5 Ways Businesses Will Change in 2012

2 min read • Dec 01, 2011 • Dan Bischoff

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.

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

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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Dan Bischoff