Businesses in 2021 and beyond will develop into efficient workplaces for everybody who believes in technology’s power.  The year 2020 marked an unprecedented year in history due to Covid-19’s adverse impact worldwide. This pandemic has started bringing extraordinary changes in some key areas. The trends in accelerated drug development, effective remote healthcare and efficient supply chain may continue in 2021. Drone technology plays a vital role in delivering food and other essentials at relief activities.

A new concept called the Internet of Behaviour came within an organization that tracks human behaviour in a work environment and traced any slack in maintaining guidelines. Now, organizations are set to capture and combine behaviour-related data from different sources and use it. It explains with an assertion that affects a way that organizations interact with people. Students are experiencing with distance learning, taking examinations under remotely-monitored and proctored surveillance systems through identity verifications and authentications in real-time.

All these will have a higher impact on technology, which will shape an outlook in the future. Businesses worldwide are taking the giant leap to become tech-savvy with quantum computing, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. AI and cloud computing are alluring towards an environment of efficiency, security, optimization and confidence. It is a better time to unveil a look out into the world of AI and technology in 2021.

It has paved the way for quantum computing. Now we need to be prepared to adapt to a hybrid computing approach, i.e., conventional and quantum computing in problem-solving.  Achieving Business Goals

This paradigm shift in computing resulted in an emergence of implausible ways to solve existing business problems and ideate new opportunities. Its effects will be visible on the ability to perform better in diverse areas like 

  • Financial forecasting
  • Weather predictions
  • Drug and vaccine development
  • Blood-protein analysis
  • Supply chain planning 
  • Optimization. 

Quantum Computing as a Service will be a natural choice for organizations to plug into experiments in advance. Forward-thinking businesses are excited to take a quantum leap, but the transition is still in a nascent stage. This new year is a crucial stepping stone towards the future of things to change in the following years.

Cloud providers will continue to hog the limelight as AI tool providers lean towards real-time experiments in their business processes for months to follow. Efficiency, security and customization are advantages for which serverless and hybrid cloud computing are gaining firm ground with big enterprises. It will continue for 2021.

The aim is to make ‘black box’ of AI transparent. The lack of clarity hampers an ability to trust AI. Automated machine learning is another crucial area which becomes very popular shortly. 

Another trend that caught on a wildfire in 2020 is Machine Learning Operations. It provides organizations’ visibility of their models and has become an efficient tool to steer clear duplicated AI efforts. 

Most of the companies are graduating from AI experimentations and pilot projects for implementations. This endeavour is bound to grow further by enabling AI experts to control their work from end-to-end.

Cybersecurity gains prime importance in 2021 and beyond as there is no doubt in hacking where cybercrime prevention is the priorities for all businesses with sensitive data becoming easy to access with advanced phishing tools. Advanced prediction algorithms of AI play a decisive role to prevent breaches in data security applications.

AI and the Internet of Things with edge computing are data processing near to source at an edge of a network that ushers in a new era for actionable insights from a vast amount of data. An In-memory accelerated and real-time AI needed when 5G has started creating new opportunities for disruption.

In 2020, there was a dip for overall funding, as pandemic badly impacted the investment sector due to reduced activities. Some of the technology start-ups cannot cope with the challenges created due to Covid-19 and the consequent worsening economic conditions. 

40% of start-ups forced to stop their operations. By 2021, mergers and acquisitions of start-ups expected. The larger companies likely to target smaller companies specialized in a niche and innovative areas such as 

  • Drug development
  • Cybersecurity
  • AI chips
  • Cloud computing
  • MLOps.

The businesses in 2021 and beyond develop into efficient workplaces who believe in technology’s power. It is vital that all trends are not necessarily independent of each other, but rather form the other’s support base and work in tandem with human intervention. 

Do hybrid trends and solutions stay in the next few years for various organizations’ smooth-running? 

The need for AI and newer technology adoptions and modernizations increase manifold. 

Previously, it has challenged the industry with everyone tries to adjust with a new reality. The pivot to remote work created newfound visibility for digitalization and enough positive sentiments from broader organization to support their digital foundations’ reinvention.

This year is a year of innovation that further propels digital transformations and automation. There are a few perspectives and predictions related to technology for 2021, reminding out of challenging times that new ideas benefit the world well into the future.

Automation becomes essential and accelerates at a pace of digitalization.

In an early or mid-stage of digital transformation when pandemic struck, they pivoted and sped up adaptations addressing unprecedented global disruptions and customer needs, that they will expect to continue operating within a new context. 

Digitalization expected to directed towards improving employee experience. Employers focused on employee engagement get 17% higher productivity, 21% higher profitability and 4.3 times increase in earnings per share.  It provides employees with automation solutions and mobile tools to improve employees’ overall productivity and experience, leading to better retention for an organization.

