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This Month In Global Business

The beginning of the month is often favourable to forecasts of all kinds. In order not to derogate from this perilous exercise, we have identified, for our part, the five trends in business that should allow companies – and their partners – to position themselves closer to the desires and needs of their customers.

SIMPLE

In a world where technology is constantly evolving and where the interconnections between the various stakeholders are multiple and permanent, some actors have chosen to provide their target audiences with services or products which are an easy, cost-effective and to-the-point solution to specific problems. The needs of the audience are perfectly defined so are the solutions. 

Tech firms are good examples in this area. However, the market is moving away from conventional digital service providers, such as a web design company or a digital agency. While it is still a good time to be a web designer or a digital marketer, it is much more profitable to have a niche specification.

A neo bank, or a mobile bank, like the German N26, allows in real-time to set limits of expenditure, block a card, change one’s PIN or send money to family and friends. In addition, the opening of an account at N26 is accessible without conditions of income or deposit, and the traditional offices with office furniture all around the country is no longer required 

Of course, N26 does not offer as wide a range of offerings as a traditional bank, but the efficiency and the ease of use are an essential part of the company’s strategy. 

The winning move? The N26 is now established in 24 countries, has 2.3 million customers, has raised $ 513 million since its inception in 2013 and is valued at $ 2.7 billion. The only negative, given the size of the company, is that it is not yet profitable. 

Another such example is FAME’s innovative service, which can help sea freight, aviation, and land transportation services.

TRANSPARENT

A quick tour of the social networks and a brief viewing of some television shows are enough to realise that information has never been so instantaneous and indiscreet. Therefore, one might think that everything is known and that nothing is hidden, wrong! Case in point, the Facebook -Cambridge Analytica fiasco, in which the social network is accused of having influenced the presidential campaign of 2016. In these circumstances, more and more consumers or users of social networks want true transparency, that is to say, where does the information come from and for what purpose is it used?

Tools such as the Decodex , proposed by the publication Le Monde, which consists of a search engine to verify the reliability of news sites; or applications such as Yuka , Shopwell, Fooducate, FoodSmart which can scan a food product to find out if they are good or bad for your health; other such as Foodvisor or Calorie Counter help users keep a tab on the food they consume are in demand, as they help users gain some transparency and make informed or partially informed choices. 

In some verticals it is yet to reach a desirable level; for instance tariff transparency – which mobile operators often have a hard time promoting – or the transparency of governance that, when it is forced to be revealed, can reveal some unsavory secrets. Let’s not forget ‘The Mueller Report’

CLEAN

Organic, ecological and ethical are not new phenomena. What has changed is the level of consideration/scrutiny of the entire value chain: what is the use of an electric vehicle if they are coal power stations that power the charging stations?  Is it okay to eat organic if food is flown in from the other side of the planet? Is it interesting to spend heavily on cryptocurrency with a mining process that generates colossal energy consumption?

In short, the “truly” clean product or service is the one that considers the entire chain – sourcing, production, packaging… who takes extra measures to invest in making the entire process circular; case in point – circular fashion

A company like Michelin, one of the world’s leading tire manufacturers, seems particularly vigilant about the way the raw material (rubber, sulfur, etc.) is collected, until the end of its life cycle – the company has indicated 100% of its production would be recycled by 2048.

Others, like Engie, are more focussed on one of the links in the value chain: its anaerobic digestion programs allow farmers and industrialists to recover their waste thanks to simple and quick to install units.

According to the Climate Policy Initiative, the total financial flows dedicated to climate change amount to $ 410 billion a year. As for green bond issues, they have reached almost $ 160 billion (about 2% of total bond issues globally) – it is not much, but very far from negligible and this movement should see further increase.

INCLUSION

Inclusion and exclusion war often leads to a social context, particularly controversial as illustrated by the movement of the “yellow vests” in France, that captivated the entire world for a while. From the companies’ point of view, taking into account inclusion makes it easier to put into practice an efficient and calm business. Pfizer, a profitable, global pharmaceutical company (sales of 45.9 billion in 2017 for a net profit of 18.6 billion – which is quite exceptional) vigorously promotes inclusive culture at all levels in order to systematically take into account gender equality, parenthood, disability, chronic and long-term illness and support for LGBT communities.

More and more companies are respecting the needs of the employees, their identity, their desires; they are striving to provide them with a stimulating and harmonious work environment. In 2019, these factors are gaining the importance they deserve. Speaking of inclusion, many nations have schemes in place to aid their citizens; the body corporate act and the farmland lease agreement are two such examples. 

COLLECTIVE

The problem with the word “collective” is that it is often perceived in a pejorative way: “collective fault”, “collective protest movement”, etc.. Now, the collective is especially close to the term “intelligence” to form the term “collective intelligence”. Collective intelligence indicates the intellectual capacity, resulting from the interactions and synergies between the members of a group, allowing the accomplishment of complex tasks. Collective intelligence is based on the systematic sharing of information within a common and accepted operating framework

The ultimate goal is to strengthen the agility of organisations in order to sustainably achieve the highest level of performance. For example, GT Solutions (formerly GT Location) believes that decisions must be made in a concerted manner by those who are directly involved: for example, recruitments are made collaboratively by future colleagues, N + 1, HR, etc. Proof that collective intelligence is not just the prerogative of start-ups or techs.

In conclusion

In 2019, and beyond, we bet on these five trends:

  • Simple
  • Transparent
  • Clean
  • Inclusion
  • Collectives

Let’s even say that these trends, when prioritised together, are conducive to obtaining attractive, realistic and sustainable business models.

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