9 Business Trends to Watch For in 2017

business trends

As a new year begins, industries all over the world predict new business trends that will influence the months to come. In 2016, trends in the IT world included: investing in training remote employees and large industries personally connecting with customers. As we move into 2017, some of these business trends are continuing to gain momentum, while new trends are also emerging.

2017 Business Trends

As software developers involved in many growing businesses, we not only follow trends, but see them happening in real time! Follow along for our observations and predictions about 9 business trends that will impact the IT world in 2017.

1. Hybrid IT

As the IT world gets larger and continues to move faster, Hybrid IT is going to continue to grow. The combination of on-site and cloud-integrated programs will require employees to have expanded knowledge on both platforms. It will shift the focus of data storage to a scale-able metric that has potential to grow as business does. With Hybrid IT, employers and employees alike will have wider access to the data files necessary to continue business. They’ll also be able to maintain brick and mortar locations and offices simultaneously.

2. Specialization

As millennials continue to enter the work force, specialization will begin to have a larger influence in the hiring process. With a wider variety of potential employees up for hire, businesses will begin to look for people to hire who specialize in one, minor – and most likely little known – specialty. Considering potential employees who have the capability to multi-task in the IT environment will no longer happen. On this same note, consumers will no longer expect a “one-size-fits-all” experience when interacting with a website or e-commerce store. These two trends fit hand-in-hand, and customers will receive more specialized experiences as employees become increasingly specialized.

3. Closely Integrated Remote Employees

Outsourcing work is nothing new in the IT world. Companies of all sizes have benefited from the technical talent available through outsourcing over the past several years. Outsourcing complex technical work like software programming is often more efficient and affordable. As the Internet becomes more accessible globally, this trend will only increase. Now with technological advancements, offshore and onshore workers are collaborating more than ever using tools like Google Hangouts® and Skype®. Through 2017 a growing number of businesses will take advantage of the opportunities to more closely integrate remote IT employees and contractors into their existing teams.

4. Ecommerce through Social Media Marketing

Ecommerce through social media was a predicted trend of 2016 and did pick up speed with Facebook releasing the Market Place close to the end of 2016. Pinterest also introduced ecommerce on their platform and this trend will continue to gain momentum throughout 2017. Social media is one of the most influential communication platforms to be created in the last 50 years, and opening the communication platform to ecommerce retailers makes sense as part of the natural progression. The union between social media platforms and ecommerce will become further refined based on data-driven insights.

5. Security

Security will trend even higher than it was predicted to trend in 2016. In 2016, American eyes were opened to the threat of cyber-attacks and the very real capabilities foreign and domestic entities have to spy on American citizens. Edward Snowden brought us insider intelligence on the NSA’s tactics in regard to cyber monitoring and the recent election of Donald Trump has brought further concerns to light around Russia’s potential involvement in U.S. politics, the economy, and media. What does this mean for 2017? Empty privacy policies found in website footers will no longer cut it for many customers. Legal reassurances that companies are protecting consumer data is going to become more important than ever as public concern over cyber privacy and security grows.

6. Automation Is On The Rise

At the heart of technological advancement is the issue of automation – including all of the ways technology can be harnessed to make things easier for people. At this day and age, any brand or business that completely operates in an ‘analogue style’ is falling rapidly behind. Automation in e-mail responses, order confirmations, shipment notifications, and customer service has become the most efficient way to run businesses smoothly and effectively. Continued discoveries that improve customer experiences through automation will continue to take precedence over ‘analogue’ tactics in 2017 and beyond.

7. Clear Conscious Sustainability

As technology grows, the physical world shrinks. Consumers know what is going on globally as they seek out specific products and services. The sweatshop practices of production that were once hidden behind a ‘Made in China’ sticker are now broadcast and vehemently deplored by a growing number of consumers. This increase in transparency is causing companies to change how many products are made and it is inspiring new business models. These businesses use a “give back” approach made famous with companies like TOMS, Pura Vida, and Warby Parker. Through 2017, sustainability will only become a more important factor in consumer’s eyes and companies must be aware that all their practices, whether IT, production, or delivery, should be managed with sustainability in mind, for the ultimate success.

8. On Demand, Independent Work

According to MBO Partners, the number of independent workers in the United States has risen by 12% over the last 5 years. This increase has come from a large shift in the global economy which has forced people to look past the traditional route of getting a college degree and using that to carve a career to becoming “self-made” employees with credible CVs that market their personalized skills and talents. This growing force of independent workers will only help feed the demand for specialized skills. In order to gain velocity, entrepreneurs will likely create planned products and services that offer consumers what they want and need.

9. Drone Technology

Drone technology entered the lives of Americans in 2010 when the Parrot AR Drone was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, NV. Since then, drone technology has become increasingly prominent and this trend is expected to continue. In 2015, the FAA was required to include small drones in national airspace, and companies and consumers have adapted accordingly. Used in television, photography, delivery systems, and more – 2017 will see drone technology spread even further and go even farther.

The business trends of 2017 will continue to evolve, while driven in part by ways people adapt to technological developments. We’ll continue to track and report on these changes at Number8 so stay in touch for more information including updates about the latest business trends.