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Little girl holding a robot's hand. robotics, one of the tech trends of the 21st century.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year brought a paradigm shift in the economy, disrupting individuals and businesses across the world.

This brought about a wave of digital technologies at quantum speed. Companies experienced an acceleration of digital transformation of three to four years for their customer and supply chain interactions. Additionally, they were expanding their digitally-enabled products quicker than ever. 

Tech first

While digital transformation was already in the works for most industries pre-pandemic, companies had to find new ways to cope with the new demands and environment. Thus, technology is now at the forefront of all organizational and industry innovation, with new tech trends emerging every year.

New innovations are transforming the ways that businesses operate, and those that fail to adapt are left to struggle.

Today, technology is used in almost every aspect of business, to support strategy, risk management, implementation and relationship management. Surprisingly, 100% of C-suite level executives in a study agree that digitalisation is part of the “new normal”. New innovations are transforming the ways that businesses operate, and those that fail to adapt are left to struggle. Beyond technology, digital transformation is about behavioral change. It is now crucial for leaders to pave the way for the shift to digital by keeping up with emerging and current tech trends.

Here are the 5 tech trends in 2021 that will shape the future.

Machine learning to drive better decisions

People have always been at the center of making business decisions. While Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been on a rise in recent years to support operations, this poses certain challenges to an organization. For one, human-driven decisions are subject to biases and emotion. Every day, the world is generating data at an exponential level – estimated to be at 2.5 quintillion bytes.

Machine Learning (ML) capabilities are used to capture advanced and large volumes of data from multiple sources to conduct end-to-end analysis. As machine learning continues to evolve, organizations will be able to take on a more structured data-driven approach, as well as overcome challenges such as human error and lack of scalability.

ML is useful across industries to enhance the speed and efficiency of operations. For instance, predictive analytics is a form of ML used to calculate the possibility of a risk, which is widely used in product development.

Anything as a Service

The reliance on tech infrastructure is growing every day. For businesses, this means that more competitors are taking on similar technologies that are almost indistinguishable. Simply accelerating their digital technologies along with the industry doesn’t give companies the competitive edge it used to, as compared to pre-pandemic. The rapid introduction of new technologies has spurred on a new market environment – one where infrastructure is a differentiating factor between digitally-enabled businesses.

77% of executives feel that technology architecture is crucial to the success of their organization. For organizations, this means that choosing the right technology stack is crucial to business success. Whether this is cloud-based software, AI models or even hardware, “As a Service” companies are on the rise. XaaS (Anything as a Service) provides solutions that deliver cloud-based solutions and applications based on industry needs. In fact, in Q4 last year, 70% of companies had plans to increase cloud spending due to disruption. As of this year, the XaaS market is set to grow at a CAGR of 25.5% in the next five years. Most popular XaaS services include Software as a Service, Communications as a Service, and Network as a service.

89% of businesses are investing in personalization as a core strategy in the short and long-term to gain competitive advantage. Consumers nowadays don’t just expect, but demand personalization from their product and service providers.

The need for personalization

89% of businesses are investing in personalization as a core strategy in the short and long term to gain a competitive advantage. In recent years, the need for tailored solutions has grown. Consumers nowadays don’t just expect, but demand personalization from their product and service providers. This is especially pertinent in B2C markets, such as e-commerce.

To cater to the new world consumer, organizations rely on machine learning and AI capabilities to capture critical data. Tailoring the customer journey would also mean leveraging bots, beacon technology and the Internet of Things (IoT), especially in physical venues. As the need for personalization grows, more promising technologies will continue to take the stage. For instance, front-line customer interactions use chatbots as a way to scale communication.

Rise of digital twin

The digital twin market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 35% during the forecast period of 2021 to 2026. These developments are mostly a result of drivers like digital twins in IoT and cloud-based platforms, leading to the need to create scalable and cost-efficient solutions. Digital twin technologies essentially create a virtual identity that mirrors a process, product or service. At an even larger scale, digital twins can be used to mirror major supply chain touchpoints such as factories, product life cycles, interactions and even ports.

These technologies enable deeper oversight into product manufacturing and operations. Companies can now connect with operating products and services in real-time to conduct product testing and maintenance. Almost 9 in 10 executives have stated a need for digital twins to support their organization’s ability to create strategic ecosystem partnerships.

The Time for Trust report by PwC revealed that blockchain will create 40 million new jobs by 2030, as well as reach a trillion dollar market.

Supply chain integration

Supply chains are a vital part of every business. Now, supply chains are moving to the forefront of front-line customer interactions and segmentation. With blockchain technologies, supply chain interactions are now disclosed to induce better traceability, as the need for consumer trust increases. Promising technologies like blockchain at the forefront of transformation means that the tech sector is at an inflection point. The Time for Trust report by PwC revealed that blockchain will create 40 million new jobs by 2030, as well as reach a trillion-dollar market.

According to Vincent Pignon, Founder and CEO of Wecan Group, leader in blockchain solutions in Switzerland, the financial industry is the one that is investing the most in this technology. This is illustrated by the 13 banks, including Reyl, and the 50 External Asset Managers already present on Wecan Comply, the blockchain solution for managing compliance data and documents. Like Wecan Comply, concrete blockchain-based solutions are emerging that improve processes in the financial industry.

The ability to streamline cross-border and remittance payments promote financial inclusion. More than that, blockchain is increasingly used for other applications outside of transactions, such as enhancing traceability. For example, retail customers can scan a QR code on a product page to track where their product origins and materials are for. The sharing of valuable data is a step in the right direction to building transparency in the supply chain network as a key differentiator for brand-building.

As global markets approach a new environment, technology is now imperative to business success. Organizations must now keep up or risk getting left behind in this digital inflection point. By keeping up with these tech trends, leaders can better prepare themselves for the future of business.


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About the author

Roman holds a Master’s degree in economics from the University of St. Gallen HSG. He is an experienced brand- & marketing strategist and defines himself as a “crazy-creative-thinker”. He started his career at the ‘IFJ Institute for Young Entrepreneurs / Venturelab.ch‘ as Senior Project Manager before co-founding Suxedoo.ch. He later joined Google as Programs Lead for the Employer Brand Marketing in EMEA. In 2018 he was recruited by Lime, the US-based scooter giant, supporting the launch of the company’s first European market, Switzerland, after which he led Lime’s EMEA Marketing & Brand efforts before joining Alpian.

Roman loves hiking so much that in 2009 he walked 2300km on the Camino de Santiago with his dog Nelson. He walked all the way from St. Gallen to Santiago de Compostela in Western Spain.

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