Business outlook: digital as usual

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us many but for corporates one thing is clear: digital operations are no longer a ‘nice to have’. They are a fundamental and critical part of modern business.

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In 2020 there was still scepticism about digitisation in businesses. But COVID-19 taught us you can do things remotely, you can do things electronically. And resourcing systems so they can be agile in a time of heightened change is really, really important.

"We've been talking about data for a long time, but it has never been more important than now.”

The pandemic was a clear inflexion point. Digitisation moved from number four or five on the agenda of many businesses to a clear number one. This occurred all the way from the customer experience side to core treasury functions, intellectual property and product development – even in employee experience as businesses ensured continuity during the crisis. In 2021, we can expect that trend to continue.

For businesses all across the globe, 2021 will be about taking the lessons of 2020 and integrating them into their business as usual operations. The inevitable result of this is a more-digital world.

Part of this change will be the increasing importance of data. Like digital, we've been talking about data for a long time but it has never been more important than now.

In 2021, expect to see an increased use of data and analytics to support corporate decision making with further developments in machine learning and AI to continue to evolve the data proposition

Pushing payments into the future

As ANZ works through its strategic simplification, we have created a joint venture with European-based, global payments specialist Worldline to provide market-leading merchant services and payments solutions for Australian businesses.

The joint venture will build on ANZ’s growing digital and data capability and will combine our traditional, in-house merchant acquiring business with Worldline’s market-leading transactional services and technology.

Australian businesses will have access to everything they need to accept in-store and online payments. They will also have access to Worldline’s specialist expertise and a global payments ecosystem through world-class terminals, solutions and services.

Partnering with a global payments provider means we can combine our banking expertise with Worldline’s leading solutions to offer our Australian customers not only the best merchant services today but also ongoing access to new developments from a global specialist.

You can read more about the partnership here.


The year 2021 will one of surplus liquidity in the market. Given the ongoing low-rate environment, yield is going to be a challenge. How businesses effectively deploy that liquidity is an open question in the New Year.

Additionally, the uncertain environment in the trade business will be an ongoing issue. That's a reflection of broader economic conditions.

In response, many businesses are reviewing their supply chains and thinking differently about how they can support them. I think that will be an exciting thing to see over the next 12 months and into the long term.

Lisa Vasic is Managing Director, Transaction Banking at ANZ Institutional

This article was originally published on ANZ’s Institutional website as part of the Outlook 2021 series

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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