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Key Business Trends Shaping 2021 and Beyond

Posted by Oscar Combs in Blog, Home Page 15 Jan 2021


Ongoing disruption has forced many businesses to quickly transform. Organizations turned their focus to survival and rushed to adapt to extraordinary circumstances. As organizations become optimistic about the future, these rapid changes will become an integral part of their long-term strategy. This article provides insight into business trends organizations should consider as they move beyond surviving and focus on thriving.


Trend 1: Greater Focus on Privacy and Security

The sudden shift from an onsite to a remote work environment has introduced several challenges to organizations. The focus early on was ensuring connectivity first, to keep businesses running smoothly. The urgent need to switch our work environment meant organizations overlooking security concerns, or putting them on the back burner. This has led to increased cases of phishing attacks, ransomware attacks on company networks and security breaches. If your company bypassed assessing risks and managing changes to your information technology (IT) infrastructure, you should consider doing conducting a risk assessment that reviews access, the current controls in place and the threats the remote work environment may create. Organizations should also consider implementing a formal information security management system, such as ISO 27001, to ensure their data remains safe, secure and private. Moving forward, business continuity will continue to be impacted by how organizations prevent or respond to cybersecurity issues that could disrupt operations.


Trend 2: Elevated Risk Management

In 2007, the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota reported that we average three pandemics a century. They noted that “the 21st century could still give us just one pandemic — or five.” Yet, businesses were disastrously unprepared for the extraordinary risks the pandemic presented. When most organizations think of risk, they might normally think of financial markets, safety or liability exposure for example. Risks related to organizational processes are typically not considered. The introduction of new product lines, issues with our supply chains and even the reduction of departments all present new risks in organizations. By understanding the risks that exist in each of your business processes, organizations can stay proactive and address potential negative impacts before they occur. While we may not be able to plan for every potential risk, organizations can become more resilient by identifying risks and implementing actions proactively.


Trend 3: Changes in Legislative and Regulatory Requirements

Upcoming legislative changes could introduce new regulations organizations may need to comply with. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations for COVID-19 violations vary across the country. If a national standard is implemented, there could be greater enforcement and accountability for employers such as the development of an exposure control plan, maintaining records and effective training of employees. Businesses should stay prepared and ensure their safety policies and procedures are compliant with the current state, local and OSHA guidelines.


For organizations in the cannabis and CBD industry, state and locate entities are anticipated to continue to enact legislation to address legalization. This opens the door to new opportunities for businesses that provide products and services, such as cultivation, production and laboratory testing, to the legal cannabis industry. While cannabis and CBD regulations may not exist at the federal level yet, organizations have been increasingly working to stay ahead of the curve by proactively implementing Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). Beyond staying prepared for potential legalization at the federal level, GMP compliant companies will help ensure continual consumer safety, compliance and consistency in this budding industry.


Trend 4: Remote Work is Here to Stay

The shift to a remote work environment will continue long after pandemic concerns recede. From virtual staff meetings to online networking events, conducting business in a virtual environment will increasingly become the standard. While some organizations rushed to transition to remote work, others such as The ISO 9001 Group already had the infrastructure in place to deliver remote consulting, auditing and training services without major disruption to operations. In our recent Post COVID-19 Market Research Survey, over 80% of respondents said they anticipate continuing to receive remote services after the pandemic. Beyond meeting social distancing guidelines, providing and receiving remote services can help organizations operate more efficiently and reduce costs.


Trend 5: Refining the Reconfiguration 

Businesses rapidly worked to reconfigure existing product and service lines, and even introduce lines to their portfolio. The new processes introduced may not be fully sorted out or seamless. Organizations should focus now on refining these pivots to the processes, to become more agile and efficient. This will allow new processes to be better designed to be sustainable and scalable as the organization continues to change.


Looking Ahead: Are You Ready?

Planning for long-term growth in a volatile, uncertain and complex world can be difficult. These key business trends provide some direction for organizations to focus on moving forward. Our business and management system experts can help you align your systems, people and processes to help your business build a resilient future. Contact us today to learn more.



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Victoria Ontiveros | Marketing Supervisor

Victoria focuses on creating quality educational content that provides value to current and potential clients. By collaborating with members of leadership and sales, she is able to develop informative articles that answer common questions and connect with current trends.

Victoria earned her Bachelor of Science in Sociology with an emphasis in communications from Texas A&M University.

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