Digital transformation has impacted businesses of all sizes over the past year. Virtually all businesses small and large now have a significant online presence. Many business leaders are experimenting with new technologies like automation, AI, and virtual reality.
While the fate of the global economy in 2023 remains uncertain, there’s one thing most business owners will agree on: the pace of digitization is likely to continue accelerating. So how will digital innovation and AI impact businesses in the year ahead and what do businesses need to do to succeed? We highlight 4 trends to watch.
1. Data Will Dominate
Enterprise-scale businesses have relied on data to make decisions for the past several years. But many small and medium-sized businesses have held out, relying on gut instinct to plot their path through the COVID-19 pandemic and last year’s economic uncertainty.
In 2023, look for many hold-outs to finally embrace data as a key factor in decision-making. Small business owners now have access to a wide range of easy-to-use software tools for analyzing their customers’ priorities, employees’ productivity, supply chain inefficiencies, and more.
Many businesses already have the data they need to begin using these platforms effectively. However, as more small businesses come to rely on data, the value of that data will also grow.
As a result, we expect to see businesses offer more incentives to customers to share data about their experiences and behaviors. In addition, a growing number of small businesses may begin working with data consultants to get more information out of the data they already have.
2. More Businesses Will Try Out Virtual Worlds
Augmented reality and virtual reality are still in their infancy, but these technologies could become widespread more quickly than many people realize. When a company as big as Meta (formerly Facebook) throws its weight behind metaverse technology, it’s worth taking notice.
Many companies in addition to Meta are already experimenting with virtual experiences. Gambling companies – which were among the first businesses to embrace the Internet in the 1990s – are at the leading edge of virtual reality. Many online and crypto casinos now have their own virtual environments, enabling players to experience something akin to the Las Vegas Strip from the comfort of their own homes.
Retailers are also investing in the metaverse, setting up shops in virtual worlds like Decentraland. The metaverse has also proven attractive to musicians and event promoters, as evidenced by a recent deal between Roblox and Sony Music.
While small businesses might not jump into the metaverse in 2023, look for enterprises to begin exploring this new technology more seriously. Businesses could hold meetings in the metaverse or use virtual reality to train new recruits over the coming year.
3. AI Will Transform Content Creation
AI is quickly having an impact on every aspect of business operations, but the most profound impact in 2023 could be on content creation. New AI-powered tools like ChatGPT and DALL-E 2 are making it possible for anyone to create authoritative text and images in a matter of minutes.
The impact of these tools could be profound. Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly issued a ‘Code Red’ because of the potential impacts of ChatGPT on the company’s search engine business. Any realignment in the way the world searches for information online would be significant in today’s world given that an estimated 93% of US businesses are online.
Small businesses could stand to benefit greatly from these AI-powered tools, particularly when it comes to marketing. If it’s cheap, fast, and simple to create new content, small businesses could soon compete with much larger brands online.
There’s also a dark side to better AI-generated content. These tools are expected to help cybercriminals develop more sophisticated phishing attacks and even write malicious code. So, there will also be more pressure on businesses of all sizes to invest in cybersecurity.
4. No Code Automation Will Continue to Spread
Until recently, automation was the domain of enterprise-scale businesses. Even relatively simple automations required heavy investment in IT infrastructure and in-house development teams.
That’s changing thanks to low and no-code automation software. Now, small and medium-sized businesses can benefit from the same types of automations that have led to massive jumps in productivity at large companies.
As business owners embrace automation, we could see a huge increase in productivity after several years of stagnation. Productivity gains could help offset the negative impacts of inflation and labor shortages in 2023, as well as open new doors for businesses that have been lacking in human resources.
Digital Transformation in 2023 and Beyond
The business world has been utterly transformed by technological innovation over the past decade. In 2023 and beyond, it will no longer be enough for businesses to simply be present online. To succeed in today’s world, businesses need to take advantage of data, harness the power of AI, prepare for a virtual future, and increase their productivity through automation.