Digital Journal: What are likely to be the biggest stories surrounding your industry in 2021?
Richard Barnett: The acceleration towards digital self-service and further democratization of business-to-business e-commerce in industry will continue. This shift was highly accelerated during 2020 as major industry events were canceled or moved to a virtual format. In 2021, we will see increased focus on digital transformation of the industry, with a renewed focus on customer experience and also customer intelligence. Leading electronics distributors and component suppliers will also develop new centralized inside sales organizations. These will potentially merge customer order support, lead generation, and opportunity management.
DJ: What trends will emerge in 2021?
Barnett: The need for more customer intelligence will drive broader adoption in B2B of CX platforms, those that truly provide for a “Customer 360” view for design engineers and procurement professionals at customers and new prospects. Many firms have invested in audience management, Internet analytics, and other systems to track customer engagement digitally (the so-termed digital footprint) across web site properties and in relation to digital campaigns.
DJ: What will surprise us in 2021?
Barnett: The chase to own the entirety of customer’s bill of materials drives the need for new mergers and aquisitions. I could see a semiconductor manufacturer acquiring a strategic partner in the IP&E (interconnect, passive and electromechanical) space — providing customers with a single-stop experience for their design needs.
DJ: What role can your technology play in 2021?
Barnett: We can provide customers with the ecosystem view of customer activity, that they wouldn’t otherwise see on their own website. We provide design engineers and procurement professionals a trust, non-biased option to quickly find information they need and make informed decisions, to help them get to market faster with their products.