Procurement

Top Digital Transformation Trends for Businesses in 2021

Athena Commercial
August 20, 2021

For one reason or another 2021 has thrown businesses across the globe into the midst of digital transformation. From the ongoing rise of technological capabilities to the need for remote working solutions, alongside the increasing pressure from governments to align organisational activities with more eco-friendly processes. Digital transformation is no longer a ‘plus’ embraced by the forward-thinking, but a necessity for every business looking to adapt to the new era. Nonetheless, as is often the case, many SMEs are yet to implement some of the new-age digital solutions, perhaps lacking the budget or expertise to get started. As such, our team have put together the top five digital transformation trends for businesses that we believe are fundamental to business development over the coming years.

 

Data Analytics

As procurement experts, we’re perhaps biased in our view that data analytics constitutes one of the biggest digital trends for businesses in 2021. Nonetheless, even from an objective point of view, data analytics solutions are transforming the very ability of SMEs to track spending and make strategic cost decisions – a privilege that was previously only afforded to large organisations with in-house procurement teams. Whilst data analytics itself is not a new trend in 2021, paired with the rise of AI and machine learning, data analytics capabilities are being propelled forward, allowing businesses to be increasingly responsive to new risks and opportunities in real-time.

 

A recent study shows that 51% of organisations recognise that tapping into their data resources offers the greatest opportunity for digital transformation success. Data analytics tools, such as our own Arrowhead spend analytics software, allows SMEs to access valuable data at an affordable price, saving time and money that can be spent elsewhere within the organisation.

 

 

Cyber Security

Fuelled by the growth of remote operations, cyber security is undoubtedly one of the biggest digital transformation trends to have arisen from Covid, with a 238%rise in attacks on banks, and a 600% increase in attacks on cloud servers observed from January to April 2020 alone, as hackers attempt to take advantage of the pandemic.

 

Further to this, as more and more technology solutions enter the business market - offering organisations greater tools and capabilities than before - cyber security providers must grapple with the challenges to create security solutions that cater for a constantly diversifying landscape.

 

With each new technological acquisition, businesses must ensure that thought is given to how such acquisitions may impact existing security measures and whether additional solutions must be sought to protect operations from malware, data leaks and hackers.

 

For more guidance on how and why to procure more cyber security solutions, read out recent post ‘CyberSecurity Procurement’ here.

 

Artificial Intelligence

Previously, artificial intelligence(AI) has felt somewhat futuristic – a trend only grasped by the largest of organisations.However, owing to the pandemic, the democratisation of AI in 2021 has gained significant momentum.

 

Why? The pandemic has radically transformed the way in which both consumers and organisations go about their everyday processes – with the majority turning to online solutions such as online shopping, what we eat, how we source suppliers etc. In turn, this is resulting in masses of user data which can be garnered by organisations to inform new strategies and decisions. Nonetheless, the sheer amount of data is too much to be processes by organisations manually, not least at the rate in which new data is accrued. AI technologies provide a viable solution for this, able to solve both global and single market problems faster, better, and even at scale.

 

As AI technology continues to be developed at such as rapid rate, we expect to see the technology become increasingly available to smaller businesses, available at cheaper rates from multiple providers.

 

 

Cloud Solutions

In the post-Covid world, business agility is now non-negotiable and though cloud computing is not a new technology trend, its proliferation to businesses worldwide has made it an essential aspect of business scalability and flexibility.

 

As businesses do begin to re-open offices and strive for balance between remote and in-office working, the need for hybrid cloud solutions will undoubtedly increase – alongside the ability to ensure that all processes between offline and online working are secure.

 

 

Blockchain

Last but not least, the diversification of blockchain technology is one of the most exciting trends to arise out of 2021 – particularly for procurement or supply chain management professionals. Once only associated with cyber currencies, blockchain is now being widely used across multiple industries, who are now optimising their supply chain ecosystems for resilience and risk.

 

This includes the use of robots, drones, and other technologies to make supply chain teams more effective, efficient, productive, and safe, whilst also facilitating a greater degree of remote working.

 

Further to this, technology can greatly improve supply chains by enabling faster and more cost-efficient delivery of products, enhancing products’ traceability, improving coordination between partners, and aiding access to financing.

 

Looking for advice on digital transformation and innovation within your business? Get in touch with our team of digital transformation experts today at info@myarrowhead.io

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