Article

Hemanth Yamjala
Hemanth Yamjala 28 January 2021
Categories B2B

Key Trends That Will Shape The Digital Journey In 2021

The key trends that will shape the digital journey in 2021 include a greater focus on enhancing customer experience, data privacy, automation, driving AIaaS and confidential computing, mainstreaming of 5G, and transformation of organizations to composable enterprises.

Digital transformation, hitherto progressing at its own pace, found renewed traction among business enterprises due to the prevailing pandemic. The situation has brought into sharp focus the critical role of digital services in keeping the operations moving, attending to customer's feedback and enhancing their experience, and achieving ROI.

The outcome has been apparent in the last six months wherein digital transformation services have seen acceleration at a scale that was not seen earlier. Attributes like customer experiences, quality across omnichannel environments, and security, have been accepted as must-have deliverables by enterprises.

And those with a brick and mortar presence are reimagining their strategy of adopting digital transformation to stay relevant and competitive. The dynamic nature of the technology landscape and the aftermath of the pandemic have brought out some new trends to shape the digital journey in 2021.

Key Trends to Shape any Digital Transformation Strategy

The year 2021 is likely to witness the following trends in digital technology and promise better customer experiences.

Reimagining customer experience: The customers of today want an immersive digital experience supported by intelligent chat-bots, best-in-class UX, and augmented reality delivered by the product. This demand for excellence is driving enterprises to strengthen their backend integration and maximizing the component usage of software applications thereby lending a seamless omnichannel experience.

Enterprises have their job cut out to design applications for every kind of device and demography. These applications (mobile and web-based) are expected to take full advantage of the device OS and modern browsers. Reimagining customer experience entails binding all customer-facing interfaces together, integrating them at the back-end, and facilitating data visibility all across.

The interfaces could be in terms of a web presence, a visit to a brick and mortar store, or a mobile application. To ensure this, enterprises need to leverage data assurance solutions and deliver top-notch and an all-encompassing CX across the value chain and beyond.

AIaaS (Artificial Intelligence as a Service): AI has progressively made its presence felt in the digital ecosystem with elements like intelligent chatbots, deep learning, data analytics, face and speech recognition, and machine learning.

It has emerged as a technology to go to for creating a framework for cloud computing comprising services such as business intelligence, machine learning, digital assistance, and cognitive computing, among others. AI is going to play a significant role in delivering superior user experiences by predicting the outcome of a situation in an omnichannel environment.

For marketers, AI can be the guiding force in showing relevant advertisements to consumers at the right time and platform so that they can fetch better returns on their spending pie.

5G to be a reality: The news about 5G has been in the public domain for some time now. However, the pandemic has brought to the fore the importance of bandwidth with activities like digital collaboration, online education, remote working, and video conferencing facing occasional hiccups.

Our increased dependence on smartphones, tablets, and other digital devices including the growing number of IoT sensors, has meant the information superhighway called the internet needs to be augmented to absorb the ever-growing needs of the users. With remote working and studying from home becoming commonplace, the need for 5G to be a mainstream service in 2021 is a distinct possibility.

Even though the pandemic had slowed down the speed of 5G deployment, especially in markets like China, the efforts have since been resumed. Also, smartphone manufacturers like Motorola, Apple, Samsung, and Xiaomi are expected to release 5G-enabled phones in 2021 making 5G technology accessible and affordable.

Confidential computing: With cybercrime concerns rising by the day and enterprises getting increasingly wary of hackers and malware, plans are afoot to shore up cybersecurity through confidential computing. Here, the entire computing process is encrypted including the data thereby building additional layers of security around confidential data and information.

Even though the process is still underway and companies like IBM, Google, Microsoft, VMware, and Alibaba, among others, are part of the confidential computing consortium, the work is in progress to develop best practices and new protocols. Thus, the year 2021 is likely to see the mainstreaming of this technology.

Composable enterprise: Enterprises are burdened with a proliferation of software applications with around 8000 in the marketing segment alone. However, a majority of enterprises are of the opinion that Information Technology combining the benefits of digital quality assurance has added the most value by improving productivity, enhancing efficiency, and saving time.

As per Gartner, the composable enterprise is going to emerge as a key technology model to drive business resilience, scalability, and accelerated time to market. Further, it would enable enterprises to transform from the traditional way of operating to the agile way, thereby driving innovation, reducing costs, and forging better partnerships.

Data and user privacy: The awareness of maintaining data and user privacy among users and enterprises is increasing thanks to the new regulatory regimes like GDPR. This calls for a renewed focus on sensitive data and information by enterprises.

In 2021, businesses may pitchfork data and user privacy as their USP to stay competitive. This may let users be the owner of their data and allow them to deny or provide access to their data residing in web/mobile applications and other channels. 

Automation: With competition on the rise and the need for organizations to be lean, productive, efficient, and agile, automation is likely to intensify.

As per Salesforce, about 81% of IT enterprises are likely to automate their tasks and focus on innovation. Also, as per MuleSoft research, around 30% of decision-makers in IT are of the view that automation is a key business initiative for digital transformation.

Conclusion

If 2020 was all about going digital to add value to the customers and achieve ROI, 2021 is likely to be about creating value at the scale and speed of need. The key trends influencing any digital transformation strategy in 2021 would reduce human interactions, drive automation, enhance CX, and simplify lives.

Enterprises ought to understand the paradigm shift taking place in technology and build suitable digital ecosystems to become future-ready.

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