Demand becomes mainstream for AI.

As businesses continue to maintain hybrid remote-working models by anticipating other potential disruptions, and the role of automation and AI use cases grow in the workplace. 

These include enabling efficient day-to-day communications between skilled-workers doing their work from home and automating invoicing and expenses keeping valued partners paid and preserve budgets. We also need more businesses leaning on AI algorithms making decisions to support real-time financial transparency by meeting the business needs brought by the pandemic. 

It includes managing and spending at real-time to improve budget management and liquidity, increasing compliance and eliminating errors, and maximizing profitability. Broader use of AI and ML adds intelligence to applications and eliminates manual process giving firms a much-needed competitive boost by improving their productivity. 

For instance, 36% of employees submit expenses manually by filling out a form and enclosing physical receipts. Firms save considerable money each year, improves employee satisfaction and experience by automating their finance and administration process. 

The need to optimize the process, consolidate assets and reduce costs will further demand AI to overdrive more back-office operations in areas such as Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable.

Blockchain and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) drives the future.

Several organizations aim to automate their processes while ensuring proper tracking and secure capturing of all business transactions. In the times ahead, accountants using spreadsheets replaced by technology where 90% of work without human intervention in the next five years. Many transactions handled automatically streamlining workflow management such as expense approval, invoice and reimbursement.

Blockchain and RPA emerged as disruptive technologies that help companies transform their existing models while increasing revenues and reducing costs. In this upcoming year, we can expect the adoption of technologies growing with organizations. 

While RPA automates 

  • Repetitive and manual tasks
  • Interact with systems to process data
  • Bring flexibility and reduce operational risks
  • Blockchain crucial for improving audit management and secure payments
  • Recording business transactions for automated decision making by creating an immutable record for reliability.

Data moves from analytical to predictive decision-making.

In an upcoming year, many organizations start realizing their financial data potential to intelligently guide business decisions and leverage to reach greater success levels. As operations become primarily automated, finance doubles down on business insights and services.

98% of finance leaders believe as essential to have total control over spend management. Organizations with good visibility into their spending equipped to identify cost-saving opportunities, enforce higher compliance levels, and meet financial reporting requirements. They need to isolate trends and patterns that bring down compliance to strengthen their policies to increase control.

We look forward to uptake in intelligent spend management (ISM) solutions that would help the finance department automate monotonous and menial tasks and support consolidation of financial data and information from multiple sources enabling the CFOs in gaining holistic picture. This implementations and technology adoption would help the finance leaders manage budgets better and identify the priority areas to redirect monies.

Super Apps Adoption

With the pandemic in play, super apps dominate mobile commerce and communications in India and are already reaching critical mass among consumers. Super app has many apps within a seamless experience. These tend to start as messaging or payment apps that merge and grow to include ride-hailing, dining, social media, health tracking, games, standard business applications, and more.

It’s becoming more common in India to use super apps like Paytm, Amazon, PhonePe, and Zomato. It means any vendor who wants to create a seamless experience for mobile customers, especially transportation, dining, and travel providers and needs to keep a close tab on this promising trend.

Mobile and Cloud Technologies are a baseline expectation

High-valued work requires cross-functional collaborations among business executives, technology teams, and finance strategists. Technologies like mobile or cloud solutions simplify things like using a mobile phone taking a picture of receipts. These requests completed on their laptops or mobile devices to speed up the process for approval and make it easier to track any unexpected expenditure.

Mobile Technology will reshape how business travel happens with a amplified technology, which plays a significant role in transforming business travel. 

Consolidation to a single Travel Management with a robust end-to-end technology platform would help organizations deliver required care duties to their employees on the road. It can help organizations enhance their employees’ safety while simplifying accessibility for different parts of the travel. 

40% of real-time updates and alerts on potential travel are the most critical risks for companies to implement for business travel. Machine Learning (ML) and predictive analysis can help the organizations pinpoint their employees’ location on the road. 

It is essential to relay any vital information in an emergency incident and make available whenever necessary. Mobile applications would see broader utilization by organizations to access information regarding their travel on-the-go, stay informed about any schedule changes and communicate whenever necessary, all in real-time.

Although it is unclear and precise that the vaccines came and how long the disbursement will take, the emergence of digital health passports, displaying a traveller’s vaccine or negative test status, with other relevant information, a transition to a new reality of local and global travel.

Conclusion

The crisis has created unimagined challenges and uncertainties. It also presented an opportunity to pause, reassess, and develop strategies to help organizations survive in becoming resilient against uncertain conditions.

Each business takes a unique path that goes beyond simple recovery to drive reinvention. Instead, it strengthens business for the near-term while building a rock-solid foundation for the longer term.