6 Digital Tranformation Trends for 2021

Thanks to 2020, predictions for the new year might not be so unrealistic. But predictions are one thing, trends are another.

Here’s a quick look at six technology insights for 2021:

1. Accelerated Adjustment to the Pandemic

COVID-19 shocked all businesses last year. However, enterprises are becoming used to the new normal “and digitisation should return to previous levels of growth in 2021,” says Peter Mülders, Customer Success Manager at Synthesis.

2. Continued Growth of Cloud

There was substantial growth in cloud this past year. AWS Revenue grew 29% year-on-year in quarter three to $11.6bn and Microsoft Azure Revenue increased by 48% year-on-year in quarter three to an estimated $6.3bn according to BMIT SA Cloud Computing Overview & Market Sizing 2019.

The South African cloud market should expect a 30% four-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) according to this same report.

“Cloud-hosted infrastructure and cloud-based software as a service is going to be big this year. We have seen how quickly Microsoft 365 grew by offering businesses the chance to connect staff without needing to deploy new servers.”

“This is becoming the norm as you can spin up whatever you need in a matter of hours and scale it on demand. And that doesn’t just mean servers and networking anymore, all the cloud providers are pushing out new software on a weekly basis to make building a digital business not only faster but also easier.” 

3. Increased eCommerce Reliance

Lockdown and the risk of infection has pushed many new consumers to online shopping. According to the Future of eCommerce Report by Shopify, there has been a dramatic increase in demand for the convenience and immediacy of shopping online, and they expect this increase to stick.

Many retailers took to the online market over lockdown, but not all had the infrastructure to meet consumer needs. Infrastructures that support customer satisfaction (speed and immediacy) will be imperative this year.

“eCommerce is exploding along with mobile payments. The technology platforms supporting these two things have grown enormously in the past two to three years and are getting much easier to use and to integrate into businesses with options available from Salesforce, Magento, WooCommerce, Shopify… it’s a long list of very strong options.” 

  1. Advanced Contactless Payments Solutions

COVID-19 has amplified the consumer and business demand for contactless payments to reduce the chance of infection, along with the security threats that come with having to hand over a card.

“In the retail space, we’ve now seen contactless payments take over in 2020 after a slow start in previous years. Consumers now trust the technology, so it’s gone mainstream and is definitely going to keep growing.”

5. Emergence of Hybrid Work Environments

“Remote work is here to stay as businesses had to take a leap of faith, and for many of them, it was a success. I think we’ll see hybrid working environments emerging with some staff on-site and some staff working from home offices.

“And in terms of security, it means there will need to be a focus not only at the perimeter (firewalls, VPNs, etc) but also inside the business. There is a movement to zero trust that’s best described by Google in BeyondCorp, where you need to treat every part of your digital landscape as if it’s on the internet. You can no longer rely on an attacker never getting into your network as your only defence.”

6. Rise of Personalisation

“With 2020 being such an online year, I think we’ll see a lot of big businesses trying to achieve better and faster personalisation. This means we’ll see them exploring lots of new technologies in the space of data streaming architectures to assist in real-time computing.”

“There will also be lots of interest in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) work to understand customer behaviour and preferences. These are two niche industries right now, but they are definitely emerging as some of the strongest solutions to the problems.”

Edited by Jenna Delport
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