2020 left an everlasting mark on the lives of people and businesses everywhere. Due to Covid-19, there was an acceleration in the adaptation of technological trends. And this trend is set to continue in 2021. More companies and businesses are digitalizing their operations to build resilience and prepare themselves for a post-covid era. After all, keeping up with the ever-changing technology is crucial for any business to stay afloat in turbulent economic times.
Technology is rapidly evolving with every passing minute. It is overwhelming business professionals everywhere with a plethora of options. What to incorporate, and what to avoid? Small businesses have it even more challenging as they do not have adequate means to adapt. The cost of failure is high.
While technologies such as 5G will gain traction in the coming year, several others will drastically redesign the business landscape in 2021. Here are a few:
Increased focus on Artificial Intelligence
Machine learning and AI are always two hot topics whenever talking about business and technology in one sentence. More organizations will move towards implementing AI into their business practices in one way or another. A few useful integrations include providing a more personalized shopping experience and providing voice assistance to consumers. AI integration will allow businesses to save time and a lot of money in the long run. As a result, AI will make business operations more efficient and less prone to human errors.
A comprehensive human resource software
Until recent years, human resource management was almost always neglected as a core business aspect. However, companies have realized the importance of strategic human resource management and are beginning to give it an equal priority in correlation with other business functions. Thus, there is an underlying need for better HR tech for business owners to keep track of their employees’ needs. And this technological trend is set to continue to rise in 2021.
Remote-working and WFH are becoming increasingly popular and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Managers need a more centralized employee management system to ensure optimal productivity in business tasks and activities. Most small businesses still rely on outdated HR systems and excel spreadsheets. However, now is the time to shift attention towards a more relevant system that enables them to manage their employees without hassle.
Companies are also investing n highly skilled business resources such as graduates holding an mba with a technology focus to adapt to these crucial HR changes. The end goal is to increase overall business efficiency.
Due to the lockdown and closure of many brick and mortar stores, businesses took the plunge towards giving customers a better online shopping experience. And this trend is expected to continue to grow. This high tech approach to shopping will keep people safe from impending health concerns and negate waiting in long queues to buy something they need.
Mobile payments are becoming increasingly popular as businesses move to online and cashless operations. Checking out with QR codes is now a common practice everywhere you go. The value of online payments is expected to reach 6,685,102 million dollars in 2021.
It means a growth rate of 12 percent since the year 2020. It is a fact that nobody wants to handle cash anymore. People fear contracting Covid-19 from money given to them by suspected virus carriers. And this is why modes of contactless payments will be the norm in 2021 and beyond.
Greater emphasis on cybersecurity
As the digital world expands and users become tech-savvy, the risk of cyber attacks also rises. Many small businesses were the target of cyberattacks in the year 2020. But now, they are more aware of digital threats and are taking steps to enhance cybersecurity.
There was a spike in antivirus downloads at the end of 2020 that indicated a rise in cybercrimes. Cybercrimes pose a significant threat to online businesses as a vast amount of vital customer, and financial information is at stake. Hence companies are heavily investing in tech to prevent their business operations from cyber-attacks.
Extensive use of automation in business operations
Automation was always a popular word in the business community. 2021 is the year it will become even more popular than it was due to organizations embracing contactless business practices. Not only will automation increase business savings by cutting down costs, but it will also serve as an excellent problem-solving tool for lengthy manual procedures.
For example, the Covid-19 pandemic left shortages in the workforce everywhere, due to which businesses started investing more in automation. Processes such as pricing, inventory management, and payment systems underwent automation to ensure full function despite the lack of human resources. Numerous companies also started to leverage cloud-based solutions to make the push for automation a little bit easier.
Social media marketing
Social media marketing is the mainstay since the first-ever social media platform came into existence. And companies will continue to incorporate it into their marketing strategies in 2021. It will become a more cost-effective marketing solution that will allow businesses to target a specific audience without ever being physically present in front of them. As various new social media platforms come into existence, the ability to grow your customer base with unique and engaging content will be paramount in the digital landscape of 2021.
It is a wise decision to keep a close eye on the technological advancements 2021 will bring. The fact remains that not every business has the financial strength to adopt the latest business technologies. And failure to stay updated can lead to many organizations and businesses disappearing altogether. It would be best to implement the technologies you can afford right now and slowly make your way up the ladder. Technology waits for no one. Be smart or be forgotten.
Danis Woods in Businessman, investment banker and stock exchange traders. On the same time he loves writing financial blogs to shed lights on different aspects that new and existing businessman are not aware of.