Digital Customer Experience Trends 2021

With a new year comes new digital trends! Here are some ways we can expect the digital customer experience to evolve.

Dec 18, 2020 - 3 min.
Picture of: Stephan Schweizer
Stephan Schweizer

Over the past nine months, people and companies across the globe experienced an unprecedented shift in how we communicate, connect, and do business. In an extraordinarily short amount of time, businesses were shuttered, factories came to a standstill, employees were forced to work from home. However, life and work had to continue.

The need to resume business as usual (to whatever extent possible) quickly catapulted many businesses and individuals far forward into the process of digital transformation. Companies and public agencies that were wholly unequipped to handle life in the digital age struggled to quickly integrate and embrace technologies like online payments, scheduling, and many other customer service processes. The companies that already had a foothold in digitalization found themselves well-positioned to battle the storm. One thing became abundantly clear: digitalization is here to stay. And any last holdouts should reconsider their strategies before they fall even further behind.

Now, with the new year approaching, it’s the perfect moment to consider what digital trends we can expect and where it will make the most sense to invest both effort and resources.


Leave it to the Experts: SaaS for CIAM

As Customer Identity and Access Management becomes a best-in-class standard for providing a customized and seamless customer experience and the latest and best in data security and protection, companies will start turning to the experts to find the right solutions. By relying on Software as a Service CIAM tools instead of creating their own solutions, companies will ensure that they don’t overextend their personnel and resources. CIAM providers have the exact know-how and expertise to develop, recommend, and then manage the most suitable CIAM system for customers’ specific needs. Furthermore, turning to a SaaS system will free companies from the burden of maintaining the CIAM system themselves and staying constantly abreast of the latest technological innovations and legal compliance issues that will have to be regularly updated.

All-Round Security: Using IAM to Secure IoT

There are currently no standards for authenticating and managing IoT devices. In smart factories, where smooth processes depend on flawless communication between all devices, this makes designing strong security systems to fend off cyberattacks is exceedingly complicated. Ensuring that devices can communicate while also guaranteeing that they are safe from external third-party access is essential. Though this is manageable with IAM and CIAM solutions, these solutions are individually developed for each factory and by taking each individual device into consideration. This is a time-consuming and cumbersome approach. However, with the anticipated emergence of standards for IoT device authentication and management, we will witness a rapid increase in the integration of CIAM and IAM tools.

Out with the Analog: Digitizing Identity

Though we don’t expect this trend to emerge fully in 2021, we anticipate substantial headway in the development of digital identification technology. With the emergence of electronic ID cards, citizens are able to provide automated proof of identity. This not only facilitates access to public services like filing taxes and healthcare, it also makes it possible for consumers to provide digital identification to open bank accounts, make online purchases, and much more. This eliminates the need for inconvenient identification processes (which often require time-consuming in-person appointments) and saves consumers, public officials, and businesses time and money. However, since eIDs have to accommodate both national regulations and business and governmental office requirements, their rollout will not be immediate.

It’s the Law: Ensuring GDPR Compliance

With the entry into force of the General Data Protection Regulation in May 2018, businesses and government institutions have been given a very clear set of regulations regarding the storing and transmitting of personal data. In 2021, we anticipate that a standardized CIAM solution integrating GDPR solutions will be the norm. This will facilitate consent and data protection management and make it easier for both companies and consumers to determine a suitable level of protection for their data.

Keep it Simple: Streamlined Security Standards

Currently, numerous security solutions are in place to help companies and government agencies authenticate a user’s identity and grant access to data and information without using passwords. In 2021, we anticipate a convergence of these multiple solutions, leaving the three most common standards (FIDO, OpenID Connect, and OAuth 2.0) firmly positioned to serve as the backbone for CIAM systems' structure.

With the lessons learned from adapting to life with Covid-19, it’s no surprise that next year’s trends will revolve around creating the best digital experience. Is your business ready to offer the consistent, reliable, and trustworthy customer experience consumers have come to expect?


Security meets customer experience – the benefits of CIAM