Top 4 Business Predictions for 2013

The New Year is upon us, and everyone is curious to see how the business will change and evolve in the coming year. So without further ado, let’s look into our crystal ball (with an assist from plenty of tech-industry insiders) and predict what will happen in 2013.

1. It’s all about Big Data. “Big Data” is just that – it’s a term that describes loads and loads of data, so much data that it’s almost impossible to conceive of.  And it’s so important that NPR suggested it should be the word of the year.  In Wired’s much-forwarded 2008 article on the subject, Chris Anderson predicted a world in which data models are obsolete – where all predictions are obsolete – because we now have so many billions and billions of case studies of human behavior that we cease needing to find a reason to explain why people do the things they do.  All we need is to establish that they do them, and with enough corresponding data confirming this, we can anticipate future actions.

All this is highly theoretical, but it’s revolutionizing the way companies market themselves and engage with consumers.  And while there’s ongoing debate about just how useful Big Data can be in helping companies increase profits and decrease costs, now that IBM and Ohio State have joined forces to open a Big Data analytics center, it’s safe to say that Big Data will continue being a Big Deal in 2013.

2. We continue heading out of the Great Recession, but we’re not out of the woods yet. The National Association for Business Economists believes the economy will continue growing fitfully, at a rate of 2.1 percent in the coming year, due mostly to housing growth sufficient to offset sluggish corporate investment.  Despite predictions for depressed investment, there’s good news for tech businesses: the New York Times recently cited Oracle’s 18 percent profit growth in the latest quarter as being a good sign for industry growth overall.

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

3. Social media continues to matter, at home and abroad. It’s been conventional wisdom for a while now that more fans, followers, and “likes” are good for companies, but now there’s proof.  In his much-talked-about paper “The Power of Popularity: An Empirical Study of Fan Counts and Consumer Brand Stock Prices,” Arthur J. O’Connor tracked the 30 most popular companies on Facebook (as determined by fan “likes”) and compared those numbers to the companies’ daily share prices across a calendar year. “99.5 percent of the change,” he told NPR, “could be explained by the change in fan counts.”  Meanwhile, Google is working on expanding its services in the developing world, according to Reuters, by allowing phones with internet connectivity but limited functions to access basic Google services. The end result could well mean more ad revenue for the search-engine giant, as well as other international companies looking to expand into the new markets.

4. More people work from home, but only in certain industries. More and more people are working from home, according to an October CNN Money article which found that the number of Americans telecommuting at least part-time has increased by 41 percent since 1999, thanks to increased availability of high-speed internet.  However, a study published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that telecommuting has not penetrated the American workplace to the extent often cited, and suggested that employees working from home often ended up working longer hours.

Do you have any business predictions for 2013? Please share them with us in the comment box below.

– Dan Lothringer
Dan is a contributing writer for

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