‘The New Normal’: 2021 Digital Transformation Predictions That Won’t Bring Us to Tiers

by Jennifer Green, December 17th, 2020

Digital Transformation, Industry

It is safe to say that none of us could have predicted where 2020 was going to take us: At Borne, we have noticed that the last six months have produced more digital transformation than the last decade, with every step to pivot towards transformation effort underway finding itself at scale and accelerated. While predictions for 2020 saw a shift and displacement owing to the pandemic, more urgent needs were brought to the forefront.

So, this begs the question, ‘What does this mean for 2021?’ Will core tech like data analytics and AI still dominate headlines, or will newer, emerging tech take the lead?

Here are our digital transformation predictions for 2021:

Democratising AI

The pandemic has triggered an acceleration in democratising data and AI. What seems like overnight, governments, companies and other agencies found themselves needing to work together to create a fast and accessible solution to stop the spread of the virus. The progress and work that was accomplished in 2020 should continue into 2021, and it is very likely that it will expand opportunities that these groups are now equipped to tackle global-scale problems faster and at scale.

While many believe that AI is a trend of the future, it is very much a part of our everyday lives. From impacting our social media feeds and Netflix recommendations, to products you are suggested when shopping on Amazon for those last-minute Christmas gifts. As computing power continues to be more affordable and the cloud enables access to this computing power as well as software and frameworks, more and more companies will be able to benefit from AI.

 With major chipmakers like Intel and NVIDIA, continuing to innovate on semiconductors that power AI then deploying their GPUs, CPUs and ASICs to the cloud, companies can either gain access to this hardware and software directly or through third-party applications that simplify and democratise AI further. The expansion of AI will impact our lives from what we eat, how we shop and how we recruit. However, AI will require monitoring to make sure it is used for positive purposes and this will need a joint effort from government and industry. But we have no doubt that it will continue to expand rapidly and we will see this scale even faster now that resources are becoming less expensive and more readily available to businesses around the world.

The Headless Tech

Does this sound frightening? Yes.

But all headless tech means is that businesses are now able to separate their front-end presentation layer from their back-end data functionality to create a custom shopping experience. This can be as simple as telling your Amazon Alexa to restock your favourite coffee r being able to make instant purchases off social media. So why is this important? The short answer: People are doing a lot more of this type of commerce. Research has shown that 86% of businesses say their customer acquisition costs have increased in the last 2 years.

This can mean two things:

– Organisations need to maximise the ROI of their net new customer acquisition costs.

– Customer retention and development

By moving beyond the omnichannel experience to connect everything from warehouses to storefronts and online services, companies in 2021 could become more efficient and streamlined if they adopt these transformations.

A New Approach to Work

Workers have been looking for increased work flexibility for a long time, and a company deciding to allow remote work at scale is usually considered radical enough, to say the least. In 2020, that all went out the window when working from home suddenly became the only viable option at Borne HQ. Everyone is trying to make sense of the uncertainties that we all are facing during this pandemic and as we moved to flexible working to facilitate our clients

remotely. Even as economies slowly reopen and employees are finally able to return to work, companies will continue to be tasked with protecting their employees from possible outbreak resurgences.

Borne Digital

A part of what made this possible has been rapid deployment and development of smart work from home tech. We are sure you, like us, have heard a lot about companies implementing Zoom, Webex and Microsoft Teams. Those platforms have seen explosive growth in both use and development to make them both easier and more secure. However, we have also seen significant growth in the deployment of WFH devices which has resulted in growing PC sales and investment in new secure connectivity. Now that companies have better-equipped employees with tools and tech to be more productive despite physical distance, we will see remnants of this for the next few years. The pandemic has caught companies off-guard, but it also proved that work can result in improvements in productivity and lower operational costs.

Mainstream 5G

We have heard of the benefits if 5G for years now, but it was not until remote work, digital collaboration and video conferencing became core parts of our lives this year that the need for reliable connectivity and more bandwidth became a real, concrete benefit that we can all wrap our heads around. Our reliance on mobile, tablets, and other devices like the increasing number of IoT sensors – highlights the need for a multi-lane superhighway that telecommunication companies knew we needed. Businesses cannot afford to be disconnected and 5G deployments have become a vital part of the solution.

As we collectively continue to work and manage school from our homes, the value of 5G will become increasingly mainstream in 2021.

Though initially, the pandemic interrupted work on new 5G network deployments earlier this year, these efforts have now resumed and large markets like China are already on target to meet their deployment goals in 2020. On the other hand, every major handset manufacturer in the world – from Apple to Samsung is already releasing 5G phones in virtually every price-point.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed both the trajectory and the velocity of digital transformation and this will continue into 2021. The trend lines and new priorities facing organisations of all sizes from the smallest startup to the global giants of tech. What we have witnessed in 2020 will inform the focus decisions and the tech investments that drive the list of digital transformation strategies that will define 2021.

Looking to plan for your 2021 approach to pivot your business towards digital transformation? Let’s chat!

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