In today’s market, four out of five IT pros believe digital transformation is critical for a business’ survival, according to a recent Masergy report. As companies prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, executives are forced to sift through numerous of megatrends and buzzwords circulating in the enterprise.

SEE: Digital Transformation: A CXO’s guide (TechRepublic)

“Every business model in the future will be a combination of technology and business,” said Svend Wittern, VP and head of industry business innovation at SAP. In his session at SAP SAPPHIRE NOW 2019, Wittern outlined the top 10 most relevant megatrends for businesses, along with the challenges brought by each.

Megatrends are factors that will stay relevant for the next five to 10 years, and these 10 are predicted to dramatically change industries, Wittern said. None of the topics are relevant for a single industry, he added; executives should be working across these company boundaries to take advantage of the changes.

“Megatrends are both a risk and an opportunity,” Wittern said. Change is inevitable, especially as the customer’s preferences shift. “You need to move forward with them–adapt or die,” Wittern added.

Here are the top 10 megatrends currently affecting businesses.

1. Trusted products

Customers want to trust in the products they are using and investing in, said Wittern; not only in the reliability of the products, but in its safety and adherence to the law, too. By providing people with transparency, organizations will earn the trust of their consumers, which will result in a reduction in recalls, increased revenue, and more addressable markets, Wittern added.

2. Education and work

A bachelor’s degree or single professional training is no longer enough to sustain a successful, life-long career, according to Wittern. Business professionals must continuously be learning, both upskilling and reskilling themselves and their employees. If employees aren’t up to date on the latest technology and skill sets, then the organization won’t progress, he said.

3. Circular economy

As resources become more finite, companies must rethink and rebuild the whole product lifestyle, according to Wittern, including design, manufacturing, and delivering. The responsibility falls on organizations to create products that have a longer lifespan, are repairable, use fewer resources, and are easily recyclable, he added.

4. Future cities

With two-thirds of individuals predicted to live in cities, these cities must prepare to host the global population, as well as equip them with sustainable resources, Wittern said. Smart cities are here, and will continue to develop with the rise of 5G; it’s a matter of the cities–and the organizations within the cities–to adapt to that ecosystem.

5. Sustainable energy

Climate change will force consumers to help produce energy and cause providers to reconsider centralized energy generation, Wittern said. Whether sustainable energy is achieved through technology, or from human lifestyle changes, the trend will invade cities and organizations as the years go by, he said.

6. Integrated mobility

“You always get the service for mobility that you need. It’s not just about automated cars,” Wittern said. As two-thirds of people move to cities, they will be looking for safe, convenient ways to navigate their urban, smart environments. This challenge is forcing organizations in the mobility realm to begin thinking bigger, he added.

7. Global supply chains

Artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and analytics are transforming supply chains. Getting customers to trust a product’s quality, origin, and compliance is difficult to earn, but it is also incredibly easy to lose, Wittern said. As supply chains become more advanced and reliable, customers will follow suit, he added.

8. Future finance

As transactions become more digital, the door to threat vectors bursts open. The finance industry will be enveloped by the challenge of offering efficient and reliable financial transactions between partners, Wittern said.

9. Lifelong health

As people grow older, they need accessible and affordable healthcare, Wittern said. The healthcare industry will be posed with the challenge of providing innovative care that both prevents illness, and cures it, he added.

10. Trust, safety, and security

Probably the most underestimated megatrend, safety and security is and will continue to be a major topic of conversation for organizations, said Wittern. Companies must be able to establish and retain trust and security against an evolving threat of disasters, cyberattacks, and targeted misinformation, he said.

For advice on how to keep your company protected, check out this TechRepublic article.

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