If 2020 taught us anything, it was to focus on adaptability. For our industry, it was about providing services for clients as their needs rapidly changed to remote work, in addition to facing a dramatic digital transformation. Although working remotely has been trending in this direction for some time, the “work-from-home” requirement changed organizations in a matter of weeks in a movement now referred to as ‘forced digitisation”. 

In 2021, three important guiding industry trends remain clear: The WFH (Work From Home) movement and how this will shift digital transformations into overdrive with the focus where it should be—the customer.

Work From Anywhere Reality

The world’s response to the pandemic has resulted in the most rapid transformation of the workplace. Working from home is now commonplace. We’ve gone from digitizing the relationship between business and customer to digitizing the relationship between employer and employee.

We have been propelled forward, fast-tracking trends like digitalization, automation, and innovation. We’ve been forced to step back, assess, and get a 360 degree view of our technology roadmap. With that, business leaders are strengthening their culture with communication and transparency like never before, while redirecting office supply funds to employees who need support setting up their at-home office. 

Oddly enough, in the midst of social distancing, many of us are getting closer. We’re building more adaptive teams, and more consistently checking in with each other. Connection has become a priority, but beyond that, we’re connected with purpose as a like minded community.

Focus on Digital Transformation

We’ll find that this next normal opens the door to improving customer experience (CX) and relationships through new technologies, perspectives, and approaches. From the onboarding process (paper to digital) to file infrastructure to field service—all will be integrated into the overall design of CX. This ability to adapt to changing strategies leads to more digital processes that can handle the influx of remote workers.

Consequently, software companies will both build and buy the best in class technologies. It also means that they will need the integration framework, product coordination, and the engineering capacity and agility to mobilize innovation.

Focus on the Customer

Today’s customer expects to be delivered a connected experience across channels and departments. With a shift to improve the customer experience and keep up with customer demands, Salesforce Customer 360 Data Manager will make the digital transformation and WFH trend even easier.

As Salesforce doubles down on all things customer, Salesforce Customer 360 is creating a unified customer ID to build a single view of the customer.  It assigns a unique ID to each person so it can stitch together multiple records of that person across different systems. For example, if John Doe is a customer record in Marketing Cloud, another record in Commerce Cloud, and another record in Service Cloud, the system knows that John Doe is one person, not three people, so we can engage him accordingly.

These trends are a direct result of growing user needs, derived from the digital-first environment we experienced in 2020. While the future remains unclear, the biggest success stories in 2021 will be the organizations that are adaptive and embrace new technology.

Steve Baines