The year 2020 has only accelerated the wheels of digital transformation with the global pandemic. Last year alone was able to produce more digital transformation than the last decade.
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The transformation effort of business organizations is already underway at scale. Here, are some statistics on how the digital reformation industry is taking moving:
- Despite the pandemic situation, the global spending on digital transformation technologies and services is estimated to have grown 10% in 2020. (IDC)
- As of 2019, direct digital transformation investment was expected to grow at a CAGR of 18% from 2020 to 2023. By 2023, it was expected to approach $7 trillion as companies build on existing strategies and investments, becoming digital-at-scale future enterprises. (IDC)
- The digital transformation market is expected to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 23% from 2019 to $3.3 trillion by 2025. (Research and Markets)
However, this shift is displaced by more urgent needs such as 24/7 security and connectivity.
What does this mean for 2021? and Will we see previously emerging technologies will take the lead? To answer all these questions, we are going to discuss the top ten digital transformation predictions for 2021.
We have all heard about been hearing about 5G will go mainstream for years now. However, the telecom sector has taken an interest in 5G only now as remote work, videoconferencing, and digital collaboration became core parts of our lives and require reliable connectivity.
In the past year, we have also increased our reliance on phones, tablets, and other devices for connectivity. This is partly because businesses cannot afford to be disconnected.
Finally, 5G deployments have become a vital part of the solution as we collectively continue to live in the connected environment for work and school.
Even though the initial 5G network deployments were interrupted due to the pandemic earlier last year. However, the efforts have been resumed markets and they are already on target to meet their deployment goals for 2020.
Meanwhile, every major handset manufacturer is releasing 5G phones at every price-point. Furthermore, Qualcomm is helping make 5G affordable to almost every smartphone user possible.
Customer Data Platforms (CDP) have already exploded in the last few months. Fragmented data can be difficult to organize which isn’t ideal for companies relying on well-curated data to operate optimally.
IBM estimates that bad data costs U.S. businesses nearly $3 trillion annually. Hence, addressing this challenge on a large scale has become a priority for organizations.
This is where CDP comes in. They help organizations solve the problem by collecting data, organizing it, tagging it, and making it usable. Companies such as Oracle, Adobe, Treasure Data, SAP, and Microsoft are already invested in providing powerful new CDPs.
In 2021, the rise of the CDP is going to catch fire and business operations have, now, become somewhat more fragmented. In this year, CDPs will become more and more relevant in 2021.
3. Hybrid Cloud
We know that businesses today are moving toward a hybrid cloud infrastructure. Hybrid cloud strategies help them strike balance for necessary cloud infrastructure.
Over the past year, we have also seen investments in this sector from large corporations such as Google, Azure, AWS, IBM, and Oracle. We have also seen OEMs such as HPE, Dell, and Cisco investing in building tools for better connectivity.
Such investments help the organizations connect to the customer where they are at the moment. This addresses the challenges of exponential data growth and proactive issues such as security, privacy, and compliance.
We have also seen the modernized approach to hybrid clouds. It is expanding from traditional IT to support industrial applications. For instance, Honeywell built its IoT platform, Forge using an open-source and hybrid cloud approach. This helped them integrate the industrial data more seamlessly with traditional cloud datacenters.
Hybrid cloud was growing rapidly with or without the threat of this pandemic. However, disruptions caused by the coronavirus have highlighted the agility and adaptability of cloud infrastructure.
Cybersecurity has always been important, but with the pandemic, it has become very relevant again.
In the last year, we have seen hackers exploit the coronavirus pandemic to expand their campaigns. The attacks on large and small businesses worldwide are enormous. Estimated says that they have seen a 238% rise in attacks on banks and 600% attacks on cloud servers from January to April 2020.
With employees working from home, companies need to shore up their networks and upgrade their cybersecurity strategies.
AI and Machine Learning will become especially crucial for this trend as we will continue to see the increase in nefarious activities that will require sophisticated tools. For instance, Microsoft has poured its resources into security areas such as software, active directory, and cloud.
Many companies are playing in this area; however, software, cloud, and hardware makers will amplify efforts to make their products and services secure.
5. Privacy and Confidential Computing
Privacy and confidential computing have become another great approach to shoring up cybersecurity. This is particularly true when addressing communications and data privacy.
Confidential computing is encrypting in the entire process of computing. Organizations must not just focus on the data but creating additional layers of security around other sensitive information.
For instance, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Alibaba, and VMware are developing new protocols and practices. They all believe that the tech is still in a state of relative infancy and we need to see confidential computing slide into the mainstream in 2021.
6. Separate Front-End and Back-End Data Presentation Layer
Today, businesses can separate their front-end presentation layer from their back-end data functionality. This helps them create a custom shopping experience.
