The digital revolution has been underway for some time now, but it has picked up great speed during COVID-19 both out of necessity and technological developments that have happened more rapidly out of necessity. So much of the world has changed since the start of the pandemic, and it is hard to imagine how life would have continued without the incredible tech that is available. So, what are the major digital transformation trends that are shaping 2021? There are a handful of trends emerging that are shaping the world and will continue to do so even once the threat of the pandemic has passed. Keep reading to discover the main digital transformation trends in 2021 that have emerged.
Perhaps the most notable change since the start of the pandemic has been the switch to remote work. Businesses were forced to adopt remote work at the start of the pandemic, but for many, it has proven to be a successful experiment. There are obvious advantages for employees, but from a business standpoint, it can boost morale, increase productivity, reduce costs, and make the business greener. On top of this, businesses are now starting to recruit remotely as well, which allows them to cast a much wider net and secure the top talent. Moving forward, the majority of businesses are planning to continue with remote work at least on a part-time basis with a hybrid model.
Leading on from his, cloud computing has been essential for the businesses that have found success with remote work. Cloud computing can bring a wide range of benefits to businesses, including making collaboration easier for remote staff by making it easy to create, edit and share documents and data in real-time no matter where they are working from. Cloud computing can also help to lower costs, improve cybersecurity, and make it easier for the business to scale when the time comes, so there are many perks to cloud migration, and it is easy to see why so many companies have embraced this in recent times.
One of the best ways that companies can utilize data is with AI-based decision-making. When businesses can use AI to gather, analyze and interpret huge sets of data, it allows them to identify patterns and trends that might have been otherwise hard to spot. This allows businesses to make intelligent, informed strategic decisions to reduce risk. In a time where many businesses are struggling, and the margins are fine, strategic decisions need to pay off, and AI-based decision making is helping companies to make the right decisions and find ways to continue to find success even during challenging times.
Contactless tech has been critical during COVID-19 as a way for businesses to continue safely and to protect public health. Businesses in all industries can meet and carry out transactions with the help of contactless tech, and this has made it possible for many companies to manage during this challenging period. Contactless payments have been on the rise for a long time now, and it is likely that the pandemic will finally lead to becoming a cashless society, which can bring a range of benefits for both consumers and businesses.
Leading on from this, financial technology is also a major trend in 2021 that is shaping the world. Not only are people now conducting their banking entirely online, but fintech is also starting to be used in a range of other industries as well. Financial tech is being used by lenders that can utilize data to make instant decisions for those looking to take out a loan, robo-advisors can help people to make smarter investment decisions thanks to the use of data, and AI and cryptocurrency is becoming more mainstream, just as a few examples of ways that fintech is being used.
As if the pandemic has not been hard enough for businesses and people to cope with in recent times, it has also led to a sharp rise in cybercrime. The rise of remote work and the disruption that COVID has caused has led to a huge spike in cybercrime, which is why cybersecurity has emerged as such an important digital trend in 2021. Businesses are having to bolster their cybersecurity protection by investing in new products and services as well as providing staff training for how they can stay safe, particularly when it comes to working remotely. Consumers are also having to do more to protect themselves and avoid the common scams.
Developments in AI technology in recent times has made automation common in many industries. It has really taken off in recent times, particularly for companies that are having staffing issues as a result of COVID-19. Automation has been a word that has caused some anxiety and stress in years gone by, but people now realize that it can actually be used to complement staff and lighten their load. By utilizing automation for repetitive tasks, it can free up time for your staff to focus on the key aspects of their role that need a human touch. Moving forward, it is likely that more and more businesses will look to automate as much of the business as possible, particularly when you see the range of benefits that this can bring.
Following this, cobots are also becoming a major trend in industries like manufacturing. These are robots that can actually work alongside employees and help to streamline processes. This is an example of how man and machine can co-exist peacefully on the work floor, and it is likely that these cobots will become more prevalent in the coming years. Cobots have actually been around since the 90s, but the tech has come on leaps and bounds in recent times, and now they can handle all kinds of different tasks and responsibilities and be a real advantage to a business and the employees.
