Want to keep growing? Build products for tomorrow, not today

Published · 2 min read

Last month I was in Toronto for the final stop on our #SageSummit tour of the year (if you missed it, don’t worry – we’ll be back next year!). We spent three days meeting our Canadian customers and partners, and finding out how we can propel them to further growth. It was especially great to be there ahead of the opening of our new Toronto office later this year.

I based my keynote speech around a quote from NHL Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky – and not just because it’s basically illegal to give a speech without quoting a hockey player when you’re in Canada.

Gretzky said: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it’s been”.

For me, this is the perfect mantra for anyone in business figuring out how they can take their business to the next level – whether you’re a start-up taking your first steps or you work for a big enterprise. It’s certainly a mantra we’ve adopted at Sage.

Why? Because the pace of technological change is staggering – and we all need to stay ahead of the curve.

Think about these three facts:

90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years.

In three years, it is estimated there will be 6 billion smartphone users on the planet.

And my favorite:

Collectively, humans have watched Adam Sandler on Netflix for longer than civilization has existed.

That’s right. So what does this tell us? Maybe that we have terrible taste in movies – sorry Adam, I think you’re great. But more importantly, that if we were to sit still and just develop products that the market is ready for today, we would be letting our customers down for tomorrow.

Take a step back and look at the trends in your market; figure out where the puck’s going to be; and go there – fast.

This mindset drives what we do at Sage. In our tech labs, we’re working with technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), data sciences, collective intelligence and machine learning, and we’ve already incorporated some of these into our products.

With Pegg – the world’s first accounting chatbot – we’re using artificial intelligence to make business administration invisible. All those mundane, manual tasks like chasing invoices and logging expenses are taken care of by seamless intelligent automation – leaving the entrepreneur with more time to focus on the parts of their business that they really love.

And this is just one example of how artificial intelligence is revolutionizing entire industries. Canada is on the cusp of an AI revolution – AI integration could add an additional $636.1 billion to the nation’s economy by 2035. Toronto Mayor John Tory came to speak at our Summit, and he was adamant about the march of these kinds of technologies – asserting that we can’t ‘turn back the hands of time’, and must find a way to ‘accept disruptive technologies into our economies.’

So my advice to anyone out there looking to attract new customers and take their business to the next level? Keep your eyes open, imagine and create the future and always be ready to adapt fast. Whatever your industry is, technology will be disrupting it somehow – if you stay ahead of the pace of change, your growth potential is limitless. Carpe Diem.

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