Phones, tablets, personal assistants, robots and even drones might be what we think of most when considering innovation. These technologies are helping us to manage our everyday lives, as well as innovating business practices.
Mobile wallet applications, virtual cards and cryptocurrency are changing the way payment networks are being managed, and terms that we would never have considered five years ago are becoming household words in knowledge and in practice.
User experience is the focus of much innovation today, business and consumer users want technology to make tasks easier and faster. AP solutions and robust payment networks can be seen to be at the forefront of this type of technological development. Companies are streamlining systems and choosing electronic payments in order to lower costs, mitigate risk and optimize administration.
Applying technology to the way you pay suppliers by choosing solutions like integrated payables and virtual payments allows for these 6 essential benefits:
1. Cost saving
2. Safety and security
3. Payment as well as file transmission
4. Flexible payment options
5. Financial transparency
6. Fast and efficient payment processing
However, products like these along with a plethora of business management apps, software, and cloud-based storage systems are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to business innovation, and it might be that the most impactful innovations are not products at all.
We have given credit to the millennial generation for driving business innovation and inspiring purpose driven goals for corporations large and small. Companies are being held accountable to be more responsible to the environment and to their internal culture. In short, ethical business management is just one of many bustiness strategies that we see as innovation for 2018.
Entrepreneur.com recently wrote:
"Ethical entrepreneurship and management is a huge focus of concern for this generation. It’s not just about protecting employees and vendors from discrimination based on race, gender, sexuality and religion — modern business owners and managers also worry about ethical product acquisition, social responsibility and environmental awareness."
This type of thinking is paving the way for innovative solutions that can help. Ethical consultants will soon become common place in providing guidance and expertise on topics such as protecting job candidates from discrimination or how to get LEED or B-Corps certified. There are also organizations that help to galvanize corporate innovations – for example the Global Innovation Management Institute:
"Founded in 2009, the Global Innovation Management Institute (GIMI), is the global nonprofit standard certification board for innovation and innovation management. GIM Institute was initiated by a group of chief innovation officers, innovation executives, academics and consultants from around the world. GIM Institute’s worldwide advocacy for making innovation a professional business discipline is reinforced by our globally recognized standards and certification program, extensive academic programs, communities of practice, and professional development opportunities.
Ethical business management is just one of many bustiness strategies that we see as innovation for 2018."
GIMI helps corporations understand the trends in business innovation because when one trend might fail within the year, others like social responsibility (B-Corp) and CRM (Salesforce) end up blazing a trail to the future. Most recently, GIMI has identified the following trends that are changing the business landscape.
1. App-ify: Modern society wants to have shortcuts for everything. We ‘app-ify’. We use apps to ask for a taxi, to confirm medical symptoms and count steps. In this day and age, every company is expected to have a mobile app.
2. Cloud Generation: It is expected that all startups born in 2016 and 2017 will be part of the ‘cloud generation,’ and we will see some breakouts that achieve hyper-growth with very little physical presence. If your company is not already working to add cloud based services there is a good chance they will within the very near future.
3. Crowdsourcing: Organizations of different scale will continue to use and benefit from crowdsourcing. Thanks to the internet and social media, crowdsourcing is one of the hottest new methods of tapping customers (and the wider public’s) knowledge, creativity and insight to further your company’s goals. Organizations are crowd-sourcing for solutions to technical problems or to discover winning algorithms.
4. Global startups: The startup boom, and lower fuel costs, are providing much needed oxygen to the still-strained global economy and will likely spread. Today’s breed of entrepreneurs is discovering global opportunities: available funding, global receptive customers, cheap and scalable technology.
5. Non-ownership: TechCrunch in 2015 made quite a statement about shared economy: "Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate."
6. Post privacy: A new generation of people simply won’t understand the concept of privacy. A generation of people who have grown up sharing tagged images of their most personal moments, who have had every Gmail read, who have lived with loyalty cards and financial dashboards will have a completely different concept of privacy.
7. Same day delivery: Many companies are entering the fold to compete for that last segment of a shipping: local delivery, with the added advantage of offering same-day service. New shipping technologies and services that will save time and money while offering a great customer experience, as well as opening up goods and services to new markets.
8. Social Responsibility: Social responsibility has been a game changing trend for years. Many companies acknowledge social responsibility as fashionable and profitable, and just the right thing to do which is why they are incorporating deep social change into their strategies.
Phones, laptops, robots and drones are not the only innovations to watch, other innovative practices and systems could be even more impactful for your company. Not that long ago, no one imagined a shift that would push companies toward strengthened electronic payment networks and implementing virtual AP systems. But if history is proof, there is more innovation on the horizon, and we can be sure it will make for even better business.