Tired of generic 2022 predictions about remote work, cloud, and data? Here are 5 specific trends for software business leaders to consider:
But this trend is not just for social media platforms. Brands of all kinds are enhancing engagement with their platforms through embedded audio experiences powered by technology like WebRTC that has now matured for widespread use.
1. DATA SECURITY
Forrester's top cyber prediction for 2022: insider threats on the rise +25%. The term "insider threat" conjures up Hollywood images of malicious hackers on the inside exfiltrating data for profit. The reality is that most insider threats are like you and me! ACCIDENTAL insider threats that innocently place data into vulnerable locations all the time, without even realizing it.
It's so easy to be an insider threat, and the reason is that data privacy is just so poor. There's a reason why we even have a dedicated "data privacy day" each year! Between failing security awareness, technology, and standards, this insidious problem is going to get worse before it gets better. It represents a huge market opportunity for innovators, whether sellers of data privacy technology, or simply products looking to differentiate by making their customers' data privacy a priority. See Data Protection Must Solve The Rampant Problem of Insider Threat.
3rd Party Security
A company is only as secure as its weakest link. But what if the weakest link isn't at the company at all, but rather one of its third-party suppliers? This was the case with Target in 2015, that suffered a massive data breach when malicious actors got into Target's system via one of its suppliers, a mom-and-pop HVAC cleaner. More recently it was the case when the US Treasury Board was compromised via its supplier, SolarWinds.
In a recent survey 60% of companies reported being on the receiving end of a supply-chain attack, often the root cause of major data breaches. Solving the problem is a massive market opportunity for software vendors and IS professionals as I outline in Third-Party Vendors At the Root of Data Leaks.
Companies that have no connection to the financial world - Mindbody (fitness), ServiceTitan (HVAC, plumbing), WonderSchool (daycare), Jobber (lawncare, painting) - are already making more revenue from online payments and other financial services than they do from their core software subscription revenue.
Like AWS but for FinTech, new FinTech infrastructure companies like Stripe have made it possible for SaaS businesses to add payment facilitation and other financial services alongside their core software product. By adding payments, SaaS businesses can increase revenue per customer by 2-5x.
In our hypothetical above, a vertical SaaS company that adds, or even embeds, financial products, can potentially 5x the revenue per customer from the $200/month software spend to the full $1000/month for software and services.
See SaaS Vendors Unlock Growth By Offering Their Own FinTech.
The next step after becoming a FinTech is becoming an InsureTech. Traditional insurance is highly inconvenient: I purchase my asset (house, car, lease on an office), but then I have to go somewhere else to buy insurance. It would be natural and highly advantageous to be able to embed insurance at the point of purchase. “Insurtechs” are able to better acquire customers (“would you like some insurance with that?”) and better select risk by leveraging the data of the hosting SaaS platform.
In 2022, we will see insurtechs built in a way that makes them more easily embeddable (fast to bind, able to leverage the platform’s data for underwriting), more infrastructure companies that enable insurtechs to spin up faster, and more platforms looking for insurance partners.
3. PLATFORMS OFFERING NEW WAYS OF ADVERTISING
Promotion on Google and Facebook is more crowded and less cost effective. Word of Mouth becomes even more critical to drive user growth."
Audio in Social Media
The next generation of social media is upon us: Discord, Clubhouse, Chalk, Locker Room, and the like are focused on making the social experience more human. Their primary feature? Audio. From a16z:
Unlike much of social media, which just shows the highlights—the amazing travel adventures, the huge mansions and cars, fitness influencers, or people with amazing dance skills—audio hits different. Listening to someone’s voice is personal, and hearing unedited audio is the opposite of seeing the highlights. It’s about ideas, not the visuals, so it emphasizes a different kind of content that can often feel deeper and more intellectually stimulating. [...]
For many companies struggling to stand out in a noisy marketplace with established players, this is a chance to be a pioneer. These platforms are filling up fast, but they have far fewer entrenched players than the traditional social media channels. Moreover, with a focus on niche community groups rather than the whole world, these platforms offer the chance for more businesses to get a spotlight rather than winner-take-all outcomes.
Discovery of a business outside of these search giants is therefore an obvious trend. One example from Vox:
Shopify knows this, and has started to tiptoe its way toward creating its own online marketplace to help online shoppers discover Shopify merchants by transforming a package-tracking app it already owned, previously called Arrive, into an app with more of a shopping focus. It’s now called, naturally, Shop."
Consumer trend forecaster David Mattin notes:
Millions are already happy to let Spotify take charge of their music experience. Now, expect that mindset to spread to products and services, too.
To serve B2A expectations:
1. Build an algorithm. B2A expectations are all about automating aspects of the customer journey. Can you create a service that does just that? See how the DoNotPay chatbot will scan user emails to cancel subscriptions and get refunds. Or how Tesla cars can now self-diagnose and automatically order needed parts.
2. Circumvent the algorithms: If consumers are to forgo the convenience of automated commerce and seek you out, then they’ll need a powerful reason (e.g. meaningful purpose or sense of community)
At the time of writing, Web3, NFTs and crypto in general are in the news every day, part of Silicon Valley's vision of the Web3 future.
NFTs are blockchain versions of art you can find online. They might be JPGs, GIFs, or MP3s that people want to collect, just like collecting baseball cards. Web3 more generally is about
I have spent time in earnest to understand NFTs. I started by listening to two enthusiastic a16z podcasts on the topic and must admit they were awfully sparse on use cases, even the one literally titled NFT Use Cases Today and Tomorrow.