We are at the gates of 2021 and many important lessons from 2020 have been learnt. Check out Adastra Germany’s predictions with a focus on small and medium enterprises.
The crisis has accelerated the trends that seemed to be too far in the future and the reality proved that the future is already now. Many businesses have faced the difficulty to keep up with the fast-paced changes in the global economic ecosystem; both small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and multinationals have experienced hardships and now it is crucial to plan the next months in the best sustainable way in order to minimize further potential loss and even more – to reach growth.
COVID-19 has acted as a litmus test for what have been sustainable strategies and for what could be improved business-wise regarding processes and performance. The results – more and more SMEs turn to digital transformation to optimize their cost-efficiency ratio. Software as a Service (SaaS), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) experience and machine learning, and rentable technology as a service will continue to be on the rise in 2021 and their focus on affordable solutions for SMEs will deepen. According to Gartner’s 2021 forecast, farming and factories are the next two industries to develop through digital automation. Many steps within the manufacturing process can be performed by machines, so that the end customer will be the first human to touch a product.
“By 2025, customers will be the first humans to touch more than 20% of the products and produce in the world.”
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The rise of cloud services in 2021 can be predicted by several factors and we expect it to be a significant one. First of all, the working from home trend came here to stay and proved lucrative for SMEs even for a post-pandemic situation. Networks, applications, devices, customer service and help desk operations, even voice will need to be moved to the cloud in order to assure access to the business processes from everywhere in the world, and to allow supervisors to manage workers remotely. Moreover, 2020 was the year when many SMEs already moved to cloud services and our prediction is that in the upcoming year the volume of their business prerequisites on the cloud will increase drastically.
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Another trend, that to us seems irreversible, is the democratization of data. In 2021, small and medium business owners will become data experts thanks to low-code and even no-code automations that will analyze and translate data in a down-to-earth language. Simultaneously with the rise of data literacy and the use of accessible for all AI, we expect new models for data structuring to offer to the end clients even better analytics that will ease further business decisions. As 2021 will be the year of data accessibility, this preconditions the increased interdependence between AI and Business Intelligence even for SMEs.
Act vs. React
Another aspect of the 2020 crisis was the necessity for quick adaptation. In 2021 SMEs will no longer have the time to postpone their digital transformation as the new economic landscape is demanding it. However, the road to success is paved with sharp stones. Under the pressing need for fast solutions certain enterprises will fail to integrate automations and this will damage their reputation, customer and employee experiences. Bearing in mind this trap, we predict that planning and testing automations will become central for SMEs in 2021 before they implement and reveal it. According to Forrester, “up to 30% of organizations will ramp up their focus on quality by better planning and testing their automation”.
There is no news in saying that 2020 was marked by the “Go digital or go home” phenomenon. On the other hand, this created an even stronger SME dependence to online advertising platforms such as Facebook and Amazon. It is highly probable that 2021 will be the year when SMEs will start testing for solutions to simultaneously multiply digital advertising channels integrate them in a centralized online media-mix strategy in order to search for a relative independence.
Another, even hotter topic of 2021 will be the data-driven marketing. Personalization of the experience has become a marketing imperative in order to (re-)gain clients in this highly competitive online environment, to provide a quality customer service and create loyalty to your brand. The better you know your target, the more you can sell. More and more businesses will start to integrate models for “Zero customer experience” where all users’ signals serve to personalize the product range the user will enjoy the most. From Netflix’ suggestions to Walmart’s investment into zero-click ordering, data and signals generating and analyzing integrations and RPA are becoming a must.
If you wonder how to be competitive on a larger scale, the answer for 2021 will be – by providing impeccable customer service. According to a survey , 59% of the customers care more about customer service than about other factors that influence customer decision making path in the choice of one brand over another. This can only mean that businesses which are still not customer-centric will slowly but surely drop off.
Check out our success story for increasing customer service efficiency through RPA here.
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