Sustainability, productivity and the supply chain will be at the heart of business challenges for 2023.

While many hoped that 2022 would be less turbulent than previous years, it is clear that this year has also brought its share of upheavals, such as armed conflicts and an economic downturn. For business leaders, the goal remains the same: how to demonstrate agility in order to continue to innovate and gain market share?

At the dawn of a new year, it is already possible to predict the main themes that will challenge the leaders’ strategies, namely sustainability, productivity and the supply chain.

Quantitative and precise targets for ESG initiatives

According to the 2022 KPMG Survey of Sustainability Reporting, 95% of the French companies analyzed are engaged in sustainability reporting and ESG. In 2023, environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues will move beyond mainstream corporate initiatives. Thus, leaders will set monetary goals to make those goals less abstract. Instead of a general promise to reduce emissions, they will be asked, for example, to reduce waste electrical and electronic equipment by a certain amount.

There is broad support for the idea that companies should prioritize these programs. Without a credible and specific ESG program, brands and companies will be in a bad state. Employees want to work for companies that care about the environment and society. On the other hand, according to CBI, 2/3 of investors include ESG factors in their valuations. As a result, these kinds of initiatives will play an important role in the coming months, as will allegations of green laundering. The smartest players in the market will make sure they have the data they need to back up their claims.

Energy costs will accelerate the development of green data centers

When designing data centers, the issue of respect for the environment has been raised for several years. But with the energy crisis and soaring prices, the overall efficiency imperative has recently gained new momentum. Data centers consume 1-2% of the planet’s electricity, and according to a study commissioned by the European Commission, by 2030 their energy consumption will increase by 28%; therefore, the increase in tariffs will have serious consequences next year.

In addition, the ability to benefit from electricity generated from renewable sources should also be a priority, both in terms of site selection criteria for building new data centers and for refurbishing old facilities. We will also be looking for cooling systems that use less energy to drive down costs even further. Finally, we will see creative ways to use data center heat flourish, either as another renewable energy source or to support innovative side projects.

The need to increase productivity will change jobs again

In difficult times, it’s more important than ever to be productive. This will be demonstrated again next year – and hybrid work may be among the side victims. Working from home has saved many businesses during the pandemic, but it also has its downsides. Among other things, it slows down decision making. Working next to co-workers can actually increase productivity as questions can be answered live. There is no need to send an email or schedule a phone call that can take several days.

Even in the best of circumstances, the ability to innovate faster than competitors is a real advantage, and slow collaboration and decision making can have a negative impact on innovation. In the coming year, more companies are expected to insist that their employees be in the office a certain number of days a week, or even full-time, in order for innovation to happen at the required speed. A trend that the social network LinkedIn has already confirmed in a new study, noting a significant decrease in the number of job offers offering remote work.

Businesses will approach technology vendors with a robust sourcing strategy.

The last two years have taught bitter lessons about choosing suppliers whose supply chain is not reliable enough: in some cases, lead times can reach months or even years. Professionals no longer want to buy from other companies that don’t have a solid supply chain. Therefore, the latter are adjusting their technology stack to anticipate disruptions and uncertainties on a global scale. Those who manage to deliver within a reasonable time frame will benefit greatly. Buyers will need to look for suppliers with multiple sites and manufacturing facilities on multiple continents. The supply chain will need to stand out for its unique flexibility, resilience and responsiveness.

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