Blockchain is associated with cryptocurrency, but actually, the technology has many other capabilities, and it is starting to be experimented with within different industries. The security that blockchain technology can provide makes it incredibly valuable for industries such as banking, cybersecurity, government, healthcare, and life sciences, insurance, and telecommunications, just as a few examples. As the tech becomes more mainstream, it is likely that it will play a much bigger role in many different areas of life and business in the years to come.
Project management has undergone a major transformation due to technological developments and disruptions as a result of COVID-19. Data analytics, virtual projects, collaborative tools, and project management software has been key to successful project management in 2021, particularly in fields like engineering. Project management in engineering during these challenging times like this requires innovation and tech, but also great leadership and soft skills. This is why engineering managers will benefit from a master’s in engineering management, which will develop the key skills and knowledge necessary to excel with project management during COVID-19 and beyond.
5G will gain much greater prominence in the months to come and is arriving at the perfect time with so much of life now being digital. 5G brings far greater speed and connectivity, which will help in a time where so many people are working remotely, and there is a growing demand for increased bandwidth. 5G will improve the user experience, boost digital collaboration, improve IoT connectivity and help the digital revolution to move forward.
There was a time not too long ago where chatbots could be clunky and actually do more harm than good. This is no longer the case as AI technology has improved so much, so now they are a great addition to the company website for any business. This is particularly true in a time where many consumers have low confidence and are likely to have questions relating to COVID-19. A chatbot can provide 24/7, instant customer service, and this could give your business a competitive edge and stop you from losing out to the competition. Consumers will not wait around for a response, but the younger generations are also unlikely to pick up the phone, so being able to provide instant digital customer service is key and could take your business to the next level.
These days, consumers also expect a personalized customer experience. Data can be used to improve the customer experience by making suggestions and providing a better service based on their data. As a business, you will always want to provide the best possible customer experience, and this is made much easier with the use of data enabling personalization. Not only does personalization help companies to retain customers, but it is also useful in terms of creating a stronger bond and helping a business to improve its reputation. In a time where businesses have to compete online against many other brands, personalization can help companies to stand out and attract and retain customers.
While driverless cars remain some way off, it is clear that large strides are constantly being made, and this will be the future of driving. Car manufacturers are now incorporating many autonomous features in the latest vehicles, which can make driving both easier and safer as well as provide the ability for many in the disabled community to be able to drive. Automatic emergency brake, lane keep assist, and blind-spot detection are a few key safety features that are saving lives and preventing accidents from occurring.
In a time where customer data is so valuable to businesses and can be used in many different ways, it has seen the rise of customer data platforms (CDP), and these will be key moving forward. CDPs gather data from multiple sources and create a single view of each customer, which makes it much easier for businesses to utilize and benefit from customer data.
Augmented and virtual reality are two types of techs that were on the rise prior to COVID-19 but have become much more prevalent in the last 18 months and can be used in many industries. These technologies are useful because they allow people to experience virtual spaces together, see products in a “real-life” setting, and can be useful for training and simulations. Previously, augmented, and virtual reality have been viewed as mainly used for video games, but the options are endless for ways to use this impressive tech, and it will be interesting to see how it is adopted moving forward and past COVID-19.
Healthcare has, obviously, been put under immense strain during the pandemic, and it has had to be resourceful in order to manage. One of the most notable ways that healthcare has managed during COVID-19 has been the adoption of telehealth, which allows people to receive the healthcare that they need without putting themselves or others at risk. In addition to this, the use of tracking, testing, and tracing technology has been pivotal in helping to slow the spread of the virus, and it is hard to imagine what the situation might have looked like if this technology was not in place and available.
It is not just remote work that has taken off in recent times but also online learning. Children have spent a lot of time studying remotely during COVID-19, and this has been made possible thanks to videoconferencing, language learning apps, virtual tutoring, and e-learning software. It is not just young students that can benefit from this as college students have been able to adapt, and many course providers are now offering courses that are entirely online, giving people much greater choice when it comes to finding the right course.
These are the main digital transformation trends that are shaping the world in 2021. It is a strange and unique time with so much of life changed, but this has only been possible thanks to the incredible technology that has been developed in recent times.