Dec 01, 2011

5 Ways Businesses Will Change in 2012

Note: This is a guest post by Christian Lanng, CEO and Co-Founder of Tradeshift. We’re excited to have him on our blog again.

5 Ways Businesses Will Change in 2012

In 2011, the global economy shaped lives of companies everywhere.

The very real world effects of the financial crisis that started in 2008 could be felt: youth unemployment approached 30% in Spain while it rose to nearly 20% in the United States. At the same time, however, the startup scene saw its largest boom in the past decade.

The worldwide recession had a massive effect on technology and start-ups, but just as often led to new opportunities instead of challenges. Based on the trends of 2011, here’s what businesses can expect in 2012:

Local will be the new global

A lot of manufacturing and sourcing of services are going to be local again. Rising cost of transport will force larger customers to buy locally and a new generation of low cost automated manufacturing equipment will make small business competitive again.

Job creation will be #1 priority

The current job crisis has highlighted the necessity for companies to create sustainable businesses that create jobs. Job creation is going to be politically rewarded, but also expected by the general public, so expect it to be part of the CSR codex. This feeds back into the growth of local as the new focus for sourcing.

Innovation will matter more than capital

The rise of start-ups and a new renaissance in venture funding means that what matters most is going to be ideas and the ability to execute them. The growth stars of 2012 is going to be small companies, as they can execute faster and the infrastructure to run a business is getting increasingly cheaper. Finally there will be no money in the banks, so innovation capital is your best bet for cash flow.

Business software will be about you

The last generation of business software was meant to optimize your back-office, make accounting easier and keep up with tax rules. The new generation of business software is going to focus on creating value for your business, connect your customers and suppliers in a network and make it easier for you, not your accountant, to do business.

Technology will disrupt everything (again)

Cloud computing, mobile and social networks are three mega trends reinforcing each other. The cost of software will go down radically and you will have access to all your business information no matter where you go. Finally software will be connected, both inside and outside the company.

About Christian Lanng, CEO of Tradeshift

5 Ways Businesses Will Change in 2012

Christian Lanng

Christian Lanng is the CEO and Co-Founder of Tradeshift Network, which helps businesses exchange invoices for free. He was formerly the Head of the Danish Division at National IT and Telecom Agency, and the head of section at the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. Follow him on Twitter at @christianlanng

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  1. Thank you, captain obvious!

    I hope there is more “thought” behind Tradeshift than this piece of no-substance obvious comments.

    Of course job creation is very important in a financial crisis and innovation has always been more important than capital.
    For the past 10+ years business software has been about optimizing your backoffice TO make it easier for both you and your accountant.

    This reminds me of all the hollow dot com talk from the late nineties, but then again so does Tradeshift in many ways.

    • Hi Morten,

      How boring and predictable.

      You know nothing of Tradeshift and yet you make your conclusions about our company based on rumors and one article (which is not about Tradeshift).

      Now the format did not leave space for large detailed predictions, but I think there is more to the job creation thing that meets the surface. Political pressure + low cost manufacturing mean that a lot of classic jobs will move back, but be redefined, engineers overseeing robot factories rather than working at the assembly line, procurement patterns and sourcing will also change as enterprises are forces to find local suppliers, this all have an effect for how business software is built and thought.

      To the second point I think that business software have largely failed in making it easier for you to run your business, Podio, Workday and Tradeshift are all good examples of massive innovation in this space and this is just the top of the iceberg. Chris Dixon just made a great blog post about one of the reasons why this is so:

      If you want to learn more about Tradeshift and what we ACTUALLY do you are more than welcome to write me on christian.lanng AT or @christianlanng at Twitter.

  2. Morton, thanks for stopping by. Although, I’m not sure where your contempt for Tradeshift comes from. He was just sharing some trends for the new year. What other trends do you think we’ll see in 2012?

  3. Wow Morten, not sure such aggression is needed.

    I actually think Christian makes some good points and not everyone is aware of these so good on him.

    There’s a huge change going on towards communities becoming more resilient and driving more sustainable business activities and I think anything that supports that has got to be a good thing. There is much greater support for social business and a huge driver for smbs to be supported by large companies and the government.

    There is definitely great deal of thought behind Tradeshift which you should look into and I expect you’ll see that over the next few years.

    I hope you have a cheerful festive season and have time to chill out.


  4. Innovation will matter more than capital
    I very much hope so. Innovation is a forgotten concept in most of the large enterprises. Current course and speed is not going to get the world out of hole of despair it is in now.

  5. You mention that local will be the new global. As in, items that companies import will no longer be imported due to high transportation costs, and instead will be made here in the United States. My question is, how do you think a company such as Walmart will handle a transition like this? From my understanding, Walmarts products are sold so cheaply due to the fact that the Chinese are treated so poorly, and paid so little. What happens to all the Walmart stores in the future? What happens to all the current Chinese workers that are treated like slaves from the 1700’s?

  6. Solid Blog Post. You need to relax Morten!! Get some sun.

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