5 Biggest Business Trends of 2021
Remote work. Data as assets. Innovation. Automation. Social engagement.
The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing many companies to work from home, and the scale of remote workers has never been bigger. As a result, companies and employees realized that while working from home, waste, such as travel time or office rental costs, was significantly reduced or disappeared from the business budget. According to this, many companies decided that even after the pandemic, their employees could work from home.
Upwork’s «Future of Workforce Pulse Report» confirms that by 2025, 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely. This is an 87% increase from pre-pandemic time. “What’s interesting is that remote work is getting better for the vast majority of companies as they adapt to the new model,” says Upwork chief economist, Adam Ozimek. “Only 5% of respondents of the survey said it was getting worse.”
This year, many employees have faced technical problems, slow Wi-Fi connections, and an outdated workplace in their homes. But at the same time, productivity at home turned out to be much higher than in the office.
Whereas previously, remote work was not a fully formed model, now many companies are creating their own formats and methods of managing work from home.
Nevertheless, thousands of enterprises will gradually begin to return teams to the office, and in this, they will be supported by a hybrid strategy that combines remote and office work. For example, Google surveyed its employees and found that a significant percentage of employees would like to return to the office but not for full-time. They stated that processes such as socializing with teammates and in-person meetings are more effective in a traditional office environment.
In 2020, some industries (tourism, travel, hospitality, etc.) were in crisis, but at the same time, other industries were able to quickly restructure and feel the benefits of remote work.
Data as assets
Data that can convert information and, as a result, can become actionable intelligence and improve the quality of transactions or financial results is an asset. Data has its own value, and of course it differs from the competition. The main characteristic of data is that it can help improve performance and identify problems or causes that are not obvious. But “data” – the process of creating value – on this basis alone, data is not enough.
More and more companies are beginning to recognize that data is the backbone of their assets. Based on this, we can conclude that data is an important component for business growth, and therefore, companies should develop their business models based on data and data processing technologies.
Stephan Zoder, a Forbes contributor, presented his vision of the consequences of not managing customer data as real assets. He highlighted that data is not only a tool for doing business, but individual data elements have their own value for customer service. Most organizations recognize that “data” is a strategic asset, but they cannot and do not know how to organize and manage “data attributes” that can significantly increase revenue.
We would like to present several different methods for determining the value of an intangible asset. The first method used to determine value is by looking for similar or identical assets in what was recently observed in an observed market transaction. Evaluating data is also a good method to track the cash flow or income that is generated, and another is to analyze it in case of replacement or development.
Of course, the data is copied using digital media, and any number of copies can be made. The use of data does not destroy it, so the relevance of the data does not become unusable. There is a fact of “monetization” of data, but so far in practice it is not used often, though it is quite expected to be used in the future. Data is an abstract concept, so to have value, processes must use it..
The coronavirus pandemic has attracted many businesses to understand the importance of tracking digital innovation. And in order to survive in the digital age, every business must modernize its management model.
Prof. Dr. Oliver Gassmann and Prof. Dr. Karolin Frankenberger at the Institute of Technology Management, part of the Swiss University of St. Gallen, in the process of research, revealed that 90% of all business models are a recombination of 60 already-existing business model patterns. And these ready-made patterns can be used as the basis for a completely new business model that will best fit the desired industry of the company.
In the past year, companies like Zoom, Amazon and Netflix have been able to achieve incredible success, while other companies in the tourism, hospitality or entertainment industry faced a sharp and huge collapse in a global sense. Companies had to make quick changes, such as when the U.K. vacuum manufacturer, Dyson, started producing ventilators, along with Ford and G.M. in the U.S. Some products have become the number one purchased item, like hand sanitizers and masks.
This new reality is forcing businesses to rethink their strategic business models. Here are some tips to help you reconstruct your business model:
- explore the current situation;
- use digital tools and increase your online presence;
- uncover opportunities and seize them;
- try to invest in new products and ideas;
- improve your communication methods;
Business model innovation is a complex process that is often not fully understood, but this does not mean that its impact on a company is insignificant, as a correct implementation can generate significant results.
It’s impossible to deny that 2020 was the peak of automation technology. Industrial and manufacturing operations were able to quickly build their processes around the integration of machine learning and robotics. There are many examples where a company is not completely dependent on human resources to perform simple, complex, manual, and repetitive tasks. And of course, they get an advantage in the market thanks to digitalization and IoT.
Hyper-automation is an automation technique coined by Gartner that “streamline(s) and orchestrate(s) as many tasks, activities, and processes as possible”. For processing information quicker, the technique marries intelligent business process management (IBMP), machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and robotic process automation (RPA). The main goal of hyper-automation is not to replace people but to attract them to more important positions.
Voice-activated automation provides increased productivity in the workplace and is also considered an easier automation method. For this reason, Amazon’s Alexa and Google Play are no longer just devices but a part of the household staple, so voice activation will become familiar to the workplace as well.
Automation ASA refers to lightning-fast cloud automation and uses the infamous cloud to offer businesses more cost-effective and modern options.
In the present time, robotic processes and artificial intelligence are already being applied in the work cycle, and AI will become a trend in the coming years. AI is not only about the productivity of your workplace, but also about the elimination of errors and the safety of all business processes.
Business automation, even with a strong impact, cannot replace human interaction between employees, since it is precisely this that is needed to develop and implement new business ideas.
In an IT context, consider implementing options such as hybrid cloud, multi-cloud infrastructure management, and cloud navigation. Automation is increasingly important in ensuring maximum simplicity even though the essence of the processes is complex.
Social platforms are a key tool for connecting with your target customer. Unfortunately, during this period, social networks are too overloaded with content, which leads to a lot of competition. Without a clear marketing strategy, you will not be able to stand out and take your business to the top.
Here are some suggestions to help you promote your brand in 2021:
Relationship-based social media marketing
A study that took place in 2020 found that 75% of respondents do not consider an ad to be true. It confirms the growing skepticism among social media users.
There is an assumption that it is now possible to maintain and progress relationships only with those customers with whom you have already collaborated in the past, so trust is a major factor in your online marketing strategy.
Use a multi-platform strategy
Now, netizens are increasing their desire for the diversity of content types while decreasing the duration of video content. For example, Facebook took over from TikTok by reeling out Facebook stories and Instagram reels.
The extensive popularity of this content is driving the increasing use of this method by marketers to promote brands, as well as platform integrations that bring new directions for brands. At the same time, it is important to remember the need to adapt your marketing plan for different platforms and remember about creating cyclical content, while not forgetting about the correct platform selection.
Generate social content and get involved in social activity
According to Merkle’s Q4 2020 Media Insights Report, 56% of consumers said they have no respect for or loyalty towards businesses that remain silent on important issues.
With a clear social position, companies can better define their identity and strengthen their base of contacts, while also remembering to be correct. It is necessary to clearly formulate the company’s position regarding social cases, since this affects not only the social importance of the brand but also concerns business considerations.
2021 will be more demanding in terms of a crystal clear marketing strategy in brand identity, as well as businesses responses to social issues.
Digital-first strategies, powered by AI
During Khoros Engage, there was a discussion about focusing on a digital-first strategy, which is different for each brand depending on their needs. As a result, the digital-first strategy creates a sense of help among customers, as well as support for the brand during all processes and the conversion funnel.
There are many possibilities for implementing a digital-first strategy: lean on AI chatbots, email marketing collaboration with product experts, getting experience in AI digital advertising, and giving impeccable customer experience.