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[ARTICLE] Digital Transformation Trends for 2021, What Can We Expect for the Enterprise?

Sam Button, Head of Growth, Roar Media

This past year has been the most challenging year for digital transformation with all companies being forced into adapting their use of technology to new conditions. The demand for rapid implementation of new systems & services has never been so high. Whilst this presented a major hurdle for technologists, there has been a level of excitement of being unshackled with the ability to spend on agile projects to deliver at speed and with maximum purpose and impact for both the workforce and customer.

Likely the number one trend for technology in 2021 is that spend is inevitable to remain high. Organisations have had to fast track projects to ensure delivery of excellent customer experience & cohesive working conditions for a distributed workforce. With such a vast amount of innovation in a short period of time, the challenge is now around what the most important elements to enhance are. Predicting the most important aspects of digital innovation is always difficult as it really depends on the individual company and industry but here are some of the most frequently discussed topics which we are aware will be prevalent over the next 12 months for many organisations.

Innovation, Implementation & Deployment at Speed

The pandemic led to companies innovating overnight, the optimal reaction was to have services fit for purpose that were seamlessly utilised. However, many companies had to unexpectedly upgrade systems and provide hardware to enable a fully functioning digital workplace, these were required to be implemented and deployed at speed.

This fast innovation and deployment will be a necessary provision throughout 2021 as digital teams work to advance their digital workplace across the year with new tools to enable customer experience to be maintained in a remote world. Expansion plans which were put on hold this year will likely return in the new year leading to numerous new starters needing hardware quickly. Companies overall infrastructure and hardware will have to be unified with a strategy in place to support employees for years to come. Chrome Enterprise is able to offer fast deployment of devices anywhere in the world, all with centralised management and remote set up options, giving companies a way to provide their employees with new or replacement machines quickly whilst minimising downtime and maximising security and efficiency.

Workforce Development

Having new technologies and systems is great but we need to have a skilled workforce able to operate efficiently within the digital workplace, this requires professional development and training for all staff in addition to daily support. In a year when L&D was harder to deliver, the upskilling of staff was a more prominent need than ever before. With the acceleration of digital transformation the skills gap uncovered will need to be filled in 2021 and the delivery of this will have to be digitally.

The best way to create a learning culture which is fully supportive of staff at all levels is to start from the top, desired leadership skills have changed and been challenged over the course of the pandemic. One of the first things companies will need to address is upskilling their team leaders to manage a distributed team and ensure all team members are supported.

Championing Remote Work

Part of faster innovation & development of employee skills is to enable a full cohesive working environment even with a distributed workforce. In addition to this, we need the employee experience to be perfect to maintain a happy and productive workforce.

Remote work can be challenging, especially working from one laptop screen, there are many innovations through technology which can increase individual efficiency. Chrome Enterprise has recently added virtual desktops and tab grouping to their OS which ensure employees can manage their time for the utmost productivity.

Mindfulness is another aspect of remote working and employee experience that will be a prominent subject in 2021. In order to champion employee engagement within a distributed workforce, we need our workforce to take control of their own wellbeing which is something that will need to be promoted throughout the organisation from top to bottom.

Cyber Security

Remote working is clearly here to stay, companies need to ensure their employees are working within a safe and secure digital workplace. This requires governance that is centrally managed and can be updated on all machines at ease, with minimal downtime.  The move to working at home has increased the level of threat from phishing attacks & unsecure networks which will be an area of concern for IA Managers in the coming year. The headache of having siloed machines on unsecure networks with no permission settings on which applications can be utilised will need to be addressed and moving to a management system with full transparency of the distributed network will be paramount.

Cloud management of data with two-way authentication is a great way of maintaining a secure environment for only the relevant employees to have access to sensitive data, employee & customer information. Chrome Enterprise also provides comprehensive security throughout all machines registered to an organisation running Chrome OS, this includes security of all applications used within and the ability of central management to give and remove permissions and remotely disable any device or login.

Cloud Computing

Working within the cloud is even more vital when we are working in distanced teams, the ability to access data and work on cloud-based apps is vital for productivity and keeping hardware running optimally. Services such as virtualization for non-cloud native applications is something many companies will look to harness the power of in 2021. With a push to making collaboration via an anytime, anywhere format available to all.

The immediate future of work is clearly in a remote working environment, this comes with both hurdles and opportunities. There is a sense that the recent drive for digital transformation can lead to an innovative strategy which enables a technologically advanced workforce who are able to work better remotely than ever before and provide services to customers at speed in any situation.

If you are interested in hearing in more depth about the topics above, these will all be covered within The Digital Transformation Conference Europe taking place online on Thursday 28th January. Registration is limited to 500 participants but you still have time to register online for the event which will feature presentations, interviews & panel sessions from Chrome Enterprise, Mondelez, AstraZeneca, & Deutsche Telekom. Register for the event here

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