Digital transformation is no longer a buzzword in the corporate sector. C-level executives tend to embrace digital transformation and explore the way they can do necessary changes. In the year 2021 and beyond, digital transformation trends will revolve around four themes- cost reduction, business growth, digital scale up, and organizational changes.
Here are the top ten digital transformation trends to dominate in 2021 across all the industry sectors. These are basically the benefits of digital transformation that companies want to leverage in the years to come. We will classify these trends among four themes that we mentioned above.
Top Ten Digital Transformation Trends for 2021
We will dig deep into these trends as per four themes mentioned above.
Becoming environmentally responsible is the need of the hour for modern enterprises. But, it requires huge investments, radical changes in the supply chain and other processes, and enhanced governance. This process is time-taking and will remain in focus in the year 2021 and beyond. Digital transformation solutions can bring sustainability effectively. Technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), AI, and edge computing can reduce operational costs significantly and reduce carbon footprint and emissions when working together in the digital transformation process.
On one hand, these emerging technologies can reduce human intervention in various business processes, and on the other hand, they can bring energy efficiency. For example, Google uses DeepMind AI that can reduce the electricity bills by 40% in its data centers.
2. Digital Twins
IoT enables enterprises to embed sensors in physical objects and equipment. It can collect massive data. The data can be processed and visualized automatically with the help of advanced analytics and machine learning (ML) algorithms to create digital representations of the real world. They are known as digital twins. Unilever has already started leveraging digital twins.
It can help employees make insightful decisions while freeing them up from doing repetitive tasks. As a result, they can focus on more productive activities. In the year 2021, this approach will expand to various industry sectors. Enterprises will start digitization of processes to resolve their issues and improve efficiency. This concept is also known as process mining.
This is one of the most obvious outcomes of digital transformation. It facilitates employees and stakeholders to get rid of mundane, repetitive tasks while managing the business processes. It also enables companies to shift their focus to business growth opportunities. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software has been around for some years now, and this sector shows consistent growth. We can expect that in the coming years, AI capabilities will be added in RPA solutions to extend their scope and give them an ability to learn and adapt.
Automated data processing can support 65% of HR tasks as EY report has stated. Other departments of the enterprise can also leverage the benefits of automation and your enterprise can increase productivity.
4. Improved Customer Support
Digital transformation can take enterprises closer to consumers while eliminating middlemen. It can offer companies greater control over the brand, marketing, and reputation in the market. Companies can directly engage with consumers and collect their data to improve customer services. In a way, going direct to consumer (D2C) approach gets strength and many companies offer chatbots to provide an interactive support on a 24/7 basis. Companies like P&G and Gillette have already implemented the D2C approach.
5. Enhanced Digital Experience
Digital transformation solutions have given a rise to new possibilities in consumer and end-user experience. Retail, hospitality, and healthcare sectors can be revolutionized by digitized user interfaces based on conversational, gesture, and Augmented Reality (AR). These interfaces can use sensors to collect the user’s data to provide personalized experience and services.
User experience can add value in business processes with the help of digital technologies. It is easy to understand the customer’s journey and awareness of all the touchpoints using digital transformation strategy. One of the most promising trends in providing a unique visual experience is Augmented Reality (AR). From AR-based remote assistance to remote asset monitoring management solution, the AR technology remains in focus in the corporate world.
6. Prevalence of AI
AI and ML are getting mainstreamed quickly across the industry sectors. Specialized areas of consumer engagement, fraud detection, and healthcare sectors have emerged as the biggest beneficiaries of these technologies. In 2021, AI will find its way to other industry sectors and SaaS (Software as a Service) will drive its proliferation. SaaS solutions are cost-effective and easy to implement as they do not need the help of an IT department.
Companies look for embedding AI in three key areas- processes, people, and technology. We can expect that over the period, as AI will become more prevalent in the enterprises, the cost of AI-powered solutions will be reduced.
7. Integration across Platforms
Multi-cloud strategy is useful for the companies that want to balance cost-efficiency, security, and versatility of processes. But then, it is necessary to remain careful while developing customized digital transformation strategy because the multi-cloud concept is combined with enterprise-grade mobile apps, SaaS products, and third-party software. What’s more, it is essential to integrate AI and ML for leveraging the full potential of available data. Altogether, digital transformation service providers need to integrate solutions across various platforms to get optimum results.
8. More Connectivity
WIFI 6 and 5G- both these advancements will come in the year 2021. It is about enhanced connectivity, higher speed, reduced latency, and increased density of devices. The fifth generation of cellular technology and the sixth generation of Wi-Fi will enable us to transfer more data with speed and connect more devices with ease. Companies can integrate IoT capabilities more effectively in the supply chain and other processes. Ubiquitous connectivity will open the doors of new possibilities in all industries over the period and it will become a driver for growth of modern companies.
9. Cultural Changes
The COVID-19 outbreak has brought changes in the way we work as most industries have to implement remote working and WFH (Work from Home) practices. This is the largest work-from-home experiment in history and digitally transformed companies could implement it with ease. Such companies provide the tools to employees that help them work remotely, thereby maintaining productivity. However, it is necessary to bring cultural changes to make the most of these tools. Having a sense of purpose, accountability, and trust are essential for the successful implementation of digital transformation in the enterprise.
10. Security and Governance Improvements
Protecting organizational assets and preventing privacy of customers are two priorities of businesses across the world. As the incidents of DDoS attacks and other cybercrime keep on increasing, digital transformation solutions should be capable of preventing such attempts effectively. What’s more, companies should follow strong governance practices with disaster recovery plans in place so that they can keep processes running even during any such attack.
Integration of advanced digital security and monitoring systems is essential and AI can lend a helping hand by management early detection and prevention of cyberattacks.
Digital transformation solutions will follow these trends in the year 2021. Enterprises have already started integrating these solutions in their existing systems and leveraging their benefits through enterprise mobile app development. Digital transformation will not only provide a competitive edge to companies but also drive them toward growth in the future.