While it is difficult to predict the future of business, companies, and industries in the Central American region today, the pandemic does reveal some trends that we will see in the immediate future. For example, according to several studies, eight out of ten organizations consider that focusing on innovation is more relevant than ever, driven directly or indirectly by factors such as technology, the creation of new models, changes in consumer behavior, and market transformation. Aaron Rodriguez, an expert in conducting predictive studies on business development, explains how Central America could be behaving concerning its business trends in the coming year.
“The current context is requiring us not only to survive as a business ecosystem, but also to continuously adapt our business axes to take advantage of the possibilities that are presented to us in the region, and a key part of that vision involves identifying short-term trends, focusing on people and maintaining an innovative vision amid the most complicated times,” Rodriguez explains.
The first on the list of coming trends is technology and new niches. Until not long ago, technology adoption was a practice of large companies; however, in recent years and especially since the pandemic, this has changed drastically, mainly because the digital era makes it possible for businesses of all sizes to use tools, apps, and platforms with components such as artificial intelligence (AI), automation and the cloud, among others. Thus, by 2022 this trend will be even more marked, with new market areas using this type of solution.
Then there are public-private partnerships. Public-private partnerships or project finance consist of the financing of public-private projects with a major investment and very long-term profits; these generally involve the construction of infrastructure for economic development in the mining, energy, port, transportation, and telecommunications sectors, among others. “In a post-pandemic context, where one of the great regional pending issues is the recovery of jobs, project finance is positioned as a source of employment,” Rodriguez explains.
The third is sustainability as a value. Sustainability is one of the main concerns of the companies of the future. This aspect is shared globally since, according to the expert “The Future of Business” from different regions, 50% of a sample of 500 organizations worldwide claimed to have installed solar panels. In comparison, 80% expect to save energy using technologies such as the cloud.
A case in point at the regional level is that of Plásticos Industriales Hondureños S.A. (PLIHSA), a leading producer of crown caps and plastic boxes, which has managed to eliminate 98% of its waste while promoting plastic recycling through the milling process. This is just one of the many examples seen throughout Central America and marks a trend that continues to gain prominence in the region.
And finally, there is the company of the future. In addition, and as revealed by the specialist, “Companies of the near-future are most likely to succeed in the near term, especially those that will work to achieve excellence in capabilities such as intentionally designing a differentiated customer experience, constantly creating and innovating in terms of products and services, possessing a supply chain that responds nimbly and quickly to change, delivering customer value using an ecosystem of alliances and partners, and having a digitally enabled technology architecture.
“In ancient times, men turned to oracles to foresee their future; today, with scenarios as changing as the one set by the healthcare crisis, companies must learn that the only thing that is certain is that nothing is certain while identifying some paths or routes that define the path in the short term,” Rodriguez concludes.