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Top 4 Digital Transformation Trends In 2021

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By: Nihad Hassan

May 13, 2021

During the previous ten years, a heated debate appeared in the news about integrating digital technology into business processes and other work areas. However, the year 2020 accelerated the adoption of specific digital technologies, boosted by coronavirus's ongoing spread. Since the start of the COVID19 pandemic, governments worldwide imposed social distancing to reduce the disease's spread. General lockdowns were enforced in many countries and remained –sometimes- for months. Thus, any enterprise that wanted to remain in business was forced to adopt digital technologies for continuous operation. It became the most efficient means to facilitate remote collaboration between employees located away from the office.

Integrating technology in business operations helps an organization remain operational by reducing face-to-face meetings with suppliers, customers, and other business partners. Distance meetings also safeguard anyone who interacts with the organization's employees from being infected with the disease by accident. The role of technology in social distancing is just one aspect that shows its usefulness during the pandemic. However, all businesses have one main goal: growth. Adopting digital technology can help them inexpensively achieve this.

Spending on technology is expected to increase rapidly in the near future, fostered by the accelerated adoption of IT in businesses worldwide after the pandemic. Emerging technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence, machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and augmented reality are expected to revolutionize how businesses work and operate in the future.

Let us looks at some general technology statistics to see the future impact of technology on businesses:

  1. The global technology industry is projected to reach $5 trillion in 2021.

  2. According to Spiceworks' Ziff Davis, COVID19's direct impact on businesses was as follows: 44% are accelerating the pace of their digital transformation; 30% are developing training materials for remote workers; 36% are working to improve their IT operations and systems performance; 32% are working to connect with employees through standardized, secure, and intuitive tools; and 27% are reviewing their current disaster recovery plans.

A digital transformation is a practice of applying digital technology to all business areas. It is essentially transforming traditional business models into new models that are dependent on digital technology.

This article will cover the top four digital transformation trends that we expect to dominate in 2021.

Top 4 Digital transformation trends in 2021

  1. 2021 is expected to witness increased adoption of 5G networks worldwide. During 2020, most developed countries' employees were forced to work remotely because of COVID19 general lockdowns. For instance, accessing corporate resources remotely, conducting video conferencing meetings, and transferring files (upload and download). All of these tasks require high-speed internet connections, such as those offered by 5G networks.

  2. The use of big data and AI technologies to offer a personalized experience for customers (e.g., marketing and advertisements) is projected to increase. By adopting these advanced technologies, businesses will have a deeper insight into customer needs, which will enable organizations to tailor products, services, and promotions according to each customer's profile. Embracing AI and big data technologies will also help enterprises manage their data more efficiently, respond to market changes more efficiently, increase operational efficiencies, and make better-informed decisions. Artificial intelligence also plays an essential role in reducing data breaches. For instance, by utilizing AI, security systems can learn from historical attacks, breaches, malicious behavior, and other security incidents to develop their defense models, allowing them to recognize future attacks without human intervention.

  3. Online privacy will have increased attention. As more people adopt remote work, the privacy of online communications and transmitted data will gain more attention by businesses. Businesses worldwide need to comply with data protection regulations, such as the GDPR, to avoid breaching global and domestic laws. The concept of confidential computing (this concept suggests that encrypted data can be processed in memory to prevent unauthorized access) is expected to foster in the future, pushed by support from giant companies such as Google and Microsoft, which are working to develop specific protocols and tools to support this concept practically. The confidential computing concept is ideal for protecting personal data stored on public clouds.

  4. Work from home will continue even after the decline of the pandemic. Companies who shifted their workforce to the home are expected to keep part of their workforce operating from home. Many big companies such as Facebook and Google have updated their work policies to include the work-from-home model. Additionally, new tools and technologies were developed to support home workers. In the future, we can expect more advanced solutions and increased adoption of the digital workspace.

Summary

The COVID19 epidemic has changed digital transformation speed and will likely continue to do so into 2021. This article mentioned the leading digital transformation trends that organizations are expected to face during 2021.

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