THE BLOG
11/26/2015 12:31 pm ET | Updated Nov 26, 2016

The Predictive Enterprise: Five Trends Shaping the Future of Business

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What if you could predict what products or services your customers wanted before they did? What if you knew how your competitors were thinking about the market? What if you could anticipate with accuracy the next game-changing business strategy that would give you a strategic advantage?

These insights would make a huge difference. In fact the more accurate the analytics or business intelligence you had access to would drive your entire business forward. Better prediction, better return on investment. More sales. More satisfied customers. A more successful enterprise would be based on more accurate prediction. The sustainability of your business might even depend on how accurate your predictive capabilities were.

Welcome to the future of business: here comes the predictive enterprise. Are you ready?

As a futurist I am constantly asked by my clients, what are the strategic trends that are shaping the future of global business. What's happening and why? How do leaders stay out in front of these trends? How will this affect business strategy, the workforce, customers and our markets.

There are many trends that are candidates for being the game-changers that are truly shaping the future of business. Here is what I think is a framework to appreciate what's emerging and why. Some trends are more important than others. The predictive enterprise is a game-changer I want to focus on now.

The predictive enterprise is the next evolution in business. Every business must become predictive-to be relevant to be able to leverage data about the market, their customers, the competition, supply chains, pricing, you name it. Data--captured, analyzed, understood and even monetized is the secret sauce that is leading the massive changes coming in business. If your not getting control over every type of your data--streaming, structured, unstructured, mobile, market, Internet of Things ... you name it, then you must change this practice now to embrace a fundamental change coming in business, I advise.

You cannot become a predictive enterprise, to anticipate what you customers want, where your competition is, who your employees are or where you are or need to be in the ecosystem of your marketplace, if your unaware about the value of your enterprise data. Deal with this first. Getting control over and even appreciating your data universe is a great first step.

Next. We are evolving fast from leveraging social media (yes traditional marketing is dead long live marketing 2.0) to using social media as a Intelligence Portal. This is one way to make data actionable--to predict what customers, suppliers, competitors, employees are saying in real time and then plot the patterns of interaction to predict what they "will" say or do. A large part of building the predictive enterprise is to build a sensing network. There are plenty of tools to help automate this process. Listening to what customers are saying Right Now is vital.

The predictive enterprise, attunes itself to the massive data universe with tools to sense, listen, enable and anticipate. This is a massive shift in the behavior and strategy of business. If you don't get this fast you will be disrupted by competitors that will embrace this move with greater agility. Fair warning. This is not like the obligatory shift to the web or mobile. No. This is a tsunami of forces that will do things humans alone cannot do--faster, smarter and network automated. Capital alone cannot do. Traditional marketing cannot do.

Get ready to be be enhanced puny humans by your faster than light speed computational and web networks. Yes I really said that.

You need the right mindset to understand this shift towards prediction-as-a-platform (PAAP). This is where companies will compete--who can innovate faster and on mark with what customers and markets need now or will need. On demand velocity is the new password for business. What can your data do to tell you what you don't know? What can you discover from better understanding your data?

Better prediction is the strategic deliverable that will redefine the enterprise. The race is on, though invisible to most, where prediction will become a competitive differentiator. You want to get ready for this race.

Here are the five trends driving the predictive enterprise:
1. Automated deep learning are systems that can mimic and surpass human learning.
2. Big data analytics. Finding, capturing and extracting meaning from data is essential to gaining insight.
3. Cloud computing enables anywhere access to information, intelligence and resources free from devices or silos.
4. AI and cognitive computing automates smart virtual minds to help make better decisions.
5. Applied data science,will create a new understanding of business algorithms, the rules that shape the future of business.

These five trends are all converging, creating a new era of business intelligence. Every aspect of the enterprise from customers, employees, partners even competitors will be shaped by emergence of PAAP.

The end game of this new era is the predictive enterprise. This is a evolutionary shift in how organizations work and what business is. The agility required to sense, predict and morph--to auto-generate business value is a new type of enterprise velocity that is just emerging. We are not there yet. This is what's coming. And it will be hugely disruptive on business cultures, supply chains, markets and entire industries.

The battle for the future of business will be won or lost based on predictive awareness. In my book Future Smart I published a study of findings that makes the case for the immense importance for business developing a predictive awareness. Your business must evolve to both sense trends and shape future outcomes. By getting out in front of this coming shift in business you may personally establish an advantage that could be instrumental to your success.

You want to change your business strategy to embrace and become a predictive enterprise before your competitors realize the strategic advantages of this trend. The predictive enterprise is coming. I suggest you stake your claim and decide today how prediction could be used to better position your business to succeed in the fast future.