What does the future hold for digital adoption, 2020 and beyond?
The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating digital adoption and transformation, as many business professionals have begun to realize.
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2020 has already been one of the most tumultuous and uncertain years in recent memory, if not longer.
That uncertainty, however, will almost certainly continue for years to come.
Below, we’ll take a look at some of the top digital adoption trends impacting the economy in 2020, then take a look ahead to see how these trends will unfold in the years ahead.
Digital Adoption 2020: 5 Trends and Forecasts
Digital adoption means the integration and utilization of technology to its fullest extent, either in a business context or a consumer context.
Since digital transformation and digital adoption are tied so closely together, we’ll take a look at some of the biggest trends impacting both.
The novel coronavirus pandemic is undoubtedly the most important and influential event of the year.
Many have claimed called COVID-19 the great accelerator, since it has accelerated countless economic trends that were already present.
- Digital transformation agendas
- The adoption of new digital technology
- Geopolitical events
- Consumer spending habits
- Disruptive innovation
In fact, many experts suggest that digital transformation is necessary to stay competitive and profitable during the pandemic.
2. Disruptive Innovation
Digital innovation has been the fundamental force driving much of the change that we see today. This innovation has been accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis, as mentioned, but that crisis certainly did not cause it.
There are many factors that drive a company to innovate:
- Leading innovators gain a competitive advantage in their marketplace
- Digital and innovative products can boost organizational effectiveness and efficiency
- Companies lagging behind their market are often forced to innovate in order to keep up
According to McKinsey, 92% of companies thought business models would need to change as a result of digitization.
The digital transformation resulting from digital innovation and disruption, in short, have been ongoing for some time – and they will continue to reshape the market in 2020 and beyond.
3. Remote work
Telecommuting has been another trend influencing digital adoption, and that trend has clearly skyrocketed during 2020.
Remote work in 2020, itself fueled in large part by COVID-19, is only possible with the adoption of the proper technology.
For instance, employees cannot work remotely without technology such as:
- Cloud computing
- Remote collaboration tools
- Cloud-based SaaS platforms that they need for their day-to-day jobs
- Online training tools, such as digital adoption platforms
Though people will undoubtedly return to the office after 2020, remote working will become more acceptable and widespread.
Research from Morning Consult, for instance, showed that around three quarters of people would prefer to work from home at least 1-2 days per week – and nearly a third would like to work from home every day.
4. Remote services
Remote work refers to a virtual workplace where employees collaborate and perform their job duties online.
Remote services, or e-services, refer to online services provided to customers.
Whether those customers are consumers or other businesses, e-services have become far more popular in 2020, and they will gain more traction during the rest of the decade.
A few examples of remote services include:
As mentioned above, this is yet another ongoing trend that has been accelerated by the pandemic. Since e-services are so convenient, affordable, and accessible, businesses should expect to see a greater adoption of remote services in the years ahead.
Automation refers to the use of machines to do tasks traditionally done by humans.
There are several ways that automation is impacting the modern workplace:
- Robots are automating manual tasks, such as factory work, street cleaning, and even customer service in retail
- Digital automation tools are automating repetitive tasks in the workplace, such as data entry
- AI-powered software is augmenting certain types of cognitive tasks, and as it advances, it will begin to add more and more cognitive value to the workplace
Automation has been somewhat controversial in the eyes of many, particularly those who fear job displacement.
However, some have predicted that automation will enable entirely new job categories and result in a net positive economic outcome for the entire world.
Regardless of where one stands on the issue, one thing is certain – automation has arrived and it will continue to drive digital adoption and transformation for the foreseeable future.
Final Thoughts: Pivot Now for the Digital Future
In 2020, COVID-19 has undoubtedly been the driving force behind so much of the global economy’s volatility.
However, as mentioned, the pandemic itself has only been the catalyst for many of the trends impacting the world.
That acceleration has been quite substantial, however – so much so that it could fundamentally reshape the business landscape.
McKinsey, for instance, has noted that the gap between industry leaders and laggards has widened considerably as a result of the pandemic.
"What now?"—that's the question on leaders' minds after 6 months of making significant changes to their businesses in response to COVID-19. We lay out 10 ten actions leaders should take now; plus, a new downloadable curated collection of insights: https://t.co/yTpjflgwTF pic.twitter.com/BUXOoHkKPb— McKinsey & Company (@McKinsey) September 11, 2020
To keep up, companies should invest heavily in digital adoption as soon as possible. After all, those that wait may not be able to keep up in tomorrow’s digital economy.