The Digital Transformation Trends 2021 are primarily based on a worldwide survey of more than a hundred senior executives from the IT, healthcare, media, and manufacturing industry trying to stay ahead of the game by sensing new possibilities, innovations and defining their strategic journey beyond the digital frontier.
Looking back a decade, you will be reminded how, at that moment, which seems so far back in the past, we were entering into an entirely new world — blurring the physical and digital boundaries. Since then, savvy businesses have achieved competitive advantage by embracing top digital transformation trends that were underway.
Our Digital Transformation Survey presents the key eight digital transformation trends that will shape the business environment and help leaders win in this new era, often called the Post-Digital Era.
8 Digital Transformation Trends that will Steer 2021
Net Solutions’ State of Digital Transformation survey highlights that despite the uncertain business environment, 68.3% of business leaders across the four industries are planning to accelerate their CX-related technology spending in the next 12 months.
The research identifies eight digital technology trends for 2021, exploring their benefits, challenges, and impact on the business landscape.
1. Data Analytics
Data is an untapped goldmine since the advent of the digital landscape and thus have remained one of the top digital transformation trends since then. Business leaders across all the industries are trying to step into this goldmine to unlock its real potential, thereby laying the foundation of their digital transformation strategy on data.
Data, along with artificial intelligence — one of the top digital transformation trends 2021 — will be the mission-critical capability for businesses to thrive in this cut-throat digital ecosystem.
Our survey highlights that 51.4% of organizations recognize their capability of activating data to their advantage as the key driver of their digital transformation success.
Data Analytics is one of the key 2021 technology trends highlighted in our digital transformation survey, but what are organizations planning to invest in as part of their data strategy? Let’s discuss that as one of the digital transformation trends 2021 in the following point.
2. Customer Data Platforms (CDPs)
Organizations have never been alone on their digital transformation journey; customers have always been on the parallel road, embracing new technologies at break-neck speed.
Customers are getting smarter, and those halcyon days when businesses used to invest in just single data management software — usually a CRM — are over. Data platforms like CRM, CMS, and DXP fail to go in-depth and miss some essential digital signals provided by customers.
Platforms like CRM and DXP are no longer digital transformation trends. Organizations have started to see the adverse impact of such fragmented customer data, thereby resulting in impersonal customer experience.
Customer Data Platform (CDP), one of our 2021 digital technology trends, is an integrated customer database that helps businesses in unified data collection, processing, consolidation, activation, and execution from online and offline channels.
Our digital transformation survey showcases that more than a quarter of organizations are planning to invest in Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) to supercharge profitable growth and advocacy, thereby turning it into a “need-to-have” technology from a “nice-to-have” technology.
3. Digital Security
The principle of DevOps is drastically changing the way digital organizations innovate. As businesses are on the path of digital transformation — integrating development and IT operations under a “single automated umbrella”— business leaders have realized that approaches to incorporate security into new digital products and platforms do not keep up with the pace of technology innovation.
This has cemented the view that security is the biggest bottleneck that businesses face on their road to digital transformation. Thus, digital security is one of the top digital transformation trends 2021 that will drive the business landscape.
What are the Biggest Challenges for Digital Transformation?
We asked this question in our digital transformation survey and found that 37.3% of organizations believe that ‘digital security’ is the biggest challenge that they face on the road to digital transformation.
Some organizations have realized that digital security is a huge challenge and have begun embedding security culture, practices, and tools into each phase of their DevOps pipelines. This new approach, now a part of top digital transformation trends 2021, is named as DevSecOps.
If deployed strategically, DevSecOps can help strengthen the security and improve compliance maturity levels of a company’s DevOps pipeline, thereby ensuring that every digital product/service released in the market is tested, secure, and reliable.
4. Connected Clouds (Public, Private, Hybrid)
Rather than a digital transformation technology trend, consider this as the continued evolution in the field of cloud adoption. Organizations currently realize that just going all public clouds, private clouds, or only data centers is not the best option. Their needs vary, and a single choice becomes increasingly restrictive over time.
Thus, connected clouds are entering into the picture intending to meet companies’ evolving needs, whether they need cloud-sourced storage, networking, or digital security; thus making to our list of top digital transformation trends 2021.
Our state of digital transformation report highlights that close to half of the business leaders plan to reach their digital transformation goals with SaaS transformation.
The goal is clear: no matter which workloads are being run in which cloud, the experience for IT and those that are utilizing the applications need to be seamless, secure, and streamlined, thereby making cloud one of the most important digital transformation trends of 2021.
5. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The journey to becoming a fully autonomous artificial intelligence (AI) organization is part of a growing digital transformation trend. This digital transformation trend 2021 paves the way for organizations to make AI an integral component of their digital transformation strategy. It implies that all the core systems, processes, and business strategies will be redesigned around AI and its possibilities.
The end goal of making a fully autonomous AI organization is to build a digital environment where humans and machines will collaborate to harness data-driven insights.
Net Solutions’ Digital Transformation Survey highlights that 57.7% of business leaders from the healthcare industry are planning to invest in AI to steer digital transformation.
6. Internet of Things (IoT)
Technology innovation has become one of the keys to competitive differentiation in today’s unpredictable digital landscape. The pace at which technology is changing and evolving is high. Thus, more than half of business leaders from our digital transformation survey plans to accelerate their technology spending to boost digital transformation services.
IoT is one of the emerging technologies whose relevance has increased with the knock of the COVID-19 crisis. Organizations across all the industries are planning to embrace the IoT as a digital transformation enabler; however, the healthcare and manufacturing industry leaders have shown more interest in IoT than the other industries.
Healthcare Digital Transformation Trends
IoT is the essential digital transformation trend of the healthcare industry, as highlighted in our state of digital transformation survey. 84.6% of healthcare industry leaders are planning to leverage IoT to deliver a connected experience to their patients.
7. Connected Supply Chains
The expectations and behaviors of the customer are changing dramatically. They are becoming smarter and challenging the established supply chain of leading organizations.
Today, they perform thorough research of products they intend to purchase across multiple channels, where they expect not just transparency around order delivery; but are also concerned about the supply chain sustainability. This is why the ‘connected supply chain’ is one of the key digital transformation trends of our survey.
An end-to-end connected supply chain builds an integrated view across the organization, allowing companies to reach 100% visibility in real-time. Our digital transformation survey highlights that 65.3% of manufacturing industry leaders believe that ‘Supply Chain Collaboration’ is the key initiative that drives the Digital Factory strategy.
8. Customer-Centric Vision
All the seven digital transformation trends discussed above aim to achieve a single goal: improved customer experiences. The current business landscape is uncertain, and customers’ evolving demands and expectations are creating challenges as well as opportunities for businesses.
The year 2021 will be all about knowing the target customers better and delivering them experiences, driven by evolving and emerging technologies. Business leaders understand the fact that riding this wave of customer change is extremely important. Thus, they are planning to accelerate their CX-related technology spending in the coming year, as highlighted in our digital transformation survey.
It is high time for all businesses to redefine, revisit, and reprioritize their current business model based upon their target customer expectations.
Digital transformation is moving at a rapid pace, and to catch up with it, all these mentioned technologies are evolving themselves in an amalgamated manner.
The digital transformation trends highlighted in the Net Solutions’ Digital Transformation Survey converge into a single trend: the unceasing relevance of Customer Experience.
Are you planning to embark upon a digital path? Or are you already on the digital route? No matter where you are in your digital transformation journey, Net Solutions’ State of Digital Transformation report will share some useful insights that will help you win this digital transformation race.