2024 predictions: 5 ways business leaders can turn uncertainty into opportunity

In recent years, the world has faced numerous challenges, from the Covid-19 pandemic to the invasion of Ukraine and related supply chain disruptions. The impact of such a lengthy period of uncertainty has been felt by all. To succeed in 2024, business leaders will need to be ready for the unpredictable and dynamic nature of the workforce and the economy. As demonstrated by the events of the past year, it is imperative for businesses to continue to keep a watchful eye on the broader strategic components of their operations with economic pressures and market volatility underscoring the need for strategic long-term planning and rolling forecasting.

1. Servitization a model for growth in 2024

We've witnessed an accelerated shift towards servitization. Companies are no longer just selling products; they are providing comprehensive solutions that include services. Servitization has enabled companies such as Uber and Airbnb to disrupt and transform their respective industries, not only responding to, but helping shape, consumer preferences for transport and accommodation ‘as a service’. This shift is apparent in the business world too, with organizations looking for solutions to enable them to transition smoothly into service-led models. Now more than ever, it’s important for businesses to manage their services more efficiently, ensuring they deliver value to their customers, whilst also improving their competitive edge.

2. ESG is a business imperative this year

Environmental, social and governance – or ESG - is expected to remain a priority for governments, businesses, and individuals in 2024 and beyond. Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) is a pivotal framework that is set to redefine ESG reporting in the European Union (EU) in 2024. Companies, complying with the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD), will be required to report on their climate impact under CSRD, a new and improved version of existing requirements. This year, CFOs everywhere are going to be figuring out how to use carbon accounting to meet business objectives and boost bottom-line profitability. 

3. A year of forging human-machine relationships to unlock business value

The interaction between human and machine has entered a new realm recently as artificial intelligence (AI) continues to split opinion for both individuals and businesses. However, AI and intelligent automation (IA) are hugely complementary and are already transforming businesses across the world, regardless of size and scope.

Technological advancements such as AI can and should work in unison with human beings to help assist and transform the future of financial and strategic planning. For example, AI can improve work efficiency and effectiveness by automating routine tasks and providing actionable insights from data analytics. Predictive capabilities can help teams anticipate issues and proactively address them. A member of Forrester’s ConsumerVoices Market Research Online Community explains, “People need to learn and think for themselves. [GenAI] is only helpful as an additional tool, not a replacement for human thoughts, intelligence, and interaction.” The challenge occurs when organizations shift the focus away from using the software as a decision-support tool towards allowing it to make decisions without human intervention. In the future, we can expect a blend of personalization and automation of standard processes, possibly leading to self-sufficient, automated processes assisting humans.

4. Conversational AI will make a difference

It’s predicted that we will see an upward trend for conversational AI that will allow organizations to interact with their customers in bold new ways. Digital customer service offerings are booming, and more companies are turning to self-service offerings in the form of voice and text-based chats to cope with the large number of inquiries that need to be handled. Although personal human-to-human interaction in service will remain important in the future, the use of AI in self-service will increase exponentially in the coming years.

5. Expansion into the cloud

Rock-solid IT infrastructures and technological innovations that unlock value are crucial for businesses. Cloud usage increased massively in 2023, due to the flexibility, scalability and speed of deployment needed to pivot business operations. But how important will it be for 2024? 

Cloud technology gives businesses the opportunity to continuously refine and improve services, according to changing customer demands and business needs, whilst enabling them to assess how much is being used versus how much is being spent. With cloud now being seen as the digital backbone of many organizations, cloud solutions will continue to evolve. However, with this change will come increasing complexities – both in terms of the services available as well as the variety of operating models. It is therefore essential that businesses have the right tools to continually monitor and analyze cloud spend, in real-time, and with accuracy. Those who do will effectively pave the way towards growth.

Dirk Martin

Written by Dirk Martin

CEO and Founder of Serviceware SE

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