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COMMENT: Top 10 business buzzwords of 2016



This year has been tough on all businesses, and especially on mining companies seeking to raise funds, survive commodity prices that remain mostly in the doldrums, and deal with a shifting world of business in general. Our friends at EY have compiled the Top 10 business buzzwords of 2016, and we pass them along.

Disruption – The definition of innovation is creating better iterations of products or services that already exist. Disruption, however, is a complete re-thinking of an organization’s business model, purpose, customer base and value proposition. This results in dramatic changes to the organization’s products and services, and frequently, changes the rules of an entire industry. The combination of ever increasing insights from vast amounts of data, technological advances and changing customer expectations, will result in disruption happening to both businesses and industries more frequently.

Blockchain – Think of blockchain as a version of the Internet that can carry out various transactions, but is virtually impossible to hack. It has the potential to revolutionize financial services by making transactions cheaper, quicker, and more transparent and trustworthy. Given its enormous potential, financial services companies will continue to experiment with blockchain to uncover its most valuable applications.

Cybersecurity – Cybersecurity focuses on protecting computers, networks, programs and data from unintended or unauthorized access, change or destruction. Increasing connectivity and digitization has created a significant opportunity for criminals and compromises safety. It has become an imperative that organizations emphasize protections of their systems and personnel and safeguard their data.

FinTech – Financial technology companies, or FinTechs, use the power of advanced technology to build sleek, user-intuitive, low-cost tools for financial services. From wealth management, to insurance, to lending, they’re quickly attracting customers around the world. According to the EY FinTech Adoption Index, adoption of FinTech products in Canada is expected to triple in the next 12 months. To keep up, traditional banks are already investing in a more customer-centric approach through their own investments in technology or partnerships with FinTechs.

Data analytics – Data analytics helps organizations take massive amounts of data (also known as Big Data) gleaned from their operations, customers and products – and derive important insights from it. As a result, data analytics can optimize key processes, improve products and help companies become more customer-centric. The more companies understand about their operations and processes, the more they’re able to make meaningful improvements.

Digital – Digital encompasses communication, processes, cybersecurity and everything in between. As organizations look for new ways to grow and protect themselves, old models may no longer apply and companies need to think of their digital strategy. Businesses now more than ever need to consider every angle, from financial implications to strategic transformation, in order to plan their future. Digital should be woven through everything you do and more importantly – everything your customers do.

Environmental sustainability – The idea of using present resources without irrevocably damaging the environment – land, air and water – for the future has been around for years, but is now encompassing every sector. From regulators setting new carbon reduction goals, to shareholders demanding transparency, sustainability is no longer a “nice-to-have” – it is a business imperative.

Innovation – The acceleration of change in every sector means organizations must evolve to survive – they need to innovate. Innovation means constantly improving a product or service by finding novel ways of solving old problems. It doesn’t always happen organically and businesses need to have an innovation strategy. Every sector, including energy and financial services, are forced to innovate in order to develop new, viable offerings that create value for their business.

Operational excellence – Operational excellence is about using a variety of tools and principles to continuously improve an organization’s key performance metrics. For example, cost efficiency improvement starts with an analysis of the current cost base and operations performance. With geopolitical and economic uncertainty, many companies will be turning to operational excellence to help streamline their processes and cut costs where possible. Right now, operational excellence is crucial in the oil and gas sector, but is also very relevant to the insurance industry and financial services.

Mid-market – There are over 1.2 million private businesses in Canada. The middle market supports our communities by creating jobs, and driving economic growth. In the past few years, the buzzword “middle-market” has been used to describe small to medium-sized private businesses – but there’s nothing small about them. Ranging from start-ups to large, multi-billion dollar organizations, these organizations’ ability to remain agile makes them a force to be reckoned with in 2017, and beyond.

Now CMJ readers can speak the same language as other business leaders when it comes time to commiserate.


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