After 2020 brought us more change than ever before, what’s in store for 2021? We take a look at the five tech trends of the near future.
The Corona pandemic has changed many things, and in a particularly rapid way. Among other things, companies had to adapt to a work environment dominated by home offices, and it became clear: Those who had already addressed the digital transformation of their organization now had a clear advantage. According to a recent study on how processes and technologies have changed this year, more than 61% of German companies said they had relied on new technologies in 2020 to continue to operate as normal.
But even after this year, we will see that in times of crisis, companies cannot rest on existing technologies to remain competitive. A climate of constant change will remain.
1. RPA will be used even more strategically
Robotic Process Automation (RPA), for example, has proven to be a very useful tool in automating simple manual tasks to increase the speed and productivity of workflows. As for the future, there will be a further upward trend in this area in 2021. After all, companies have often tackled RPA projects too quickly and deployed them too often in areas where they couldn’t deliver the expected benefits. They are now finding that they need to take a more strategic approach with RPA: gaining a full understanding of how their processes work as a whole, not only to automate the right processes, but also to reap the benefits that RPA initiatives bring in an all-encompassing way. This includes equipping RPA software bots with cognitive capabilities that enable them to understand any form of content – structured or unstructured.
2. Smarter technologies
Proper business transformation doesn’t just involve simply automating tasks and processes, but also using advanced AI technologies to help understand how people, processes, and content interact with each other to optimize the way they work together. According to ABBYY research, more than 80% of employees already say intelligent technologies help them achieve their goals. Likewise, employees can perform their work more efficiently as a result, and collaboration works easier and better. Intelligent technologies such as process intelligence and task mining capabilities provide leaders with a 360-degree view of operations, enabling employees to align processes and data. A big plus for maintaining business continuity, especially in times of crisis like today.
3. Booming demand for robots
Many teams have long since proven that they are capable of working hand-in-hand with artificial intelligence, and they will ensure that more and more employees are equipped with their own software robot to support and complement them in their daily work. Employees, by their own admission, waste as many as 30-40 workdays a year on routine tasks that could easily be handled by a digital worker. Any task or process that is content-based can be automated in a simple way and make the entire business process faster and more efficient. For example, this can be applied to processes such as invoicing, onboarding, and loan processing. Employees thus regain their working hours that they thought were lost, so that they can devote more time to strategic tasks.
4. Simple low-code solutions are in demand
When companies look at technology today, they no longer want complicated IT solutions that involve cumbersome and lengthy integration processes and require trained IT staff or even developers. What is needed is a new type of low-code or, even better, no-code software solutions that do not require any specific prior knowledge and, ideally, can even be easily deployed and used by the business user as a so-called citizen developer. Business users don’t need to know how to code to play a central role in IT initiatives with low-code solutions, but it is invaluable to train employees with training that gives them a basic understanding of how to take on technical responsibilities with ease and confidence.
5. Employees need to be put back in the spotlight
Managers must learn to better understand and engage their workforce in order to optimize business operations. There are countless productivity and collaboration tools designed to help employees get their work done faster, but does it really improve their workflow? We know from experience that business process issues can create huge bottlenecks and barriers for employees. Not to mention employee retention: According to our study, a quarter of workers admitted they were tempted to leave their jobs because of frustrating processes in the workplace. But poor processes not only make employees’ jobs more difficult – which is far from ideal during a global pandemic – they also cost companies time and money. Two good reasons to create optimal processes for the future.