Trends of the Past Decade

Chris Lamoureux / Jan 15, 2020

As 2019 has come to an end, not only do we close the chapter on the year; but also a decade. Normally we would present the trends for the coming year but to mark the end of the decade, we want to look back at the trends that have had a major impact over the last 10 years.

Cyber Security

It is hard to imagine a time when data protection and cybersecurity weren’t at the top of everyone’s mind; including customers. However, this is only a recent, major  concern for the general public. A few key events that made international news, highlight these concerns. The NSA surveillance leaked by Edward Snowden, leaked information of millions of people and slow response by Equifax, and the depth of data points that are tracked by Facebook and used by Cambridge Analytica. The Cybersecurity market has grown more than 30x in 13 years.

Regulation & Compliance

It has been just 10 years since the great financial crisis and its aftermath which led us into an environment that has been characterised by enhanced regulatory and compliance requirements.

According to BBVA research, an estimate for financial institutions is now around 10-15% of total workforce dedicated to governance, risk management and compliance.

Due to these  regulations, the costs  and an increased desire to use automation to help companies stay compliant, this has created a whole new software offering called “RegTech.” These solutions make it easier for organizations to carry out regulator monitoring and reporting. One research report predicts that the global RegTech market will grow from $4.3 billion in 2018 to $12.3 billion by 2023, while another report predicted that the spending on RegTech would reach $76bn by 2022.

Cloud Computing

While Cloud technology has been around since the early 2000s, the lack of education and trust meant that many organizations were reluctant to move from an on-prem to in the cloud deployment model. The rapid adoption in recent years has fueled an increased understanding of the technology’s “ ease of use and scalability “.

With more organizations understanding the benefits of cloud computing and with negative perceptions fading away, many companies are opting to test workloads in the cloud and some even migrating everything to the cloud. IDC claims that by 2020, cloud-based IT spending will reach 60% of all spending on IT infrastructure and 60-70% of all software, services and technology spending.

With more organizations understanding the benefits of cloud computing and with negative perceptions fading away, many companies are opting to test workloads in the cloud and some even migrating everything to the cloud.

Client Experience

The saying “the customer is always right” predates the last decade, however, we have seen a lot of disruption and thought being put into the customer and their journey’s with the enterprise. Netflix, Amazon, Uber; these are some of the companies who have changed the standard for the level of service/experience delivered to customers and as a result, customer expectations. These expectations are not only for like-for-like competitors but for all companies that customers interact with. Not only has companies shifted focus but technologies have changed as well. For example, portals and portal technologies are now built to focus on the user experience and are now digital experience platforms.

The new standard is to heavily prioritize research and thought into the Client Experience and rethink client interaction, consumption and engagement.

Employee Empowerment

Over the last decade, we have been in a period of tremendous economic growth. A result of this is all time low unemployment rates. In the USA, unemployment rates were 3.6% as of April 2019. Additionally, we are in the middle of a generation shift of the working class, from the Baby Boomers to Gen X, Millennials, even some of Gen Z are entering the workforce. Not only are the values different between these generations but a new labor market has been created called the “Gig Economy”.

The combination of the low unemployment rates and cultural differences between generations has created a larger focus on employee engagement. Using corporate culture, social responsibility, flexible/comfortable work environment, and technology in efforts to attract and retain top talent. While actions were being taken to improve the client experience, employees were suffering with outdated technology. Organizations are now taking the steps to look at how to enhance the experience an employee day-to-day. When these investments are made correctly, it not only improves retention but productivity and output as well.

Digital Marketing 

Marketing strategies always see large shifts across many decades. Where marketing was previously focused on traditional channels like TV, Print, Radio. We have seen new digital channels grow like online ads, social media, podcasts, online video, live streaming, influencer marketing, etc and become primary channels vs. secondary?. The cost of marketing has decreased significantly, resulting in increased noise. However, marketers are able to collect extensive data on visitors and their behaviours. This large amount of data enables companies to provide personalized experience and content to help differentiate themselves. The desired outcomes of marketing has also changed. Where once only sales metrics were the objectives, brand awareness, and virality are also key objectives that companies strive for with their marketing.

The Power of Data

We are entering an age where territory and oil are no longer the most important commodity, data is the new gold. By this measure, massive technology companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, have the wealth and power similar to national governments. With organizations and devices capturing data, what is the outcome? While there can be public scrutiny over how this data is used and protected, it has lead to major technological advancements like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Personalization and new roles such as Data Scientists.  Artificial intelligence has come into the mainstream because it allows us to make sense of an increasingly large amount of data in real time. Indeed, worldwide data will grow 61% to 175 zettabytes by 2025. (Source: IDC)

…major technological advancements like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Personalization and new roles such as Data Scientists.

An App for Everything

While Facebook and Twitter were released pre-2010, they blew up in popularity and also released mobile application versions of their platform. Additionally, there was the launch of many other social platforms: Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, WeChat, FaceTime, Tinder. Apps were even launched and shut down within the last decade such as: Google Plus and Vine.

Whether you have to travel, buy groceries, order food, communicate, or perform a banking transaction, there is an app for everything. There are around 7 million apps in both Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store.

This trend has had a major impact on technology and businesses. Applications aren’t simply time wasters on our phones, they have been one of the catalysts for changing the world. Whether it is communication, user experience, entertainment, access to information, and more.

Explosion of Connectivity

A continuation of the previous trend is the proliferation of smartphones and increased access to the internet. In 2010, the rollout of 4G networks began, and the result has been an advanced computer in everyone’s pocket. Our smartphones have a GPS, advanced media capability, access to cloud computing, vitally unlimited storage and an endless stream of apps. This saturation of connected smartphones gave rise to new and disruptive approaches to business. Companies now have the capabilities of knowing who someone is, where they are, what they want to do, and how they might pay for it has created new business strategies.

Our being always plugged in does not end with smartphones. We now have the “Internet of Things” (IOT). This is the interconnection via the Internet of devices embedded in everyday objects. From smart lights, wearables, home assistants, thermostats, door bells, and more.


Payments is an area we have seen a lot of changes in the last decade. How often do you use cash today compared to 2010? Did you used to visit the ATM on a weekly basis; and now do you even go once a month? According to a 2018 RBR report, ATM installations fell 1% worldwide, impacted by brand closures and the rise in popularity of mobile payments. With advancements in payment security and smartphone technology like NFC and 4G,  this has enabled the creation of virtual wallets.

In Canada, the main difference between 2010 and 2020 is the remarkable transition away from paper-based payments to electronic payments. In total, electronic payments transactions accounted for ~80 per cent of the total payments volume and >~60 per cent of the total payments value. Since the early 2010’s, electronic payments volume has captured an additional 18 per cent of the total payments market volume, annually. This can be largely attributed to the increased adoption of emerging payment channels, including contactless, e-commerce and P2P payments, that Canadians find great convenience in.

What’s Instore For The Next Decade

We have seen a number of industries get disrupted between 2010-2019. Transportation by Uber, Hotels by AirBnb, Blockbuster by Netflix, Retail by Amazon, the list goes on. This will continue into the next decade. Massive industries and experiences will be reimagined. Additionally, we have entered the 4th Industrial Revolution. The fourth Industrial Revolution refers to the fusion of technologies in the physical, digital and biological/human domains. Fusion that is leading to the creation of new technologies that will usher in a new industrial era characterized by exponential growth, inter – connectedness, increased human productivity and the blurring of the lines between man and machine.