As we head into 2021, the events of 2020 have challenged and stressed businesses in unprecedented ways due to Covid-19 and other geopolitical activity. Brian McLaughlin, Global Chief Experience Officer for Bottomline, provides insight into how user experience and innovation brings together advancements in technologies and the demands of evolving business needs. 

When we look at top trends each year, much of the focus is on technology and platform advancements as well as the evolution of business needs. This progression means that on one end of the spectrum we have technologies that the most end users are unaware of (and they don’t need to be aware of) and on the other end of the spectrum we have companies looking to evolve their businesses. Much of the space between those two ends of the spectrum consists of people interacting with solutions in order to deliver on the business strategies. This range could include a developer swimming their way through a sea of API options, an account payable person sitting down to work through thousands of payment requests, or a C-level executive looking to insight into the health of the business as quickly as possible.

As technologies and businesses evolve and grow each year, so does the way we humans interact with the digital world around us.

This continuous digital shift brings us to the 2021 top trends in User Experience and Innovation. 

Data Experiences – Deriving value out of data can be like finding the right needle in the stack of needles. At first glance, all the needles may look alike, but upon closer inspection, needles come in a variety of shapes and sizes specific to the task at hand. When it comes to data, it is very difficult to quickly gain insights and value: What is the right data for the job to be done? How can someone that is not a data scientist or trained analyst value from the power of data? In other words, how do I find the right needle in the stack of needles?

2021 will bring a strong focus on creating experiences that help non-experts quickly gain value out of large volumes of complex data. These data experiences will not just be more brightly colored pie charts and line graphs in boxes lined-up on a screen. We will see the art and science of data user experience cast new light on the insights currently hidden in the piles of data at our fingertips.

Integrated intelligence – Continuing on the topic of data experiences, we will see the intelligence surfaced from data experiences become seamlessly integrated into entire applications. Intelligence will no longer be kept under a mysterious “Analytics” menu tab, sitting in a complicated pivot filled spreadsheet on someone’s computer, or in those random colorful pie charts. 

As we move into next year, we’re likely to see the intelligence pulled from data, and the value of data experiences will seamlessly integrate throughout entire solutions. This transparent integration will ensure that those insights are available where users need them, and when they need them.

Advanced Personalization – Personalization has been on ‘top trends’ lists for several years. And over the years a base level of personalization has made it into our everyday lives. It takes the form of being offered information, goods or services based on our online behavior and previous purchases. 

Advanced personalization is moving beyond the barrier of “if you liked this, you might like that”. Instead, it is providing solutions that get to know a person and then act as they know them which enables the individual to accomplish their goals faster and with better results.  Advanced personalization is having a system learn how an individual completes a complex task today and then supports, automates, or alters that workflow to create a better outcome for that individual. Each person has unique ways of interpreting information and solving problems. Advanced personalization will support and enhance those qualities.

Without doubt, I expect we’ll begin to see more Data Experience, Integrated Intelligence, and Advanced Personalization in the payments space to help businesses leverage insights from payments – insights that will help them to manage and grow their business better.