Digital transformation: 3 driving trends from 2021

The pandemic forced organisations to boost IT investment and prioritise their digital transformation initiatives. These three factors will continue the push toward innovation.

For the past ten years, digital transformation has moved relatively slowly, focusing mainly on improving products, processes, and the employee experience. Then COVID-19 hit, forcing IT decision-makers to prioritise their IT initiatives and increase digital investments.

Our research at Software AG showed that companies in 2020 were evenly split on where they invested their optimization efforts, with external initiatives around services beating internal initiatives. Organisations had to take dramatic steps to keep businesses afloat, which meant prioritising growing customer demands amidst pandemic lockdowns.

As companies continue to cope with the effects of COVID-19 and the expected increase in customer expectations, they will also likely flip the switch on digital transformation, so the impact is directly felt by their customer base. Here are three key trends that will enable companies to make the switch.

Transformation is ready to mean change again.

At the height of the pandemic, companies were forced to innovate – and do so quickly – to continue operations and serve customers. Ninety-seven percent of global IT professionals we surveyed agreed they went through some digital transformation in 2020, with three out of five saying they went through a “large amount” of change. So, digital business transformation is vital for progress in the pandemic and post pandemic times.

With companies prioritising tech investments to benefit customers, enhancing customer support, and implementing technology like Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to improve customer service, they shocked transformation efforts back into action. The exact number of global professionals expect to continue transformation efforts in 2021. The pandemic forced companies’ hands. The massive change means pandemic forces use technology to transform the world around them.

Generational change will change business behaviour.

As Gen Z becomes more influential, companies will need to transform to meet their expectations.

In 2020, many Generation Xers (born between 1997 and 2015) graduated college and entered the workforce, experiencing a completely remote and digital onboarding process. At the same time, Millennials (born between 1981-1997) are beginning to come into their workplace, growing into decision-making roles. While Generation Xers still hold power in many organisations, these two milestones represent a generational shift driving a change in business practises and behaviour.

These digital natives perceive and interact with technology differently than their predecessors. They bring an expectation that technology will help employees on a day-to-day basis through real-life applications. They will also view software as “must-haves” rather than “nice-to-haves.”

Younger generations want to go far beyond technology basics to optimise and drive value. As a result, we’ll likely see a noticeable evolution where relatively “basic” technology – like the Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and artificial intelligence (AI) – will become integral to critical initiatives.

As Gen Z becomes more influential, companies will need to transform to meet their expectations better. So, companies will need more consistent experiences, seamless customer service, and control over interactions.

Resilience-building technology is more critical than big-bang innovation.

Companies faced unprecedented uncertainty and instability throughout 2020. This happened with technology investments focused on returning to near-normal or maintaining some level of stability. In 2021, they’ll need to do the “simple” things using technology better to make their organisations more resilient.

For example, many enterprises manage various systems and devices. So, not all have mastered integrating existing applications, cloud services, or infrastructure. Data integration is essential for enterprises to enable insights and analytics to make quick, agile business decisions. We see Data, analytics, and integration as some of the top technologies organisations prioritise this year.

Companies continue to deal with the fallout of the pandemic. So, the driving forces will be the technologies poised to strengthen overall business resiliency. This is especially against genuine business threats like recession, health crises, and competitors.

One of the big lessons of 2020 is the need for resiliency in the face of unpredictable situations. Business and IT executives forged ahead and invested in digital technology. No one can predict with certainty what will happen next. Companies overwhelmingly believe technology will enable them to be more resilient in the face of uncertainty. SEO services in London are on the rise. Companies are using such services for a digital boost more than ever.

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