Embracing digitization may no longer be an option, especially for companies. 2020 was a year of learning and survival for many businesses. Those that depended on brick-and-mortar establishments found themselves at risk of closing shop. Moving to the digital space was more about survival than anything else.
But, work had to go on as usual. Companies had to find a way to continue normal operations. Remote working, easy collaboration, and efficiency were critical. Yet, customers demanded the same if not better service.
Companies that are already operating in the digital space have an advantage. They had a level of maturity that new entrants had to catch up with. 2021 will be a year when companies continue to explore what the digital space has to offer.
Our article will look at the latest trends of the digital transformation capability model in 2021.
Digital Transformation Trends to Look Forward to in 2021
Digital transformation is the adaption of smart digital technologies. You do this intending to improve processes and competencies. The process is strategic. It requires a change in the culture and organization’s way of operating.
The transformation has many facets to it. Such include innovations around new business models.
Companies must first analyze the current situation. They then look at new technological trends that can transform their businesses.
Embracing new technologies is a strategic move. It must add value to the organization. Whatever you do must take into consideration all the different stakeholders. The outcome should be positive experiences for the end-users.
Let’s go into some of the trends we can expect in 2021 and beyond.
1. A Culture of Digital Readiness
The reality for businesses is consumers always need consistency and a good experience. It does not matter what channel they are using to shop; the positive interaction must be present.
Companies must invest in the right technology to ensure customer satisfaction. The use of chatbots, for example, can improve customer service. Mobile solutions are critical. Many customers use such devices to shop and browse the internet.
Companies must find a way to integrate digital transformation efforts into existing structures.
2. Greater Efficiency through Automation
Automation helps with repetitive mundane tasks. Companies can then concentrate on other growth areas. Robotic process automation (RPA), for example, is not anything new.
But, incorporating the capabilities of artificial intelligence can improve the processes. For example, it saves time on tasks like manual data entry while ensuring better accuracy.
Data processing also becomes easier with automation. A company can, for example, support up to 65% of HR tasks with the right tools. It helps reduce delays, resulting in higher efficiency.
3. 5G Will Find Its Way to the Mainstream Market
More people are working or schooling from home. They need stable internet connectivity. 5G is not by any means a new discussion. Countries like China were already at the forefront of deployment.
Companies like Motorola, Samsung, and Apple are forerunners. They already have 5 G-enabled mobile devices in the market. In addition, over 35 countries are already enjoying 5G services from 380 Telco operators. With inexpensive options, mainstream customers can access the benefits of 5G technology.
5G will come with hyper-connectivity. It refers to the constant connection between people and machines. The same applies to machine-to-machine connectivity.
Some companies already have automation that connects to IoT systems. It allows the machines to communicate with complete autonomy.
4. Customer Experience Optimization to Drive Digital Transformation
One of the most critical components of digital transformation is better customer experiences. It is achievable through the use of data to drive decision-making. Marketing activities, for example, depend on data for the correct targeting.
Digital Technology is the medium for information and service delivery. Yet, a majority of businesses continue to operate using legacy methods. As a result, they find that they cannot compete with more digitally mature companies.
Such companies experience up to 40% higher operational efficiency. Efficiency in marketing is as high as 36%. Such companies are also able to meet customer requirements by up to 35%.
Here are some interesting facts. First, startups embrace digital strategies faster than traditional companies. Up to 55% of new companies adapt digital Business models. Compare this to 38% of adoption in traditional companies.
5. Greater Use of Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Machine learning and artificial intelligence are already transforming the digital landscape. Many companies are utilizing such to deliver better customer experiences. We can only expect more companies to invest in such technology.
Industry experts predict that global spending could reach $110 billion by 2024. However, the global spend as of 2020 was at about $50 billion.
Companies hoping to survive must adopt digital transformation. It will be a critical component for agility, innovation, and scalability—all essential considerations for the growth of the business.
Businesses must embrace the democratization of AI so that it is available to everyone. AI and ML can be expensive, but the benefits are worth the investment. For service providers, the result will be higher efficiency. For the customers, it will be higher satisfaction due to better customer experiences.
6. AI to Lead to Hyper-Automation
A significant benefit of artificial intelligence is hyper-autonomy. The more intelligent the machines become, the less they will need manual interference. A good example would be Autonomous cars, which will have a significant impact on mobility.
Software testing is already possible with intelligent test automation tools. The process is faster. You can also be sure of higher accuracy in the results.
The combination of AI and ML is already creating a buzz in the industry. We can expect the conversations to get bigger in 2021 and beyond.
7. A More Significant Move to Sustainability
Companies will shift to processes that are kind to the environment. It will impact all levels of operations. Such include supply chain and product reinventions. But this time, there will be a merge of digital transformation and sustainability.
Businesses will adopt applications that use AI and the internet of things (IoT). Such can help reduce waste and carbon emissions. Companies will also see a reduction in operational costs.
Energy efficiency, for example, can use data collected from AI algorithms. It helps reduce wastage through data-driven monitoring.
Embedding IoT in existing network solutions brings all the benefits of computing capabilities. In addition, it allows for greater autonomy in how the different devices operate.
8. Higher Investment in Cybersecurity
Customers are more comfortable with companies that take their security as a priority. However, some businesses collect a lot of data. Therefore, they must invest in the right technology to safeguard against security breaches.
Web applications are hunting grounds for hackers. 2020 statistics on cyber-attacks will show you why companies must have proper security. There was an 80% increase in cyber-attacks targeting firms.
Banks experienced a remarkable 238% rise in breaches. From January to April 2020, attacks on cloud-based applications grew by 630%. Remote working has made the situation worse. Employees do not have the cover of secure networks like they would when working onsite.
It requires the company to invest in in-house and off-site security infrastructure. As a result, we can expect greater innovation from security app developers. The use of artificial intelligence, intrusion detection, and more robust firewalls will emerge.
9. Multi-Cloud Architecture to Reduce Business Risk
Multi-cloud architecture is a trend that is catching on. It moves away from the single cloud architecture that many businesses know. The company, instead, uses more than one public or private cloud platform. They use it for workload and application distribution within the company.
You get better data residency, resilience, and disaster recovery. The company also benefits from the best solutions while avoiding vendor lock-in. However, managing multi-cloud architecture comes with its challenges.
The business needs to have the right infrastructure to manage the different clouds. Automation in cloud management solutions can help with such.
10. No Contact Digital Solutions and Payments
Contactless Digital Solutions are becoming more common in customer-facing businesses. You will find such in use in cafes, restaurants, and brick-and-mortar stores. Think about the convenience of ordering food from the comfort of your home. The same applies to deliveries right to your doorstep.
Using digital technology like QR codes makes this possible. A customer can browse the menus and complete their order via their mobile device. Companies using contactless digital solutions in payments will need the proper infrastructure.
Yet, the modern customer will make it necessary for them to invest in such. Health and safety are critical concerns in 2021. A company could lose out by not accelerating such digital transformations.
We have looked at some of the latest trends of the digital transformation capability model in 2021. Companies must embrace such to stay relevant. The modern customer is even more demanding in the quality of service.
Anything that brings efficiency in processes is welcome. The company will see positive outcomes. However, one thing remains clear as we go into 2021 and beyond. Embracing digital transformation will no longer be a choice.
Companies and, indeed, individuals must keep up with emerging trends. Only then can they plan and put in place measures that make sense to the business.