Predicting 3 business trends we should all focus on in 2017

This end-of-year blog articles summarizes 3 business and technology trends that many insiders suggest we all focus on in 2017. We take a closer look at each topic and suggest specific tools that can help you make sure these – and other New Year’s Resolutions – are achieved.
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It’s that time of year again. Yes, it’s the holiday season, but more specifically, it’s that time when we all (hopefully) have the chance to pause, reflect on all that happened in the past 12 months, and begin to either plan specific New Year’s Resolutions, or just begin to look ahead at 2017.

Personally, I like to review business articles that summarize key business or technology trends from the last calendar year as well as those that attempt to predict what will be big in 2017 (such as this article on Inc.com or this one from Forbes.com). To prepare for this blog, I read even more of these lists this year, and I found three key themes that seemed to consistently appear in nearly every list: Making better use of content, improving collaboration efforts and focusing on ways to improve security.

I thought I’d take a closer look at what each of these trends seems to suggest, and also attempt to show how various Nuance technologies may be able to help you get started.

 

Trend #1: Making better use of content

I thought this was an interesting observation. One publication suggested that subject matter experts (SMEs) will become the new “rock stars” of the organization, able to assist in the sales effort and contribute to other revenue-generating activities. To empower existing SMEs – as well as create new ones – organizations will need to do a better job of creating, storing and managing content. Most important, they need to make sure such content is always available to anyone who needs it, whether they are internal SMEs or customers or prospects looking to engage with the company and learn more about products or services.

Clearly, this means organizations need to do all they can to implement tools that automate critical processes related to creating and distributing content. In doing so, they need to make sure any information – no matter if it’s in paper or digital form – doesn’t slip through the cracks and can be accessed quickly and efficiently.

This trend aligns well with Nuance’s print, capture and PDF solutions. These technologies – separately or together – transform manual, disconnected processes into dynamic streamlined workflow automations. For example, employees can capture critical information from a paper or electronic document using a mobile device or a MFP, enter it into an existing workflow and rest assured it’s stored and available for those who need it. More, these technologies can integrate with cloud services for more convenient access and ensure sensitive data is stored securely – critical for business requirements and compliance.

 

Trend #2: Improving collaboration

Related to the point above, many experts recommend that we all continue to focus on collaboration in 2017 and beyond. Whether this is finding new, more effective ways to work with employees, providing new tools and technologies or all of the above, organizations need to improve their collaborative efforts. It’s not a “nice-to-have” item on a corporate wishlist; when done well, collaboration can enable better communication, improve critical work processes and increase the organization’s overall competitiveness.

This idea also encapsulates the similar idea of breaking down silos. Digital transformation is now occurring throughout the organization, blurring the lines between traditional departments and roles, and as a result, encouraging even more collaboration.

Nuance’s mobile document imaging solutions are a perfect example of how we can all use existing tools to improve collaboration. Clearly, mobile devices have become business-critical tools, especially as workers collect huge amounts of information on smartphones and tablets. Now, using this same mobile technology, almost anything – photos, reports, forms, or cloud-based files – can be accessed, shared or integrated into the company’s workflows. This is critical to collaborating with remote or field-based employees, and improving key processes – and results – over older ways that could take too much time and effort to get this same information.

 

Trend #3: Focusing on security

Security, security, security. While always a significant area of concern and focus, preventing cyber crime has now exploded … and it looks like the related challenges are only going to get worse. For example, this article from Information Age highlights 10 security trends in 2017, a list that includes the idea that security lapses related to the Internet of Things (IoT) will become more prominent, and the prediction that attackers will become even more bold and persistent.

While this may sound intimidating, there are things you can do to act now and address these vulnerabilities. We’ve addressed this issue in past blogs, first by showing how printers, scanners and MFPs may present more of a security risk than you might think.

We’ve also discussed ways you can minimize your risk. For example, you can take advantage of secure printing management solutions, such as pull printing and Follow-You printing, to provide an extra layer of security. These solutions hold print jobs at the printer until employees authenticate themselves, a step that eliminates the risk of unwanted information leakage. Additionally, print management solutions can provide other security-focused functionality, such as restricting access based on user authorization and encrypting data, to continue to improve security.

 

The year ahead

I hope these three trends and technology insights will be helpful to you as you start to think about new ways to be more productive, more effective and more successful in 2017.

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Jeff Segarra

About Jeff Segarra

Jeff Segarra is the Senior Director of Product Marketing for the Nuance Document Imaging Division. He is responsible for the global team that delivers industry product positioning, messaging and content to help our customers around the world identify how Nuance solutions can meet their needs. He enjoys speaking and writing about business process improvement, The Internet of Things, document security, document conversion technologies and personal productivity. He has an MBA from Iona College, Hagan School of Business and has been working with software technology for 20 years. Jeff is an original New Yorker and, therefore, a staunch Yankees fan – in the heart of Red Sox nation.