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Three Digital Business Strategies That Can Become Game Changers in 2021

When planning your digital business strategies, consider these three future business trends so you can keep ahead of your competition.

With the COVID-19 vaccine around the corner, organizations around the world are preparing for a post COVID-19 pandemic era. In 2020, organizations struggled to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives to sustain the business and stay ahead of their competition by automating legacy business processes and focusing on digital sales, marketing, and support.

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Many companies have successfully navigated through this pandemic disruption by directing their efforts to providing digital tools and support to their employees so they could work effectively from home. Situations requiring physical interactions were either minimized or optimized for safety or moved to digital channels (for example, contactless checkout at retail stores).

Companies planning for the future in their digital business strategies should consider future business trends to stay ahead of the competition as they efficiently navigate through the present disruptions and plan for future growth opportunities. The following three predictions for 2021 represent opportunities for those companies that are able leverage them.

Trend #1: The rise of the Internet of Behavior (IoB)

An extension of the Internet of Things, Internet of Behavior (IoB) utilizes technology to track people's activities and use data to predict and influence their behavior. Technologies such as smartphones, location tracking, digital voice assistants, facial recognition cameras, smart speakers, and sensors in stores, factories, and offices all gather data that is associated with the behavioral actions such as payment methods, purchase decisions, item preferences, adherence to codes of behavior, and other activities.

IoB will continue to expand in 2021 as organizations consider using behavioral analytics based on this device data to predict and influence behavior and enable more personalized experiences.

Trend #2: The emergence of emotional analytics

Emotion is a key factor affecting customer behavior because it strongly influences brand loyalty. That's why it is becoming increasingly important that companies find a way to measure emotions when customers make decisions.

Enter emotional analytics, a process that focuses on studying and recognizing the full gamut of human emotions that includes mood, attitude, and personality. In 2021, organizations will employ predictive models and AI/ML to analyze human movements, word choices, voice tones, and facial expressions. Leveraging emotional analytics, companies can build a more holistic customer profile, understand how to influence emotions, and develop customized product and services tailored to individuals. Sentiment analysis about products and services -- across geographies, social networks, and review web sites -- will also increase because it enables companies to better understand and improve their customer satisfaction level.

Using emotional analytics, companies can better understand how their marketing and services influence emotion in order to provide more positively engaging customer experiences.

Trend #3: Adoption of anywhere business operations

During COVID-19, companies have increasingly adopted an anywhere operations strategy model to successfully continue operations during the pandemic. This approach enables companies to seamlessly connect with customers, employers, and business partners operating in physically remote environments -- anywhere.

In 2021, businesses will continue to operate through digital systems, making it possible for remote and mobile employees to be full participants in activities that used to require physical presence in a specific location. However, this digital strategy will require an enhanced ability to deliver digital experiences to abstract work locations using secure remote access to systems and data, cloud computing, and remote work automation in 2021.

Closing Thoughts

The global pandemic has pushed digital business strategy from being a "nice to have" to a "critical success factor" in a company's survival.

Digital transformation is inevitable for companies to succeed long term, and the pandemic has accelerated change and made data even more important. Companies that want to maximize their digital strategies are trying to understand and automate as many business processes as possible to be able to get closer to their customers, react to challenges, and create new opportunities. Digitally powered and data-driven organizations are more agile and better suited to meet the needs of their customers and partners as the world gets through these challenging times and new opportunities emerge.

About the Author

Ravi Shankar is senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Denodo, a provider of data virtualization software. He is responsible for Denodo’s global marketing efforts, including product marketing, demand generation, communications, and partner marketing. Ravi brings to his role more than 25 years of marketing leadership from enterprise software leaders such as Oracle and Informatica. Ravi holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. You can contact the author at [email protected].

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