Digital Trends 2021: How Tech Industry Can Impact Tomorrow
Last year was different for all economic sectors, including the tech industry, healthcare, e-Commerce & retail, e-Learning, etc. It’s reasonable to assume that these changes will affect digital trends in 2021. We have already learned how to live in the reality of the changing world and accept the new “normal”. Considering the circumstances, you might be wondering, what’s the point in expecting the unexpected?
The 2021 year marks the start of the new decade where professionals are faced with unprecedented levels of VUCA. If we breakdown this acronym, it’s easy to notice that we have been experiencing the effects of this term for some time. VUCA is short for:
- Volatility – the dynamics of change;
- Uncertainty – the degree at which it is possible/impossible to predict the future;
- Complexity – a variety of factors that need to be considered;
- Ambiguity - the mixed meanings of conditions when trying to understand an event.
Still, even in these vacillating conditions, we can predict digital trends that will continue to evolve this year in the tech industry.
The New Approach to Work & Business Relationships
As most team members have shifted to remote work and schedules have become more flexible, employers need more than ever to have tools that evaluate the impact of each professional on the company’s results. So, the number of hours spent on a task or project doesn’t have the same value as the delivered quality and goals that have been reached. According to Forbes, the main issue with the remote work is that the staff could be either under-challenged or over-challenged. This is a digital trend that companies will have to tackle in 2021.
During the pandemic, 35-40% of employees have started working remotely, a considerable increase in comparison to previous years. The analysis of future work trends conducted by McKinsey Global Institute shows that hybrid models of remote work will persist in the future. Most companies had to face the fact that the remote environment requires teams to adapt their communication strategy and start relying on better tools.
Sharpening your communication skills and finding the most appropriate way to stay connected with your team could be a solid resolution for 2021.
At the same time, we can observe the rising demand for outsourcing services. During the next 4 years, the IT outsourcing market is expected to grow by $98 billion, while top outsourcing hubs in Eastern and Central Europe are expanding due to the high demand for low-cost high-performance dedicated teams in the tech industry.
Digital Transformation of the Tech Industry in 2021
Twilio reports that COVID-19 was the catalyst for the digital transformation processes worldwide and it has accelerated companies’ digital communications strategy by a global average of 6 years. In the same, data provided by Statista suggests that between 2020 and 2023 the global spending on digital transformation will double. As a result, further in 2021 companies worldwide will be forced to invest in the digitization of their businesses, including migration to digital platforms like apps, data analysis, augmented & virtual reality, or even chatbots.
Businesses are looking for the most efficient ways to connect with their clients/customers, often it involves finding an approach to help the content reach reactively the target on multiple channels. This year, it is strategically important for your company to find the right tools to engage the audience using data-led insights.
Digital transformation and wireless technologies go hand-in-hand in the modern world, so the demand for high connectivity and low latency data communication has also risen. As a part of the digitalization process, many major players in the tech industry will start using 5G and integrating it into their products to increase the amount of available storage and satisfy connectivity needs.
Cybersecurity as One of the Main Digital Trends of the New Decade
Undoubtedly, we reached a new phase of the digital transformation at an accelerated pace, we can’t neglect the fact that cybersecurity is still under threat. The distributed nature of the Internet is one of the driving forces of cybercrimes. In the latest survey by PwC on cybersecurity, 96% of executives agreed that there is a need to shift the cybersecurity strategy of their companies as a result of the COVID-19 situation. The same report highlights that 55% of companies will increase their cyber budget.
Despite remote work being a convenient option for many, it is associated with different risks related to data privacy or vulnerabilities around multiple access points. With the expansion of 5G technologies and IoT, companies will face issues like compromised systems and networks. In addition to that, any team may fall victim to social engineering scams like phishing or malware infiltration.
This year, companies are required to scale up their cybersecurity effort as lack of actions in this area may result in economic, reputational, and regulatory costs for them. The main consequence of poor preventive measures can be data breaches that include private bank information, intellectual property, or even health records.
Cloud Computing and IoT – Ways to Focus on Company’s Core Needs
According to recent reports, there will be 75.44 billion IoT (Internet of Things) devices installed worldwide by 2025, so it’s already clear that this phenomenon will affect our work, communication, and interactions with others. The IoT will help increase productivity of work from home employees and will enhance the way companies operate. Cloud computing will facilitate remote employment while offering unparalleled agility and scalability. Meanwhile, leveraging cloud computing will accelerate the process of data generation and analysis.
Both for Cloud Computing and IoT technologies data analytics is extremely important. It will ensure that users can easily pick up on the latest patterns within the information collected by their devices. In this case, businesses will have enough data to make effective product decisions. IDC FutureScape 2021 report predicts that 80% of companies will migrate to cloud-centric infrastructure twice faster due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Businesses are focused on generating revenue and driving business growth - IoT solutions can help with that. Integrating workforce management in addition to IoT systems can enhance visibility and accurately determine profitable opportunities.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Solutions to Challenges Presented by COVID-19
The importance of AI applications in the IT sector will continuously increase this year. PwC’s annual survey AI Predictions for 2021 emphasizes the fact that a quarter of the surveyed companies have already started adopting AI in their businesses.
The same report suggests 5 predictions that can do the most of AI:
- AI will become a mainstream technology in 2021 for many companies. It has numerous benefits ranging from revenue growth to a more efficient decision-making process. Companies understand that the earlier they adopt it, the more advantages they will have in comparison to their competitors.
- Strategic planning using AI, especially its automation capabilities, is the fastest way to get ROI. To use AI for strategic decision-making, companies increase investments in AI for workforce planning, simulation modeling, and supply chain resilience.
- The first step to mitigating AI risks is establishing the right priorities for its application. A list of actions could help companies to ensure AI-driven decision making: reducing AI bias, monitoring AI model performance, ensuring AI compliance with privacy regulations, and improving AI’s cybersecurity.
- The implementation of AI in the workplace takes time and requires effort. Team members will need some time to adapt to new rules. For example, in the case of AI, the standard approach won’t work here. The team will have to focus on testing, experimenting, and learning.
- Companies will start integrating machine learning in addition to AI models and decision making will be more based on data. To reorganize the company successfully for AI, it’s recommended to add analytics and automation to the equation. There is an opportunity to build an in-house platform architecture that will suit your needs or invite third-party providers for this task.
Responsibility – the key to long-term success
In 2021, just using cutting-edge technologies is not enough, business clients and customers also care deeply about the company’s values, as well as its social and environmental responsibility.
With the expansion of the Internet and digital transformation, energy consumption has significantly increased. For example, US data centers consume approximately 70-73 billion kWh annually, as stated in the United States Data Center Energy Usage Report. Besides, data centers account for 1% of global electricity demand. Under these circumstances, 'all-photonics' networks (APNs) are the future, given that APNs can ensure transferring large volumes of traffic while maintaining high quality and low latency. It will allow the IT industry to operate in a more environmentally sustainable communications environment as APNs use just 1/100th of the power consumption required by today’s networks.
Expecting the Unexpected in 2021
Deloitte’s 12th annual Tech Trends report outlines the fact that the world order got too complicated for the human brain to process on its own. For this reason, advanced analytics, automation, and AI gain popularity.
Today, cutting-edge technologies are getting more and more accessible as companies opt for outsourcing arrangements on their way to digital transformation. Despite numerous losses, the time of crisis can be considered a catalyst for the tech industry. It made businesses reconsider the way they analyze, operate, and plan. In 2021 these processes will only continue to grow in strength.