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Top 8 trends shaping digital transformation in 2021

Digital transformation

Recent research from Salesforce MuleSoft and third-party findings have highlighted the top trends for 2021 facing CIOs, IT leaders, and organisations in their digital transformation journeys. They have highlighted that the IT role is even more critical than ever in a world that is increasingly more dependant on digital. Connected experiences are of paramount importance with IT projects projected to grow by 40 and 82% of businesses are now holding their IT teams accountable for delivering connected customer experiences. These include:  

The digital-ready culture. 

Organisations are under greater pressure to digitise services promptly and at scale to meet with rising customer demands and create new revenue channels. Consumers expect consistent engagement with brands across their preferred channels with a large proportion preferring mobile interaction and live chat services.

Democratisation of innovation. 

Digital customer experiences with IT needing to drive cultural change by empowering the business to self-serve and deliver solutions quicker. Enterprises will look to low code development tools to improve productivity. According to Garner, 75% of large enterprises will be using at least four low-code development tools for both IT application development and citizen development initiatives, by 2024. And 65%+ of application development activity will be as a result of low-code application development, by 2024. These trends are incredibly important for IT and CIOs which will enable them to increase technology savviness across lines-of-business as a key priority.   

Composable enterprise. 

Hyper-specialisation has resulted in leading organisations shifting to a composable enterprise to become more agile -- where digital capabilities can be composed of existing applications using APIs, rather than being built from scratch every time. 

There are around 8,000 apps in the marketing technology landscape alone. Fifty-two percent of organisations say that IT has generated the most business value by building reusable integration assets that save time and money on future projects. 


Organisations are using automation to drive operational efficiency and improve business processes. APIs are key to driving automation and scaling productivity. Automation is at the forefront of businesses minds to enable innovation. Salesforce has cited that 81% of IT organisations will automate more tasks to allow team members to focus on innovation over the next 12 months to 18 months. McKinsey notes 57% of organizations say they are at least piloting automation of processes in one or more business units or functions. MuleSoft research found 30% of IT decision-makers say that automation is a key business initiative tied to digital transformation.

McKinsey estimates that automation could raise productivity in the global economy by up to 1.4% annually. Salesforce finds that 70% of service agents believe automating routine tasks would allow them to focus on higher-value work. The PwC Finance Effectiveness Benchmarking report finds that up to 40% of the time in the finance function can be reduced with automation and behavior change.

Companies across industries are experimenting with automation. Across all industries, 60% of line of business users agree that an inability to connect systems, applications and data hinders automation initiatives. One solution to reduce automation complexity is a better use of APIs. The research  notes: "APIs are key to driving automation APIs have emerged as the most elegant means of scaling controlled access to a defined scope of data or functionality, abstracting the complexities of the underlying systems."

API security. 

The average enterprise has 900 applications. The proliferation of new endpoints creates new avenues for intrusion, requiring robust API security. 

Eighty-four percent of customers are more loyal to companies that have strong security controls. Security is also a top enterprise technology investment. According to Verizon, 43% of data breaches this past year were the result of a web application vulnerability. Per Gartner, 90% of web-enabled applications will be more exposed to attack by API weaknesses than via the user interface. According to Gartner, by 2022, API abuses will be the most-frequent attack vector for enterprise web applications data breaches. Akamai reports that 83% of web traffic is now API traffic. There are 900 applications in an average enterprise per MuleSoft.


Organisations are turning to microservices to rapidly build new customer experiences. Companies deploying microservices to production will require some form of service mesh capabilities to scale. 

Organisations are turning to microservices to rapidly build new customer experiences. Companies deploying microservices to production will require some form of service mesh capabilities to scale. Microservices adoption is increasing across industries. The research by MuleSoft highlights several companies in multiple industries with tangible ROI as a result of microservice implementations. According to Gartner*, companies deploying microservices to production will require some form of service mesh capabilities to scale. A service mesh is an architectural pattern for microservices deployments. Its primary goal is to make service-to-service communications secure, fast, and reliable. Service mesh is still a new technology, but 46% of organizations are piloting it or have plans to evaluate or implement it in the next 12 months.

The data divide. 

To keep pace with evolving customer expectations, organisations are looking for faster ways to unlock data and gain insights. 2021 will be the year that data separates organisations from their competitors and customers.

Businesses aren't living up to customer expectations of seamless and personalized experiences. Of the almost 900 different applications used by the average enterprise, only 28% of those applications are integrated -- preventing a single view of the customer. Per MuleSoft, 72% of global consumers would consider changing service providers in response to receiving a disconnected experience. Also, 90% of organizations believe their revenue will be negatively impacted if they fail to complete digital transformation initiatives in the next 12 months.

Data analytics. 

Organizations are investing in data analytics to transform customer experiences. The value of data analytics will be dependent on the data they are fed. According to Forbes, 52% of executives report that having "a well developed and designed enterprise data analytics effort enables us to deliver a superior customer experience. Also, 48% of organizations believe their revenue will be negatively impacted if they fail to complete digital transformation initiatives in the next 12 months. Per Gartner, 48% of product managers at growth companies, or companies that have seen positive revenue growth, are using analytics to collect and analyze customer perception and sentiment data. Gartner believes companies lose $15 million on average annual losses that poor data quality is believed to be responsible for


An important 2020 lesson is that every business must be a digital business. And in the next normal, every business must be able to create value at the speed of need. The future of business will be automated and autonomous. The future of the enterprise is an autonomous enterprise. There are numerous customer case studies in the Salesforce MuleSoft Connectivity benchmark report and the 2021 digital transformation trends report. To learn more, you can visit here.


If you would like to know more about the digital services we offer get in touch with 10Digital.

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