The events of 2020 has changed nearly every industry. Some argue that COVID-19 simply accelerated trends that were occurring on their own, such as flexible work options and a mass exodus to online retail. But whether you anticipated a trend one way or another, one thing is for sure: you have to keep up, or else you may drown.
This is also true in entrepreneurship, and with tech companies. With more of a focus than ever on the online world, tech companies are in the hot seat, being relied on more than ever. But they aren’t immune from the many trends of 2020. Whether you’ve been at the helm of a tech company for years or you’re just now building one, note the following trends and projections in tech for 2020 into the next decade.
Dwindling: The Amount That Consumers Are Willing To Spend On Tech
Tech has done a considerable job in recent years in providing financing and subscription options to lighten the financial burden of expensive products. For example, Apple began working with a financing firm to provide more accessible options for purchasing new iPhones or Macs. According to economic forecasting, a focus on decreasing price and increasing value should be front and center to conversation regarding the release of new consumer-facing tech products. Even if the daunting economic repercussions of 2020 turn around in the coming years, a priority will still be on economic recovery, meaning consumers are less likely to splurge on unnecessary tech products, and will only purchase new if there’s a clear ROI.
This extends beyond consumer-facing products and into business’ financial decisions. According to Forrester, who warns about the slowing growth of US tech spending, “US manufacturers and exporters have seen little or no growth in revenues and will hold back on their tech purchases. Quarantines and travel shutdowns related to the virus have already disrupted supply chains, adding to the tariff disruptions many manufacturers had already been experiencing.”
How to get around this? Focus on products that do deliver a clear ROI to the customer – and think through accessible pricing options. Offer payment plans, financing, or a subscription-based pricing model to increase the chances of customers in these vital and uncertain years.
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Increasing: Your Tech Team Can Now Be Truly Global
Now that more companies than ever are committed to working remotely (not just through 2021 – but some, like Twitter, pledging to work remotely permanently), this is great news for burgeoning tech teams. Rather than being limited to software engineers and developers immediately in your city, you can look elsewhere to source the very best talent for what you’re building. However, finding the right fit can become more difficult due to the abundance of options. Whereas before, attending hackathons and meet-ups was a great way to source tech talent, turn your focus online, now. Post in Facebook groups and use freelancing forums to connect with individuals who have the skillset, moxie, and vision that you’re seeking and set up informational interviews.
When it comes to interviews done remotely, Liz Keyes, the Director of Human Resources at Coalmarch, told The Muse that on the plus side, “switching to virtual interviews has allowed for more flexibility and saved time for both interviewers and candidates.”
“Rather than reserve a conference room and have candidates commute to the office, we can easily schedule a video meeting from the comfort of everyone’s home,” she expanded. Use this flexibility to your advantage to find the best fits for your team.
Changing: Tech Profitability
As the latest and greatest developments are unfurled, note what tech products have booming profitability, and which are lagging behind. For example, voice-enabled AI has boomed in recent years, following the introduction of Siri and Alexa. This disrupted the industry by adding a level of convenience that consumers now crave. Additionally, there’s a growing line of thought that open protocols (such as cryptocurrency or any platform that does not have a proprietary gateway) are becoming more profitable than applications. This idea was recently promulgated by Lucas Asher, the founder of a billion dollar private equity firm and an investor in companies like SpaceX, Palantir, and Robinhood, on a Harvard in Tech webinar. In his words, he warns that “applications will embrace open protocols or die.”
A product’s profitability ebbs and flows according to a much larger background and context: what trends are piquing consumer interests, the cost of development, and the perfect price-point. In other words, ensuring your own tech product’s profitability requires an understanding of the larger technological shifts that are evolving within an industry.
While all of these trends are critical to keep in mind and pay close attention to, also bring your company’s focus back to problem solving. There are so many tech-related needs in the new state of the world. If you can solve a problem for a consumer, the trends fall into the backdrop. Aim to create a product that stands out from the noise simply because of what it offers to those who use it.