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Sinch 2021 Predictions: The future of conversations and its impact on developers, SaaS, and the next "tech hub"

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

The future of conversations and its impact on developers, SaaS, and the next "tech hub"

By Vikram Khandpur, chief product officer at Sinch

In today's increasingly dispersed and digital world, traditional omnichannel messaging has brands playing catch-up with customers and their evolving channel preferences. The question omnichannel messaging must answer has evolved from, "Where are  my customers?" to "How do I effectively communicate with my customers - wherever they are - in an engaging and personalized way?" 2021 will bring even more change from customers to conversations to the role of developers to the next "tech hub."

The Changing of the Guards - Decision Maker = Developers:

Two years of digital transformation occurred in two months - with the world in a continued data revolution, companies of all sizes will need to adopt a modern tech stack. With that, traditionally segmented developer roles will start to blur. The next generation of nimble and innovative developers will drive innovation with influence that extends beyond their communities to entire corporations. In order to stay ahead and win over the next 5 years, companies need to empower developers to have a say in the decision-making process by empowering them to work directly with CTOs to bring in the tools they want to use. As we look to 2021 and beyond, the most relevant products and services will be the ones that resonate with developers and boost their popularity and usage. Developers need to have a seat at the table.

The Data Explosions Impact on Messaging and Conversations:

The most valuable commodity for businesses to enhance customer engagement is also the easiest to misuse: data. Over the past decade, we've seen a data explosion that has caused the digital universe to double in size every two years. Every aspect of business has now been digitized, and at the heart of this digitization is customer data. Brands pay to store and access customer data in the cloud, so it's in their best interest to use it. Personalized messages to customers, on their messaging channel(s) of choice, boost brand loyalty and will keep customers coming back for more. However, leaning too much on data to the extent that customers worry that their information is being misused will break that trust.

In 2021, as 58% of people will continue to avoid crowds (and thus, brick-and-mortar stores or service centers) in a post-pandemic world, it will be crucial for brands to use customer data to personalize mobile messages wherever customers prefer to receive them, maintaining and strengthening the mutually beneficial relationship with customers by using that data to benefit them, rather than take advantage of them. Brands can do this by ensuring that they have data experts in their ranks, and by implementing AI/ML solutions, such as omnichannel APIs that carry customer data from one channel to the next, or low-code chatbot platforms that can learn from and adapt to customer intent and history to provide useful information and offers without using live agent hours.

Software and SaaS are now Primetime - Pandemic caused the tech laggards to accelerate innovation/change first:

The initial impact of the pandemic caused many tech laggards to accelerate innovation. However, the effects of COVID-19 will be long-lasting and will cause more companies to invest in technology. Because software and SaaS are hot commodities, and will remain big focuses in 2021, tech laggards are once again in a position to try and figure out how to accelerate innovation to meet the demands of new and existing customers. 

Customers are more connected than ever before through their mobile devices: they want convenience with the push of a button. They are also ready for AI-powered conversations across channels on their mobile devices. Even when the pandemic is over, 91% of consumers would like mobile services to improve so they can continue to avoid crowds and spend less time in-store. Heading into 2021, there is going to be a more apparent distinction between tech laggards and CX leaders who have ramped up their mobile and digital communications. In order for tech laggards to get ahead in 2021, they need to focus on making mobile CX a centerpiece of their overall strategy, not just digital.

The Next "Silicon Valley Tech Hub" - Everywhere and Nowhere: 

Silicon Valley was once known as the tech capital of the world. But the truth is innovation should never be tethered to a single location. As COVID 19 made our homes, board rooms, offices, classrooms, and more we have had to rely less on location and more on people and talent. Innovation comes from people, collaboration, idea sharing, and inspiration. With that in mind, the next tech hub is both everywhere and nowhere. The rise of a new, remote workforce has birthed the next hub of top talent, where diversity of thought is boundless and collaboration is global. In 2021, it's essential to retain and attract diverse talent (now more than ever). As we continue to adjust to our distributed and diverse environment we will begin to really define what it means to live in a "hub-less" world. The future of work is diverse and distributed and companies that plan to survive and succeed need to arm themselves for what's to come.

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About the Author

Vikram Khandur 

Vikram Khandpur is the chief product officer at Sinch. He is a seasoned product and business leader with a track record of building category-defining software products and world-class organizations including Microsoft and Nokia.

Published Monday, December 14, 2020 7:27 AM by David Marshall
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