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12 Digital Trends To Look Out For 2021

2020 was the year where businesses had to adopt new digital technologies and new working practices. Business and consumer behaviour is changing rapidly, and digitalisation will continue at pace.

Technology kept us going last year, but what of 2021? Focusing on our core markets, we’ve gathered together some of our favourite digital trends for 2021:

Data & Analytics

  • Decline of the analytics dashboard in favour of data stories, which will become the most widespread way of visualising and consuming data. While analytics dashboards typically require users to manually dive into the insights, data stories will provide these insights without the need for user input.
  • These are particularly relevant to those employees who don’t have specific knowledge of data analytics as data stories visualise the data as data journey which is easy to understand and digest.
  • Real-time data to become more prevalent as businesses saw just how important being agile has been in the last 12 months. While analysing past data is informative, access to immediate data can help businesses react and completely change risk mitigation.
  • AI, Machine Learning and predictive modelling will play a role in these future developments with businesses able to run simulations based on real-life scenarios to gather data on circumstances that would otherwise be too costly, difficult or impossible to test for.
  • ‘X’ analytics are being utilised by companies seeking to get ahead of their competition. Where data analytics has traditionally been limited to a singular data type shown in tabular form in a spreadsheet, companies also have a wealth of other data forms to draw insight from.
  • Video analytics, textual analytics, audio analytics and so on are all rich forms of data that companies can glean insight from to build up a bigger picture of their consumer base. In fact, 75% of Fortune 500 companies are set to use some form of X analytics by 2025.


  • In-house programmatic buying is growing as companies seek to gain back control of their brands. Worldwide, there is a growing effort to bring programmatic advertising in-house, with the IAB reporting that in 2020, 69% of companies surveyed ‘totally or partly moved their buying in-house’.
  • This shift looks set to continue in 2021 and will shake up the industry, potentially changing the relationship between brands and agencies moving forward.
  • Customised, personalised advertising is an area that businesses are expected to take advantage of in 2021. With personalisation deemed by consumers as engaging and attractive, brands will look to better connect with their target audiences through delivering advertising that’s personalised.
  • The use of AI in programmatic will continue to rise throughout 2021. AI will be used to automate ad purchases and provide marketers with the requisite data to further understand their target audience, reaching them at the right time, via the right channel and with the right message.
  • Reaching customers is becoming trickier due to the growth in channels. Using AI can help to solve this problem so will be key to marketers getting their brand in front of more consumers. In particular, the use of voice search (e.g. Siri and Alexa) will put customers in contact with businesses more frequently leading to increased engagement between both sides.

Cloud Computing

  • Virtual Cloud Desktops look set to the norm as more of us look set to work in this way due to the rise in a remote workforce. Employers will start to really take advantage of the capability for our workstations to be delivered to laptops/desktops as a managed cloud service.
  • This will allow them to take advantage of by-the-hour subscriptions thereby eliminating the cost of hardware updates and the need to update their tech. Equally, workforces remain up to date, security can be managed across all devices, and costs can be easily managed should someone join or leave the business.
  • New security risks will appear, as is often the way as technologies develop. There will be many challenges for security professionals to face throughout 2021 as cybercriminals take advantage of the likes of COVID-19, the strain on healthcare systems, 5G.
  • Multi-cloud or hybrid cloud solutions will be a great option for organisations to consider for organisations that need to entire ecosystems. Multi-cloud solutions will allow businesses to use multiple providers, enabling them to communicate and share data across partners in the supply chain.
  • Providers will lose the ability to upsell higher cloud capacity as well as any additional services as customers have more options to pick and choose services from different suppliers.

Data Science

  • Data Scientists will be encouraged to discover the key business decisions and will become the driving force behind technology companies. Supporting these teams with the right data at the right time will become a priority for businesses in 2021 as they seek to gain a competitive edge and market share.
  • Data continues to be an untapped commodity for companies. Having the team in place to analyse and draw insight from it, and supporting them fully in doing so, will be hugely beneficial to businesses in 2021.
  • Company adoption of AI and Machine Learning will grow and more and more companies will prioritise adding these technologies into their organisations throughout 2021.
  • The pandemic has uncovered the value of AI and Machine Learning and going forward, the focus will be on applying these technologies to core business processes. B2C businesses, in particular, will start to reap the rewards of AI/ML applications as they seek better ways to interact with their consumer base
  • Upskilling of analysts to become data scientists will be a big trend in 2021 as data professionals seek to expand their skillsets further. This can be attributed to the greater attention that data teams have been receiving in recent years, as companies value making data-driven decisions.
  • Data literacy is something that employers will soon begin to demand and expect, and there is a real surge in analysts furthering their knowledge and upskilling as they look to get ahead in their careers.

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