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Business Trends to Watch in 2017

Dr. Peter Bemski, Northcentral University’s Dean of the School of Business and Technology Management, shares his perspective on business trends to watch in 2017.

Technology and Innovation Management Will Reign.

“Technology and innovation management will continue to evolve in 2017, and play an even greater role in business,” Bemski said.

Not only are technological advances in areas such as robotics expected to grow, but they could have a multiplier effect on other industries as well. For example, virtual reality (VR) goggles could affect the movie industry.  Imagine going to the theater and becoming part of the film, driving that fast car, instead of just watching it!  According to Deloitte, the VR industry is expected to hit the $1 billion mark in 2016.

According to Forrester, technology is poised to remake industries and customer experiences.  The report also suggests augmented reality such as the 2016 “Pokemon Go” phenomenon - and virtual reality experiences - will continue to be improved. 

“We consult with faculty members who have specializations in particular areas to identify and help develop curriculum for leading-edge programs,” said Bemski. “The School’s new Technology and Innovation Management (TIM) programs* are some of the most innovative programs NCU has ever rolled out. While the TIM programs may sound like they are focused on business management, it’s important to distinguish that they are actually about the management of technology.”

Technology Will Help Small and Large Businesses Better Analyze Data.

“Analyzing data in nearly real time will allow business owners to see what’s working and what’s not,” according to Bemski.  “Businesses have failed in the past because they didn’t recognize problems and, by the time they did, it was too late.  Business intelligence can help business leaders become nimble and flexible.”

The world of “big data” is here. With so much data available, understanding how to differentiate which data is important and relevant will be an important skill to possess. According to market research firm IDC, big data and analytics sales are expected to reach $187 billion by 2019, an increase of more than 50% over the five-year forecast period.

“We have more information than at any point in history and being able to distinguish what matters, and what doesn’t, is increasingly important,” said Bemski.

The Service Industry Will Continue to be Strong.

As life gets more complicated, smart business owners will continue to develop services to help consumers.  “Life is getting busier and busier, so services that make it easier for people will continue to grow,” said Bemski. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the service sector will be the main source of employment and output between 2008 and 2018.  

Going Green Will Remain a Business Priority.

“As interest in the environment continues, we expect to see more businesses become greener,” said Bemski. It’s a smart business move too. Companies that demonstrate their interest in environmental impacts are attracting a young customer base who can grow with them into the future.

According to a recent Nielsen study, nearly 75% of Millennials said they were willing to pay more for “green” offerings, while almost as large a percentage of those in Generation Z (ages 15-20) said the same. While Baby Boomers ranked lower in their willingness to pay more for green products, still more than half (51%) said they would pay more too.

According to Bemski, “2017 is going to be one of the most exciting years on record. Change is absolutely a constant and learning to embrace it is a must.”