Predicting 2017

Author: Deborah Sexton       

As a kid, did you ever have a Magic 8 Ball? You’d ask a yes/no question (say, “Will I get a puppy this year?”), shake the replica of a black billiard ball, turn it over, and your fortune-telling answer would pop up on a screen—“Outlook Good” or “Not Likely” were some common responses.

January is the time of year when Magic 8 Balls seem especially appealing, even as adults. Will I get a new job this year? Will my business expand? Thankfully, there are some expert resources that can give us insightful predictions about what the business world can expect in 2017—including Forrester, a research and advisory firm that surveys more than 500,000 consumers and business leaders worldwide.

According to Forrester’s Predictions 2017 brief, “Against the backdrop of political commotion, Brexit, cyberskirmishes, and a muted economic recovery, the grinding gears of the market are moving forward, and the consequences of a customer-led, digital-centric market are becoming clearer. Virtually all competitive markets are on the move…. Adventurous, experimental, and downright fickle behavior—once thought of as ‘Millennials being Millennials’—has gone mainstream.”

Here are a few that stood out to me as having relevance to our industry:

“More than one-third of businesses will restructure to shift to customer-obsessed operations.” 

Moving away from siloed structures with a good deal of internal control is a complicated process, but aligns with today’s customer-led marketplace.

“Your customers are more aware of, wary of, and frustrated with security and privacy risk, and you will increasingly gain or lose affinity based on how much they trust your company.”

The chances of a privacy breach at our meetings are increasing — and the stakes are higher if they do. Those who take the steps now to protect their stakeholders will avoid potentially harsh repercussions, and possibly reap rewards.

“CEOs will exit 30 percent of their CMOs for not mustering the blended skill set of design and analytics.”

There should be a healthy balance of right-brain skills in designing customer experiences and left-brain skills in mastering technology and analytics. While this prediction sounds a bit severe, there’s much to be said for developing your digital skills and/or bringing in new talent to assist.

That said, Forrester’s Predictions 2017 brief expects that certain jobs “will continue to be in negative unemployment, putting immense strain on talent management and talent acquisition.” Among those roles most in demand? Data scientists, experience designers, and storytellers. You may need to look long and hard for someone with these skills, and if you’ve got them yourself, you’re in a good place!


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