As per business research conducted by the Economic Modeling Specialists International, the number of people employed in freelance or part-time rose to more than thirty million in the USA by 2014 and set to rise further. It represents nearly a fifth of the overall workforce. Yet, no proper national level policies exist to facilitate the gig-economy workers. Traditional employment protections, vacations, insurance or retirement benefits do not exist for them but only the full-time employees. This is partly due to the fact that historically companies wanted the ownership of talent within the organization, but the internet took away those benefits so now companies are happy to collaborate with external experts. Even in the education sphere, MOOCs has facilitated the ease of doing Executive MBA without from the comfort of one’s computer system. Companies such as Uber, Etsy, Lyft, Airbnb or Zipcar have been at the forefront of this new trend yet continue to get away by providing minimum protection to its workers who are categorized as contractors and not employees. It is time that the peer economy gets formally recognized by companies and governments alike so that freelance workers get the protections due to them.

The field of international business will encounter some unique challenges in the year 2017. One of them is that international company structures are set to be modified. There could be greater emphasis on localized offices rather than headquarters. Companies will increasingly need to tailor their offerings as per local laws, as evidenced by Airbnb running into trouble and fines at Barcelona. A lot of supranational bodies such as the European Union are working to ensure tax compliance so companies need to be extra careful. Pricing needs to be determined depending on local conditions rather than pre-determined corporate strategy as experienced by IKEA whose traditionally low cost offerings suffered in China where there were already cheaper options. Universal payment gateways such as PayPal or Wordpay need to be further integrated using digital currency like Bitcoin. In times of upheaval, those engaged at international business will have stay proactive in tracking currency fluctuations. Global shipment methods need to be carefully scrutinized and then further tracked just as UPS has done by creating Trade-Ability online tool. International traders will need to breach the challenges of communication difficulties and cultural differences including body language. Something beyond the scope of most individual companies is political risks or instability. There also exist complexities in global supply chain. International talent recruitment needs to follow due process so that hidden slavery is not followed as that is a serious offence.  Within the present scope, there cannot be any planning without due diligence followed on environmental concerns, many of which are common across.



Ten business trends which will pull success in the year 2017 have been compiled together. Subject Matter Experts (SME) will drive growth especially in the B2B segment. They will also get increasing sales support. A lot of products may or may not meet public approval, but the concept of crowd-funding gives them the lead as only such ideas will get funding which have some level of mass market support. Content will become fully integrated with sales by driving digital marketing. Video based marketing will further rise in importance stakes. Market research conducted by Forbes has already outlined that four-fifths of people are watching greater video content than last year while a similar number quoted that they watch work related video. A bit more than half do that on YouTube. Two-thirds of professionals have visited vendor’s website after being convince of their work thanks to viewing some video of theirs. The email method may soon get modified thanks to the presence of new collaboration tools such as Slack or even Facebook driven precision target marketing. Brick-and-Mortar stores which do not provide any genuine value ought to disappear from the market in 2017. Instead of broad maxims, it is marketers who advertise niche offerings that will capture customers’ attention. Instead of constantly hunting for new revenue streams, the existing ones will fortify to be recurring. The year 2017 will finally see the millennial generation come of age. Several studies conducted by renowned firms such as Pew, Goldman Sachs and Deloitte confirm that a lot of organizations will hire millennials as leaders while a lot of startups founded by that generation will also flourish.



The term reengineering came into vogue during the 1990s when the first wave of computerization hit full on. Databases, PCs and automated systems overnight made work easier but complicated at the same time. Hordes of professionals now get engaged in noting historical trends so that processes could be revised. Managers would develop these business rules which the engineers would code. Now the present movement may be termed as machine-reengineering as instead of individuals having to keep track, it is machines that are tracking real time business intelligence. The algorithms developed by humans no longer need to remain static as machines are constantly improvising over them. The original reengineering movement stressed on changing too many things far too soon, but the machine based process is more of one step at a time. Machine reengineering processes can broadly be divided into different kinds of tasks- natural language, predicative analytics, visual sensing and anomaly detection. Studies have confirmed that these fields have helped manage five kinds of processes- customer service, enterprise risk or compliance, financial resources, business capabilities and marketing. This process of involving machine learning in improving business processes is called “Scientific Revenue Machine” or SRM. A consumer food company has implemented the same to substantially reduce accidents and delays. Its intelligent visions sensor warns of road problems long before actually encountering the same. Contrary to conventional thinking, machine learning actually creates new workflows and early adopters have proven how useful the concept can be.



Over a business research report submitted by Accenture, it has been understood that at difficult times when targets aren’t achieved, it is usually the Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) who need to pay the price. The same report states that ninety six percent of the CMOs feel that disruptive growth is important so they must focus a major part of their schedule on innovative aspects. Yet, less than a third of them feel that they are at the cutting edge of business innovation. Barely a bit more than a third of the time is spent on driving innovations. Most of the remaining is still spent on traditional marketing operations. After CMOs, it is the chief sales and chief strategy officers most vulnerable to job losses during business downturn. Being best in line to face direct customers, the CMO is expected to drive disruptive growth.



Google has developed Virtual Reality (VR) aided educational tools to enable more futuristic a delivery model in British schools. Many academicians though are aghast and feel that such initiatives are nothing but gimmicks to increase their market share. They warn that once Google and their tech rivals such as Apple or Microsoft enter this market in a big way, their main aim will be to stave off competition from each other to win school contracts rather than benefit the act of education. Also their offerings are quite expensive and fear that parents could get bullied by their children to buy them these gadgets which actually take them away from traditional teaching methods. Google though does not agree and reinforces the fact that this business innovation has been undertaken to tailor education to the needs of present day students who are hooked to electronic gadgets. In order to attract students, animations have been put in and celebrities such as Michelle Obama roped in. The American tech giant also confirms that school teachers themselves are highly satisfied with these tools on trial.



Business research conducted by Forrester has clearly proved what was long suspected. Customer experience has a direct impact on business and sales. In a quantitative study conducted, it was realized that “customer experience drives business growth”. Three start examples shine out. AT & T is one such company that has connected disparate services into a single offering, thus allowing customers greater control over services they use. Ingredion a company that processes potatoes and similar products for the food industry, has added great value by making sure a substantial proportion of their final products are gluten free. This is particularly helpful to people with certain ailments. Vanguard is an investment management company but they have innovated to make their offerings less expensive in an industry notorious for costs. Now it offers digital interaction tools bringing down the cost per sitting substantially. These are three companies that have proven the maxim that “customer experience drives business growth”.


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