‘Digital Transformation’ – possibly one of the biggest buzzwords in the technology sector over the last few years, even more so recently with the changes organisations across the world have made to continue business during the COVID 19 pandemic.


As Satya Nadella, CEO at Microsoft, put it, “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months. From remote teamwork and learning, to sales and customer service, to critical cloud infrastructure and security—we are working alongside customers every day to help them adapt and stay open for business in a world of remote everything.”


I hear the term a lot. But what does it actually mean? 


The term ‘Digital Transformation’ is loosely known as the adoption of digital technology to transform services or businesses, through replacing non-digital or manual processes with digital processes or replacing older digital technology with newer digital technology.


What does it look like in 2021?


The digital-ready culture. 


Organisations are increasingly challenged to digitise services quickly, at scale, to meet rising customer demands and create new revenue channels. Following analysis by Deloitte, there is increased pressure on IT leaders to deliver on digital initiatives - a 40% more increase in 2020. 


One of the biggest challenges to digital transformation is integration. Eighty-nine percent of IT leaders report data silos are creating business challenges for their organisations' digital transformation initiatives and 85% of IT leaders report integration challenges are hindering their digital transformation efforts. 


Greater investment in Cloud technologies.


Another crucial digital transformation trend for 2021 has been the renewed interest in cloud technology due to its accessibility and security when working from remote locations. The cloud offers unparalleled agility and scalability, allowing organisations to respond quickly to new opportunities and challenges.


In 2021 public cloud providers will shift an increasing share of their workloads to intelligent-edge platforms to deliver the low latencies required by these applications. As 5G is rolled out worldwide during the coming years, demand for cloud-to-edge applications will skyrocket. 




Automation is key to innovation - McKinsey estimates that automation could raise productivity in the global economy by up to 1.4% annually. Organisations are using automation to drive operational efficiency and improve business processes. According to Salesforce, 81% of IT organisations will automate more tasks to allow team members to focus on innovation over the next 12 months to 18 months. 


Companies across industries are experimenting with automation. Across all industries, 60% of business users agree that an inability to connect systems, applications and data hinders automation initiatives. 



Cybersecurity is as important as ever.


Cybersecurity remains a key threat to organisations. Organised cyber-crime has exploited the Coronavirus pandemic to increase attacks against organisations worldwide. A 238% rise in attacks on banks, and a 600% increase in attacks on cloud servers was observed from January to April 2020 alone. 


With fewer employees working on site on the same secure network, it is imperative that companies shore up their networks and upgrade their cybersecurity strategies and expand them to home networks and mobile work-from-home devices.


Work from home outlasts COVID-19.


Big tech companies like Twitter, Google and Facebook have already extended their work from home policies for parts of 2021. Even smaller organisations are keeping this newfound flexibility as an operational option.


Part of what made this possible has been the rapid deployment, development and adoption of work from home technologies. Microsoft Teams saw a huge uptick in users during the pandemic, rising from 20 million users in November 2019 to 44 million in March 2020, then 75 million by April. Zoom, Slack and others in the category have seen explosive growth in use and development to make them easier, more functional and more secure. 


But not only that, end-users have had no other choice than to adopt these modern technologies – removing many barriers for accelerated transformation. Now that companies have better equipped employees with tools and technology to be more productive despite physical distance, we will see the effects of this for the next few years at least, and maybe beyond as this trend already had momentum pre-2020.


Closing thoughts.


We’re in the midst of digital transformation right now, accelerated by a pandemic that may have changed the world of work for the foreseeable future.  Cloud is the norm. Public cloud adoption is increasing rapidly, and the edge is being transformed.  


This is only the start, as IoT becomes more mainstream in the next 3-5 years the changes will become even more rapid.


Technology moves fast. We do too and so can you.


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