Top Business Technology Trends Of 2021
The years 2020 and 2021 have been unlike any in the past. COVID may have turned our lives upside down, but it could not keep businesses or professionals at a standstill. Businesses rolled on, as usual, people kept working, albeit remotely and most operations still unfolded smoothly.
And for all this, we have only technology to thank.
Technology made it possible for professionals to continue working remotely.
Technology made it possible for patients to visit their doctors virtually.
Technology made it possible for students to continue classes virtually.
Even though it did bail us out of a difficult situation, rapid shifts in workplace infrastructure have not been comfortable for all businesses and CEOs.
But what the pandemic has taught us is that we must be prepared for all eventualities and the only way to do that in business is to be welcoming of technology and technology buzzwords.
And in this article, we have discussed our top five technology trends we feel leaders and businesses should give serious consideration to if they want to stay afloat in the coming years after the pandemic.
If we’re referring to future business technology trends, then Cloud Technology would undoubtedly top the list!
Before 2020, work on cloud technology was slow and limited to the two tech giants — Google and Amazon.
Then came the pandemic and the work on cloud technology was sped up because businesses all over the world realized this was what would keep them afloat in the pandemic market. It allowed the entire workforce of companies to work from home, gave telehealth and digital commerce a healthy boost, and took the OTT platforms to unimaginable heights with cloud migration services.
But what about C-Suite executives?
Studies show that even though many companies are thinking of migrating 80% of operations to the cloud within a decade, CEOs are not so sure. As few as 3 out of 10 CEOs feel confident about cloud migration.
The prime reason for this is of course data security of customers.
But let us assuage doubts regarding the cloud and show why this could be a gamechanger for your company!
- Data Security
Data privacy has always been a concern with cloud adoption and so cloud providers always have you covered on that ground. They will have all security features, replete with data encryption and database monitoring to keep your data safe. However, if CEOs are still not comfortable, they can still go for an option that will allow for migration of operations but won’t require data to be stored in the cloud.
With the cloud, Lift and Shift do the job for you! You can simply migrate your whole system to the cloud and get rid of your legacy infrastructure. This can be done in a jiffy and operations are not disrupted at all.
You can transform you business by investing in technology. Legacy infrastructure severely limits innovation and market agility, and yet, CEOs have to stick with it because that infrastructure is all they can trust for smooth operation.
But what if they can successfully migrate to the cloud?
Then there will be no end to innovation and agility.
And one of the prime examples of this is Moderna.
Despite being a Lilliput beside Pfizer, Moderna has been steadily providing large batches of the COVID vaccine to the US, and solely because they ramped up their production with the help of cloud technology.
And besides these glaring issues, cloud technology can also help with reduced costs, scalability, mobility, reliability, and better communication within the company.
It’s high time leaders all over the world dipped their foot in the cloud pool if they truly want to stay on track and ahead of competitors when it comes to quicker and more cost-efficient operations.
Customer Data Platforms
Marketing for anybody and everybody is a thing of the past.
And Customer Data Platform has proved that by being one of the biggest technology trends for 2021.
In 2021 data rules marketing completely, with 93% of marketing managers agreeing that using customer data for marketing is sure to give promising results.
But where does the customer data come from?
Every time a particular customer logs in to a website or uses an app, whether, in online or offline mode, they leave behind snippets of information.
These snippets may be in the form of identity data (name, demographics, contact details), descriptive data (industry, job, income), or qualitative data (opinions regarding a product or attitude towards product purchases).
The only issue regarding these pieces of information is that they are scattered all over the internet at what we call different “touchpoints”.
The job of a customer data platform is to pool data from all these touchpoints and create a consolidated database of information regarding the customers.
Now using this extensive repository of information, the marketing team can create customer profiles and come up with strategies to woo the customer.
What are the advantages of using a dedicated customer data platform?
- Personalized marketing
When the marketing team knows the customer inside out, they can draft personalized strategies for each, which gives them a better chance to quickly score a sale.
- Collect first-party data
Option 1: Pull data from touchpoints.
Option 2: Ask the customers for their data.
No data taken from the internet can be as authentic as the one the customer himself will provide you with.
- Improved customer experience
Not only sales but a CDP can also be a crucial element in better client retention. With more data about the customer, the whole team can be aware of customer expectations from them whether in terms of service or simply website UI. They can use this info to make sure the customer never has a chance to complain.
- Increased efficiency
Before CDPs came into use, turnkey integrations had to be performed on customer data to create a centralized database, which took up both time and manpower. The whole operation of using data for marketing has become more efficient with the use of CDPs.
