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The Vodafone Business Future Ready Report 2020

Future Ready Report

We set out to discover which businesses are best prepared for the future, and what those businesses are doing differently to the rest. In our report we explain what ‘future ready’ businesses look like – how they’re approaching emerging challenges in the business world and how they fared during the COVID-19 crisis.

Future Ready Business

What makes a business 'future ready'?


Positive attitude to change

They embrace change and are excited by the future.

Open to new technology

They acknowledge the power of technology to solve business challenges.

Clear steps towards business transformation

They have a roadmap in place for how technology can transform their business.

Detailed strategy

They have a wider business strategy for the future that is documented, specific, funded and measured.

Up to date with trends and uncertainties

They have clearly identified the forces shaping their business and refer to key thought leaders to help.


They can react quickly to new trends or challenges and are quicker to market than competitors.

5 key challenges for 2020

Took some form of action to support those outside their business during COVID-19


Resilience in the face of disruption

At the start of 2020, no business could have predicted that we’d experience a global pandemic. Whilst this has led businesses to focus on short-term priorities such as financial stability, they’re now starting to look at other actions to secure their future.

They're investing in digital transformation to support remote working and improve customer experiences. They're also supporting each other, both inside and outside their organisations - for instance by purchasing more from local suppliers. And they're starting to adapt to new business practices, as well as flexible working.

Our report found that 'future ready' businesses were much better prepared to adapt to the challenges of COVID-19 and are coping well enough to focus on thriving, not just surviving.

Recognise the rapidly growing power of customers


Adapting to changing customer and societal behaviours

Customers expect more than just good products and services - they also expect ethical behaviour, social responsibility and commitment to a wider purpose. And when they don’t get it, they’re willing to take their business elsewhere.

'Future ready' businesses recognise the fast-growing power of customers. In response, they're using data to better understand them and are shaping their policies around their priorities. They're focusing on their brand purpose by prioritising ethical behaviour and investing in local communities.

Have a clear strategy for investment in sustainability


Sustainability as standard

Customers today prefer to buy from and work with socially responsible companies.

With the public becoming more vocal on social issues such as climate change and with regulation increasing, businesses of all sizes and sectors are adding sustainability to all parts of their processes - from what they do with the waste they produce, to how they can minimise energy consumption.

Communication networks and digital tools can allow companies to work in different ways, use fewer resources and, with the right data and IoT, create more sustainable services and business models.

See data as key to making the best commercial decisions


Opportunities of a data-heavy world

Data and digitalisation are transforming businesses across the value chain, but many have more to do to ensure they're collecting this data in the right way and getting value out of it. Meanwhile, tech skills and higher cognitive skills continue to be in short supply.

'Future ready' businesses, however, are better at collecting data and are using it in smarter, more responsible and more strategic ways. They are preparing to compete with employers for the best talent in areas such as AI, robotics and cyber-security.

Select ‘tech skills’ in their top three future talent challenges


Nurturing the talent to succeed

Companies are finding it increasingly hard to attract and retain the talent they need - in part because of generational differences but also because of the growth of AI and advanced technologies.

To overcome this, the most progressive companies are re-thinking their approach to recruitment, tapping into a more diverse talent pool and prioritising training, technology and flexibility as they shoot up the agenda for potential top candidates.

Challenges for 2020


Resilience in the face of disruption

Adapting to changing customer and societal behaviours

Sustainability as standard

Opportunities of a data-heavy world

Nurturing the talent to succeed

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