For instance, this being telling your Alexa to replenish your coffee and being able to instantly purchase it from social media.
But, why is it important?
The way people are doing commerce has changed. Research says that 86% of businesses say their customer acquisition costs have increased last year. This means two things: organizations need to maximize their ROI and it has become important to also focus on customer development and retention.
Companies in 2021 could become more efficient by moving beyond the omnichannel experience to connect everything ranging from storefronts to online services. The more they streamline the process it becomes possible to get ahead of competitors.
7. Remote Working
Workforces require increased work flexibility. With the pandemic, companies have to allow remote work. But even as the economies are on track towards reopening and employees are allowed to return, companies are continuing to let them work remotely.
There are 2 reasons behind this: the companies want to protect employees from a possible outbreak resurgence or they are seeing remote working as a viable option.
Big tech companies including Google and Facebook have already extended their remote working policies for 2021. Other companies are also keeping this flexibility as an option.
This is possible due to the rapid deployment and development of smart work from home technologies. Companies such as Zoom, Webex, and Microsoft Teams are some places that have seen explosive growth.
This is also resulting in unintended population migration. With more people working remotely, we will likely see migration from larger cities to more locales. This migration will drive greater investment in connectivity which will then enable even greater productivity.
Hence, in the year 2021, as c0mpanies have become better equipped with remote working technology required to be more productive, they will be running after this Digital Transformation Trends.
8. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The pandemic has helped in the democratization of AI and data. Overnight, companies and governments have found themselves in dire need to work together and create faster solutions.
Naturally, AI, Data, and machine learning were the available tools that they turned to. The work expanded to a breadth of pressing opportunities that these types of groups become uniquely equipped to tackle problems on global and market.
While many feel that AI is the future, it is actually very much a part of our daily lives. This is because it impacts what we see on social media to movies recommended on Netflix or product personalization on Amazon.
Companies will be able to benefit from AI as computing power continues to be more affordable and the cloud enables access to it.
Chipmakers including NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Intel, and AMD continuing to innovate on semiconductors for AI deploying their CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs, and ASICs to the cloud. Companies can either gain access directly or through third-party applications to democratize AI.
The proliferation of AI will impact everything from how we shop to what we eat. As it will be powered by masses of data for powerful computing capabilities, AI will continue to require monitoring. But there is no doubt its use continues to grow rapidly in the coming years.
We will also see that the resources are becoming less expensive and more available which makes digital transformation trends for 2021.
9. Device Form Factors Become Interesting Again
Things have changed rapidly and customers perspective has changed along with it. Today, the new focus is on being always connected. Customers also want their primary devices to be lighter, smaller, better connected than before, and versatile.
They are showing their increasing interested in hybrid devices instead of carrying several devices. For instance, the Microsoft Surface Duo and the Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 can both double as phones or as tablets. They have attracted a lot of attention from users as they can fold and unfold depending on their needs.
In 2021, we will be seeing the return of folding smartphones. However, this time they will provide the same high quality and connectivity. The idea behind such phones is to allow the phone to unfold into small tablets when a user needs a bigger screen and then fold back into a small unit for storage or phone use.
Aside from that, we are going to see the always-connected PC gain more momentum. They are powerful notebooks that are super lightweight and equipped with full connectivity. With these, users will be able to connect on their laptops the same way as cell phones. Hence, it gives the remote work another reliable connectivity.
Though it only started gaining momentum last year, however, this is a key digital transformation trend.
10. Quantum computing
Quantum computing has taken a backseat in the past year. However, we have seen unprecedented growth in this area all thanks to IBM, Honeywell, and others.
Quantum computing has come to the forefront to manage the spread of the pandemic. It has also helped in the development of therapeutics and vaccines. There are other industries that quantum computing has to offer such as the ability to easily query and monitor and analyze data from any source at any time.
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the trajectory and the velocity of digital transformation. With the current circumstances, we feel that it will continue to do so well into 2021.
In this blog post, we have tried to the new trend lines and new priorities that organizations of all sizes will face in 2020. They will require focus, decisions, and technology investments to drive digital transformation strategies for 2021. We still hope that it recovers from the Coronavirus pandemic.
So, what did I miss in the post? Are there any other technologies that should be listed on the list? What are the other trends that will drive the discussion in 2021?
2021 is a big year that we hope comes with better health and stability. Either way, digital transformation will continue to be the focus of organizations worldwide.
Shreeya Chourasia is an experienced B2B marketing/tech content writer, who is diligently committed for growing your online presence. Her writing doesn’t merely direct the audience to take action, rather it explains how to take action for promising outcomes.