There has been a lot of talk in recent months about how the pandemic brought forward the digital transformation and forced consumers and companies alike to look at online options. But as we look forward to the post-Covid era, it’s important for technical leaders to look closely at what the digital transformation means for them and their business.
It is not enough to simply move operations online and hope for the best. So, to help you determine the top trends for 2021 and beyond, we’ve analyzed the trends we are seeing from our clients and from within the tech space in general to identify where the future of work is headed. Based on this internal and external market research, we’ve put together a list of those tech trends that are set to have a major impact on industry and infrastructure in the coming months and years.
The Boom in Technology Convergence Will Lead to Technology Fusion
The digital transformation has brought with it increased opportunity and increased expectations. As physical borders become less obstructive, competition hots up and customer experience is more important than ever.
The need for connectivity and convergence both within and between businesses is crucial to delivering a quality and speed of service that will keep customers coming back for more. To meet customer expectations, companies are increasingly turning to the Industrial IoT and Industry 4.0 technologies. Efficiency and speed are being boosted by increased use of the cloud, edge computing and both AI and ML.
The digital transformation has also created a greater reliance on cybersecurity which is becoming an ever-more important aspect of convergence as the need for each different entities to both share and protect data adds a juxtaposed issue into the mix that poses a problem for software developers that must be solved in order to satisfy consumer expectations.
Convergence is also finding its way into electrical assets as developers take a more digitized approach to increase flexibility and interoperability. The result of this is reduced inefficiencies and downtime, greater productivity and increased ROI.
It’s anticipated that the increased benefits of convergence will eventually give way to fusion in software development and user experience.
Operational Resilience to Become a Key Area of Focus
The digital transformation is not just about having sexy new tech. Its main purpose is to create a better product or service. With the increased risk posed by cyber threats, cybersecurity is a crucial aspect of any online product or service.
In addition to the threat posed by hackers, new regulatory requirements can put pressure on companies as they seek to ensure compliance while maintaining their core operations.
While security threats can cause issues within operating systems, inefficient processes can be just as damaging. As markets become bigger and 24/7 operations more mainstream, unnecessary downtime can have a major effect on CX, customer retention and, ultimately, bottom line profit.
Operational resilience is what keeps a company turning and ensures operations run smoothly and efficiently. The digital transformation has allowed companies the freedom to introduce the most effective working practices while still ensuring each individual remains engaged. Technology transcends physical borders, removing physical distance as a problem. Teams of distributed workers can collaborate in real time and supply chains are employing cutting edge technologies to seamlessly adapt to changing conditions and continue to meet commitments.
These are vital issues that require the very best processes and will continue to be areas of focus for businesses across all sectors in 2021 and into the future.
Remote Operations Becoming the New Normal
Remote working is here to stay. Even before the pandemic, industries were focused on the wellbeing of staff and finding ways to make the working day more flexible. Naturally, there were concerns around the productivity of large distributed teams and the security of data. Covid-19 created a situation in which business leaders were forced to find remote working solutions, and coming in the midst of the digital transformation, the tools were there to make it a success.
In the past, connecting a distributed workforce may have seemed like a logistical nightmare. We now know that is not the case. Indeed, one might argue that two employees in separate countries who are collaborating online are more connected than two employees on different floors of the same building who can only communicate by phone, email or by physically moving location.
The idea of a ‘paperless office’ is one that has been kicking around for a few years without really taking off. Many organizations found it hard to step away from hard copies of documents. That is no longer the case.
Cloud-based storage, Augmented Reality and other technologies have created a world in which remote working can be more efficient than a team that constantly works together in the same location. This opens up all sorts of new avenues to explore. Organizations are no longer reliant on recruiting individuals within a specific radius of them, there are opportunities to reduce overheads by renting less office space and companies can leverage the best talent from around the world by giving individuals autonomy. And crucially, software developments mean there are simple project management and monitoring tools available for technical leaders that provide precise real-time data and make them better-informed than at any time in the past.
Automated Operations to Become Autonomous Operations
Like the industrial revolution before it, the digital revolution is making sweeping changes to the way businesses operate. In manufacturing, automated processes are not uncommon, but the latest advancements bring with them the dawn of a new age – autonomous operations.
Using AI and machine learning (ML), processes can be put in place that improve reliability and negate issues of human error. From data entry to tenuous tasks, autonomous operations improve efficiency and productivity. There can be little or no downtime, there is no risk of a loss of concentration, and AI doesn’t call in sick or need time off.
With essential, repetitive tasks taken care of, your human resources are free to concentrate on value-adding tasks and solutions that cannot be performed autonomously and that require a level of creativity. Plus, with more time to focus on their tasks, they are likely to produce a better end result.
Autonomous systems can also help to process data and identify trends. While they do not make decisions, they can provide precise data that is not clouded by human emotion. As we move beyond 2021, it is likely that there will be a move towards ML that does make some decisions based on evaluation of historical and real-time data. For the time being, those just taking the first, tentative step into AI and ML can still benefit from highly-accurate data delivered fast to anywhere.
Edge Computing Platforms to Become Edge Automation Platforms
One of the major problems with traditional IT systems was that only those with IT knowledge understood them. Often, that meant hours on the phone to IT just to solve a simple problem – hours that should have been spent operationally.
Edge computing platforms were no different initially. But with edge automation platforms now being made available, those without specific IT knowledge are able to support them. Edge computing capabilities include analyzing, processing, and storing data locally in real-time at or close to the point that the data is gathered. It’s designed to run continuously without the need for IT support so there is less downtime and greater levels of productivity.
The future of work is in the digital transformation. The one thing that has driven business leaders since the dawn of time is the quest for maximum output for minimum input. Technology takes that to a new level and opens up a world of opportunity for every business in every sector.
Agile Fuel recruits and supports dedicated remote engineering teams who serve clients across the globe. Working from offices in Ukraine, our distributed teams of software engineers create bespoke solutions based on each client's unique requirements. The agency is stack-agnostic and focuses on finding the right people according to the needs of the client. By taking care of recruiting and HR, Agile Fuel ensures clients focus on their core business while still enjoying all the benefits of high-quality software solutions. Find out how Agile Fuel can help you leverage the latest tech to drive productivity, growth and ROI.