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2021 Predictions

2020 has been a year like no other, we have, and are experiencing an unique moment in history, its effects will be felt for many generations to come. In my 2020 predictions, I concluded with; ‘as Yoda once said, “Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future”. So no one really knows what’s going to happen’. Not even Yoda could have predicted the systemic effect Covid-19 is having on humanity, ecology and global economics where the most used phrase would be "you're on mute!". Lets look back to my 2020 predictions, how did I do? 2 out of 3! We saw digital identity becoming at the forefront of organisations as they grapple to rapidly offer services remotely and safely without any sort of physical verification. Ecosystem maturity was accelerated and collaboration sky rocketed. Digital transformation was give a much needed kick up the proverbial. Organisations had no choice but to change they way they conduct business, their operating models and their distribution channels in weeks and months. Where changes like this would usually taken years. My final prediction of hyper personalisation took a back seat for most organisations. Organisations focused their resources on the playing whack-a-mole and pushing the move from a physical to digital world. I do believe hyper personalisation that it is back on the cards for 2021. 

Looking forward to the future, I expect there will be many new trends, including the following 3 which we will hear more and more often in 2021.

 

Multiplayer finance

If you have played Fortnite, COD or Mario Kart, I am sure you will agree the game is better when you play with others, in multiplayer mode. The thrill of the race, being connected with others to achieve a common goals makes the experience so much richer and attainable. We are in this together, with the economic aftermath of Covid, there will be a need for innovative people to pull together, pool resources to reach common goals in health, wellbeing and finance. Utilising open banking, connected people will be able to connect accounts across different banks, create collective accounts for goal based savings, get connect credit and even have connected insurances. As with any multiplayer options identity and authentication will be super important to ensure that only authorised individuals have access to accounts. Multiplayer connected finances will be a big thing in 2021, the technology for this is already available, the need for this is apparent, the success of multiplayer finance will rely on organisations being able to bring them to market in timely, remote and frictionless manner. 

 

Consolidation 

We have seen in 2020 that no one is immune to the financial squeeze, not even the poster child of fintech. To stay afloat the most well known fintechs have had to let many of their talented people go and reduce their geographical growth ambitions. Fintechs have also had to pivoted to a subscription and adapt charge models in the hope to drive a positive balance sheet. As with the retail sector, unfortunately for some, financial posturing, cost reduction and innovative products may not be enough. 2021 will see its fair share of latent economical casualties of Covid. I expect that 2021 will be the year of consolidation where behemoths such as GAFAs (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple), Schemes (MasterCard, Visa, Amex) and large banks will look to buy competencies of organisations at a good price. The goal for most organisations in 2021 will be to stay relevant, ensure an engaged customer base, whilst reducing the cost to serve significantly. In addition to consolidation there will be large investment in future capabilities including AI, automation and a further push to move operations into the cloud focusing on edge computing.

 

CX renovation

I have a classic red Mini Cooper and I spent some of Christmas removing rust, cleaning the engine and respraying paintwork. For anyone who has owned a classic car, you get a few years of patching rusts and doing home sprays. Then there is point where patchwork will not work and you need to do a full renovation. In 2020 organisations raced to provide capability they needed to support customers remotely. Most did this rapid change as patchwork building on rusty systems and stringing together experiences by glossing over with a resprayed of user interfaces. This served its purpose in 2020 and allowed them to survive. However as the new normal is here to stay the patchworks will not be sustainable from a economic and maintainability perspective. So in 2021 organisations will need to renovate their customer experience from the ground up. They will need to sand down the patchwork to the bear metal, use the learnings, data and feedback from 2020 and think strategically of how they renovate and upgrade their customer experiences, capability by capability, system by system and journey by journey. 

 

Conclusion 

To accelerate out of the crisis, organisations will need to carry out bold and disruptive manoeuvres. They will need to lean into the aftermath of Covid and seek opportunities. I truly believe that the best way to innovate is when you have constraints to the system, with that new services and innovation will emerge the World will bounce forward. As I welcomed in 2021 with the sounds of Big Ben, London lit up with lazers and the fantastic fireworks, drone displays and soundscapes that summarised 2020. I conclude with a quote from my hero David Attenborough who concluded the display with this message “Our Plant is unique, a living world of diversity and wonder, it is also fragile with a new year comes an opportunity for change and if we act in 2021 we can make a world of difference. Together we can turn things around, together we can restore our fragile home and make it a happy new year for all the inhabitants of planet earth”. 

Thanks for reading, stay safe and here’s to a safer, brighter and more prosperous 2021! 

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Bhavesh Vaghela

Bhavesh Vaghela

VP of Products

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