Diversify or Suffer: Technology in 2021

The impact and ongoing effects of COVID-19 have created an advancement in AI and other technologies that are aiding our lives to be safer and more efficient. Either businesses can embrace these technology in 2021 and diversify or their businesses will suffer.

From shopping, to social interactions, to the workplace, many facets of life are unrecognisable to a year ago. The workplace continues to evolve from a static location to a shape-shifting, tech-centered, collaborative space.

Emerging technologies are reimagining how businesses organise, operate, and strategise. Diversifying your business to embrace technology will promote better customer experiences and provide vital data insights.

“You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data.” Said Daniel Keys Moran.

Deloitte’s executive summary on tech trends for 2021 noted that, “businesses are turning to strategic technology platforms equipped with advanced analytics, automation, and AI.

Sophisticated machine learning models will help companies efficiently discover patterns, reveal anomalies, make predictions and decisions, and generate insights—which are increasingly becoming key drivers of organisational performance.”

When we look back, 2020 will likely be the turning point when most of the population adapted to digital interactions to conduct their everyday lives, whether working from home, online schooling, or ordering groceries.

Deloitte expects in-person and digital experiences to become more seamless and intertwined.

The customer’s journey will be made up of in-person and digital elements that are integrated and intentionally designed through data, to create a seamless brand experience to fit the individual customer’s behaviours, attitudes, and preferences.

As this is the way businesses are set to evolve, choosing to neglect such technological integrations will lead to your business suffering, as the customer experiences of competitors will be more aligned with their needs.

Case Study: Woolies X

Woolies X is a relatively new part of the Woolworths Group, combining digital, e-commerce, data and customer divisions. 

Woolies X goal is “to create better experiences together for a better tomorrow. We do this by reimagining the everyday in terms of how we bring Woolies to our customers digitally across web, app and our in-store media, how we bring our online shopping and delivery services to life.”

Q-Tracker: a new tool that uses real-time data to show the length of the queue to enter our stores. By helping you plan when and where you shop before you leave home, Q-Tracker makes it easy to avoid busy periods, save time and shop with your safety in mind.

Data Safety

As we increasingly rely on technologies that collect our data and use it to make decisions about us, we need to ensure our data is secure and safe.

As a way to rebalance power, we’ll likely see new data governance models such as data trusts, become more popular in 2021 which operate as trusted intermediaries between consumers and big tech platforms.

A data trust that is set up as a fiduciary for the data providers could make it much easier for firms to safely share data by instituting a new way for governing the collection, processing, access, and utilisation of the data.

The journey to becoming a data-driven organisation fit for the emerging AI economy is long and arduous. Data trusts are an opportunity for collaboration between organisations to make that journey faster, less costly, and less risky.


“The pandemic introduced countless new digital touchpoints for B2C and B2B companies alike, which means there’s more data than ever before. Businesses and consumers will have more of an understanding of what AI can do.

IDC predicts that global spending on AI will double in the next four years, reaching $110 billion in 2024, as companies see an opportunity to boost innovation, improve customer service and automate routine tasks so their employees can focus on more strategic work.” Stated Salesforce VP of product management, Marco Casalaina.

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