Digital Technology at the Forefront
It has been a tough start to the year, with us enduring a 3rd national lockdown. But with the COVID vaccine being rolled out, the end of the pandemic is finally in sight.
Over the last few months, we’ve been talking to our customers and business partners about what technology trends 2021 will bring and how they will shape digital strategy.
One of the advantages of 2020 was that it has pushed digital technologies and transformation to the forefront of everyone’s attention. With people working from home during lockdown using video conferencing and collaboration solutions like Microsoft Teams, Mitel MiTeam Meetings, Avaya Spaces and 8x8 Work.
Video conferencing platforms were also used for more than just work, for example adult exercise classes and social events like weekly pub quizzes! Everyone has been exposed to what digital technology can achieve and how it can be used.
The workplace has been disrupted and it isn’t going ‘back to normal’ anytime soon.
Remote Working is Here to Stay
This is an obvious one, but it is fundamentally important because due to lockdown during the pandemic 47% of UK employees work from home (ONS data). This has changed the nature of office work forever.
Many have discovered the beauty of life-work balance when homeworking. During lockdown more than 50% stated they would like to continue working from home or more flexibly as lockdown eases (Survey, The Times).
Digital strategy will become about providing not only the right technology but also support for remote employees. Helping to ensure that the workforce is using collaboration technologies to their full potential.
The Answer is the Cloud
A study by Gartner predicts 2021 will see an 18.4% growth in public cloud end-user spending, which is projected to reach $304.9 billion worldwide.
Businesses that already had cloud solutions as part of their digital strategy seamlessly and quickly deployed home working.
Hosting communications in the cloud saves money through calls and not having kit on-premise to maintain. It also more importantly provides the flexibility to make quick changes like scaling up and down or adding on new technologies as you need to. This all contributes towards business agility.
New Management Methods
This year leaders have had to grapple with new management methods and styles. They have had to be more empathetic to employees’ personal circumstances and learn how to manage a remote workforce. Ensuring they are both productive and motivated.
Businesses will need to deploy workforce management solutions such as REWARDS (gamification). Enabling managers to set appropriate targets for all staff, monitor their progress and reward them according to their achievements.
By providing clear objectives and key performance indicators employees can have clarity on what they need to achieve while working at home.
In 2021 businesses should be revisiting value propositions. This is key to implementing a digital strategy that will bolster the customer experience.
It’s important to consider processes that have been affected by the pandemic or could be more efficient. By re-engineering your business, processes and workplace you can be prepared for any unexpected changes in the environment.
Improving the Customer Experience
Online shopping has increased this year and so have customers’ expectations. With the prospect of a recession looming IT managers will be forced to cut costs. Businesses need to focus on creating a slick and seamless service for the customer’s journey.
They need to re-evaluate the customer’s journey to discover what works and what doesn’t. By implementing automation technology, you can improve the functionality of self-service enabling customers to order and receive their goods easily.
Automating Tasks to Improve Service
Automation will be one of the key technology trends for 2021 with businesses re-evaluating their processes and propositions and trying to cut costs.
The advantage of automation solutions is that they can handle mundane tasks while you can deploy human agents to focus on higher value enquiries.
Data is the New Oil
As cloud solutions increase, we have more and more data accessible to us. The businesses that will succeed will be the ones that analyse their data to see how they can improve their services and the customer’s journey.
As part of a new digital strategy businesses need to be mindful that data is their currency to success. From recruiting skilled people to improving CX key decisions need to be based on it. Data is the new oil!
Ironically, the pandemic is an opportunity for businesses to reset their digital strategy, operations, people and culture.
Look at 2021 with new eyes and design and manage a strategy that is resilient, flexible and agile while setting a culture that is transparent and trusting. When opportunity comes knocking, answer the door!