You’re very welcome 2021 – top technology trends 

Jonathan Sharp is a Director at Britannic Technologies We are all looking forward to saying goodbye to 2020. It’s been a tough year. but the new year is upon us bringing a fresh start. Exactly what we all need. So far, 2021 is looking optimistic already with the COVID-19 vaccine being rolled out we can finally see the end of the pandemic in sight. Over the last few months, we have been talking to our customers and business partners about what technology trends 2021 will bring. Digital technology at the forefront One of the advantages of 2020 was that it has pushed digital technologies and transformation to the forefront of everyone’s attention, both in our personal and business lives. With people working from home during lockdown (where possible), using video conferencing and collaboration solutions such as Microsoft Teams, Mitel MiTeam Meetings, Avaya Spaces and 8x8 Work. Video conferencing platforms were also used for more than just work, for instance Google classroom for home schooling and Zoom for online children’s clubs, adult exercise classes and social events. In 2020 we all learnt how to be social with digital technology. As we move into the New Year of 2021 everyone has been exposed to what digital technology can achieve and how it can be used. The workplace has been disrupted and it isn’t going ‘back to normal’. Remote working is here to stay This is an obvious one, but it is fundamentally important because due to lockdown during the pandemic 47% of UK employees worked from home (ONS data). This has changed the nature of office work forever with businesses and employees adopting a hybrid approach to working from home and from the office. We can also predict that many of us will still be working at home during 2021 as the vaccine begins to roll out across all ages which will take some time before everyone is vaccinated and safe to return to the office. Many have discovered the beauty of life-work balance when homeworking. During lockdown more than 50% stated they would like to continue working from home or more flexibly as lockdown eases (Survey, The Times). In 2021 companies will have to provide the right technology and support for remote employees working from home. The answer is the cloud If your communications infrastructure is not in the cloud, then we strongly recommend that you move to it. A study by Gartner predicts 2021 will see an 18.4% growth in public cloud end-user spending, which is projected to reach $304.9 billion worldwide. Businesses that already had cloud solutions in place seamlessly and quickly deployed home working with very little effort at the start of lockdown. By hosting your communications in the cloud, you not only save money through calls and not having kit on-premise but more importantly it provides you with the flexibility to make changes such as scaling up and down and adding on new technology and applications when you need to do so. Flexibility to change fast and evolve is key in this forever changing world. Conferencing and collaboration solutions If you haven’t already invested in a resilient, secure and flexible conferencing and collaboration solution then now is the time to do so. Solutions such as Mitel MiTeam Meetings, Avaya Spaces, MS Teams and 8x8 Work enable you to collaborate; host video calls, send instant messages, share screens and to work and share documents together to save emails going backwards and forwards. These solutions enable teams to work together, communicate and connect which is crucial for teams working remotely. New management methods This year managers have had to grapple with new management methods and styles. They have had to be more empathetic to employees’ personal circumstances and learn how to manage a remote workforce, ensuring they are productive and motivated. Businesses will need to deploy workforce management solutions such as Calabrio WFM and Bizvu REWARDS which provide the ability to assign tasks to team members so you can monitor their progress and performance. By providing clear objectives or key performance indicators employees can have clarity on what they need to achieve while working at home. Modernising business The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the face of many businesses and even the ones who it hasn’t directly impacted the repercussions of 2020 are yet to come. Businesses should enter the New Year evaluating what its propositions are to customers and studying the processes that have been affected or could be more efficient. By re-engineering your business, processes and workplace you can be prepared for any change that may occur. Improving the customer experience Online shopping has naturally increased this year and so have customers’ expectations, and with the recession looming IT managers will be forced to cut costs and asked to do more with less, so businesses need to focus on creating a slick and seamless service for the customer’s journey. They need to re-evaluate the customer’s journey to discover what works and what doesn’t. By implementing automation technology, you can improve the functionality of self-service enabling customers to order and receive their goods easily. Automating tasks to improve service Automation will be a big trend for 2021 with businesses re-evaluating their processes and propositions and trying to cut costs. The advantage of automation solutions is that they can handle mundane tasks while you can deploy human agents to focus on higher value enquiries. For example - an automation solution can reside outside the contact centre acting as triage, processing large volumes of digital interactions such as email, web chat, social messaging or WhatsApp messages, presenting the agent with a single screen of all digital communications. This enables businesses to only allocate human agents to deal with real time urgent enquiries, handing over the other requests to the automation solution where it automatically reads content, context and sentiment and can respond automatically using set bespoke answers from templates. Data the new oil As cloud solutions increase, we have more and more data accessible to us and businesses that will succeed are the ones that analyse the data to see how they can improve their services and the customer’s journey. In 2021 businesses need to mindful that data is their currency to success and recruit skilled people to interrupt it and then form key decisions based on the findings. Welcome 2021 Ironically, the pandemic is an opportunity for businesses to reset their strategies, operations, people and culture. Look at 2021 with new eyes and design and manage a strategy that is resilient, flexible and agile while setting a culture that is transparent and trusting. Welcome in 2021 as opportunity to reset, learn and evolve.
Ironically, the pandemic is an opportunity for businesses to reset their strategies, operations, people and culture