Despite COVID-19 having caused widespread disruption and challenges for businesses of all sizes, it has led to many organizations, enterprises, and individuals pressing the ‘fast forward’ button on plans for digital transformation.
Organizations everywhere are bringing forward investments and looking for ways to streamline operations and boost levels of customer service. As they wait for virus-related lockdowns to end, they have their eyes firmly on the future.
Such activity is encouraging to see and is something that’s likely to extend well into 2021. By taking advantage of new technologies and tools, businesses will be able to streamline workflows, improve processes, and be ready to act when market conditions bounce back.
Here are some of the key trends that I believe will shape 2021.
The rise of automation
The trend toward using technology to automate business processes will continue to grow during the coming year. This process was well underway prior to the pandemic, however, now investments will increase as more organizations come to understand the benefits that can be achieved.
Key objectives will be to make workflows more efficient and free teams from undertaking mundane, repetitive tasks. At the same time, automation will also lead to a reduction in operational costs and faster response times to customer demands.
Hand in hand with increased automation will be ongoing digitization. The march to the paperless office has been underway for some time but expect significant progress to be made during 2021.
One motivating force in this area has been the sudden shift to working from home that occurred in early 2020. For many organizations, this exposed a heavy reliance on paper-based processes and highlighted a need for modernization. As a result, many organizations are investing in the tools and technologies needed to go digital.
The ongoing shift to the cloud
The adoption of cloud computing has become a mainstream strategy for many organizations, and this will continue in the new year. Those who stand to benefit include work-from-home staff who are often able to access cloud-based applications and data much more readily than when those resources remain inside a traditional corporate data center.
There is also likely to be increasing use of hybrid cloud architectures where on-premise IT infrastructures are augmented by cloud-based alternatives. This can deliver both reduced operational costs and improved efficiencies.
Growth of AI and ML
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are two of the most exciting areas of technological development and their usage will grow exponentially during the next 12 months.
The technologies will allow organizations to significantly improve their processes and gain insights from data that previously have not been possible to achieve. Expect to see significant returns on investment in these areas.
Evolution of mobile technology
To allow their workforces to be as agile and responsive as possible, organizations will increase their investments in the rapidly evolving area of mobile technology. Spurred by growth in services such as 5G, businesses will look to equip people with devices that allow them to be connected at all times from any location.
The trend will be assisted by developments in power-efficient hardware that offers greater flexibility when on the move. Once fully kitted out, teams will be just as productive on the road as they were in the office.
Continued focus on security
The shift to widespread remote working shone a spotlight on IT security during 2020 as teams raced to ensure home-based workers were protected from cyberattacks. While much was achieved, in many cases there is still more that needs to be done.
There will be an increasing focus during 2021 on strategies such as zero-trust to further improve the measures organizations are taking to ensure vital resources remain protected from attacks.
No return to ‘normal’
Much as many people yearn for the ‘good old days’ before the virus appeared on the global scene, those days, unfortunately, won’t be returning in the next 12 months. Organizations need to face the fact that remote working will remain prevalent for an extended period and business processes and workflows will need to continue to be adjusted.
However, rather than being an onerous task, such changes give an opportunity to improve business operations and are likely to lead to longer-term benefits. The dark storm clouds created by COVID-19 might actually have a silver lining.
Staying on top with 2021 prediction trends
These trends will shape 2021 and beyond. As the business world comes to terms with the ongoing implications of the virus, these trends will guide investments and help organizations prepare for what lies ahead. It’s poised to be a very interesting road indeed.
If you’d like to learn more about how the Nintex Platform can help you get ahead of the 2021 trends, schedule a personalized demo of the Nintex Process Platform with the Nintex team today.