Work From Home
Rather than a technology trend, work from home has become a way of life for us now.
Some companies are vowing to work remotely forever, some till the end of 2022, and most are skeptical of how this will be as a long-term solution.
But in the post-pandemic world, CEOs need to come to terms with the fact that such situations may arise time and again and we have the technology to deal with them effectively.
Of course, running a company without any face-to-face interaction might be daunting, but there are ways to ensure people are working with sincerity and integrity.
Here are a few ways to make sure remote work is working effectively for your company:
- Draft a remote working policy
There is no doubt that remote work comes with its own set of challenges, but it is the responsibility of the senior leadership to make sure that employees are not burnt out and operations are running efficiently as well. The policy document should have clear-cut rules and regulations, especially regarding the use of company laptops, meetings, and restrictions during working hours.
- Make sure you have the tools and technology to make remote work a success
As a CEO, you need to sign off on important acquisitions and purchases of the company. In 2021, nothing would be more worth your money than cloud-based communication infrastructures like Office 365 or G-Suite. These are safe, secure, and user-friendly. If needed, provide your employees with a VPN to make sure your data is safe and the internet speed is good. This will make sure all virtual meetings and presentations run without a glitch.
- Be generous in providing assistance
Gen-Z can warm up to any technology trend and tool you throw at them, but what about the older workforce? It is not possible or fair to throw them in the lurch in the middle of the pandemic. CEOs and other C-Suite leaders have to make sure they provide enough demos, training, and assistance to employees to help them deal with the situation and ease into it easily.
With these three simple tips, you could kill two birds with one stone — make sure remote work does not hamper efficiency and ensure employees are working with maximum productivity and without getting burnt out.
An emerging technology trend of 2021, headless commerce is gaining popularity quickly.
The name is quirky, but what are we referring to here?
Headless tech or more specifically, headless commerce refers to eCommerce without a front-end layer. The front-end of the application is missing and the backend is the be-all and end-all of the eCommerce system.
But does this mean there will be no UI?
Of course not.
Based on an Internet of Things concept, headless tech primarily refers to a customizable front-end.
For example, when we log into Amazon, all millions of users see the same interface, there is no customization.
But with headless tech, there is no telling what we will see when we open the application.
The APIs from the backend do their job — send review links, product links, and confirmation messages. And front-end developers use their imagination and some customer data to figure out the framework to present the content to the customer.
Benefits of headless eCommerce over Traditional eCommerce:
- No constraint on design.
- Simply an API call will suffice — no need to go through the cumbersome process of editing code and updating the database.
- All changes need only be made in the front-end, the backend need not be updated constantly.
- Customization opportunities will be endless. Every customer can have their very own UI.
- Cross-platform adaptation will not need any extra work!
- Allows seamless integrations
This is the new kid on the block when it comes to technology trends in business but this is the age of personalized customer experience — so it is only a matter of time before companies pick this up, throw in some hardcore R&D and take it to new heights.
Human Resources Tech
The humans in Human Resources are irreplaceable. AI and ML could not possibly pick the most intuitive candidate or work out issues between colleagues the way experienced HR professionals do.
But what technology can help in is to reduce their workload by automating some of the mundane tasks.
Some of the best HR tech trends have come up in recent years, like payroll automation and soft skill management.
But the scope of the field is huge and simply waiting to be explored!
Here are our top choices in HR Tech:
- Cloud-based HR
This invention could not have come at a better time and has bailed out quite a few HR departments around the world who were unsure of how to deal with remote work. These custom suites have an all-in-one platform that has software pertaining to all
key HR functions like payroll and benefits management, soft skill management, onboarding, and collaboration.
- Mental Health Management platforms
One of the prime tasks of the HR department is to take care of employee woes, the most important of which is the employee’s mental health. HR often assigns therapists to employees or organizes fun activities for them. But what about employee mental health in the pandemic?
Many employees are working overtime, haven’t stepped out for a breath of fresh air in ages, and are spending 15–16 hours a day hunched in front of a laptop.
For this mental health management platforms like Lantern are coming up, which have digital tools and software to help people battle anxiety and depression.
- Recruitment platforms
Finding qualified candidates from a pile of applications is cumbersome and labor-intensive.
But courtesy of AI, we have found a way out of this.
The employer need only enter a few criteria and the bot will simply wade its way through your stack of applications and pull out the best of the lot. Then it is up to our experienced HR professionals to cherry-pick the best for the position!
These five technologies are still in their nascent stages and are not yet regular features for all businesses. But to stay ahead of your competitors, especially in a pandemic where the economy has taken a hit, you need to think out-of-the-box and make some bold decisions about different adaptations.