Business Forecast: Cloudy With a Chance of Innovation?

The economy appears to be recovering in most of the world. Good news!

The pace of innovation necessary to grow a business has continued to accelerate at light speed. That could be bad news for businesses that can’t stay on top of the forward motion they need to stay even, much less grow market share.

lightbulb with cloudsThat’s particularly true for businesses that use the web to connect with their market, to sell their products, to deliver their services. If you’ve weathered the storm of the last five years, congratulations! That doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels and stop checking your business barometer.

At TECHEAD, we know small business pretty well, since we’ve been running one for more than 20 years. We also think we’re pretty good at spotting trends, since … well, see the previous sentence. We’re still here, so we’ve managed to forecast well enough to keep the wheels on our own bus.

Here are a few business tech trends we’re tracking. We recommend you do the same for your own business:

Social business

Deloitte lists this as its #1 tech trend for 2012 in a recent report (you can download the full report here).  Business innovation in 2012 will be driven by social interaction across all industries. We’re in the process of building a more social presence for our business online – which includes this blog. We’ve also ramped up our presence on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. We’re looking at ways to help our entire team collaborate and drive social engagement for our business, and our clients.  Deloitte points out that developing a strong social business includes building personas within your organization, and as part of your customer outreach. We’ll share what we learn right here – stay tuned!

Mobility

“There’s an app for that.” Is that true for your business processes, for your interaction with your customers, for your team’s collaboration? Making your business mobile means more than giving everyone a laptop and/or a smartphone and letting them work from home a few days a week. It means being where opportunity arises, and making it easy for your customers to buy from you when and where they need what you’ve got. Putting your business literally in the hands of your customers: that’s what mobile innovation is all about. This is not just true for B2C enterprise, it’s equally important for B2B businesses to build and manage mobile platforms for their products and services. We’ve got a mobile development partner, Shockoe, and are helping customers explore mobile for their companies while we work on getting our own business mobile-ized. We’ll talk about our progress here, and Shockoe will do the same on their blog. We welcome your comments, suggestions, and lessons learned, too.

Skill building

Techrepublic polled their readers in January, asking what development skills they were planning on learning in 2012. The choices were Windows 8 and associated tech Metro, WinRT, and XAML; HTML5, including CSS and Javascript; server-side web development; mobile development; and the ever-popular “other”. Here are the results:

  • Other 6% (OK, maybe not so popular)
  • Windows 8 et al 8%
  • Server-side web development 18%
  • Mobile development 28%
  • HTML5/CSS/Javascript 40% 

These results bode well for TECHEAD, since we offer comprehensive and highly-regarded training in both mobile development and in HTML5/CSS/Javascript. We also offer consulting and app development to our customers.

Conclusion? Our forecast is partly sunny (or partly cloudy for any pessimists in the audience) – we’ve positioned ourselves well, we’ve got expertise and brand equity, and now it’s up to us to help our innovation tree grow.

What’s the forecast for *your* business?

 

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