technology, it’s a new way of working. Vodafone Business’ IoT Spotlight Report found that 84% of IoT adopters feel it has ensured business continuity during the last year. Whereas 73% are confident that companies who fail to embrace IoT within five years will have fallen behind.
As a result, IoT use will become more sophisticated in 2021 with 87% of businesses saying it’s critical for their future success. At 73%, a majority of mature adopters say IoT has already brought them significant ROI. For organizations not quite as far along, it’s time to get beyond IoT basics.
IoT will increasingly support sustainability goals, improve productivity, drive innovation and enhance customer experience, making it the key to creating sustainable, long-term, competitive advantage.
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