Important IT trends in 2021 impacting companies' data, employees, customers and partners
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Important IT trends in 2021 impacting companies' data, employees, customers and partners

Important IT trends in 2021 impacting companies' data, employees, customers and partners

2020 was a COVID-19 induced call for businesses to digitize and do so quickly, but the rush to do so has left gaping holes that require fixing.

  • 82% believe they need quick and easy access to data, IT systems, and applications to do their jobs effectively
  • AR and VR startups will mushroom in the coming year
  • We’re going to need elastic waistbands, shorter commutes, wider airplane seats, flexible hours, and less business travel in general

2020 was a COVID-19 induced call for businesses to digitize and to so quickly, but the rush to do so has left gaping holes. 

The COVID-19 pandemic led to an increase in digital initiatives by an average of 11-23%, according to a McKinsey finding.

Vaccines will eventually pave the way for a new hybrid normal, but to cure the ills of the new digital economy, a few things have to be done or undone.

Read: Editor's Picks: 6 important tech stories you should read before 2021

IT innovation report 

MuleSoft, a provider of integration and API platforms, announced the findings of The State of Business and IT Innovation report. The global survey revealed that only 37% of organizations definitely had the skills and technology to keep pace with digital projects during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some 82% believe they need quick and easy access to data, IT systems, and applications to do their jobs effectively and remain productive. 

Access to data is critical in identifying, suggesting, or creating new ways to improve the delivery of digital services externally, such as building an online self-service portal or a customer-facing mobile application. 

Yet only 29% think their organization is very effective in connecting and using data from multiple sources to drive business value.

According to McKinsey, businesses that once mapped digital strategy in 1 to 3-year phases must now scale their initiatives in a matter of days or weeks. 

But 58% of employees think IT leaders are spending more of their time “keeping the lights on” rather than supporting innovation, the same survey said. 

Some 44% go as far as to say they think their organization’s IT department is a blocker on innovation.  Aaron White

Finally, 68% of respondents think that IT and employees should come together to jointly drive innovation in their organization.

2021 Technology Predictions from Nutanix

Aaron White, Regional Sales Director, Middle East at Nutanix said 2021 will see the biggest rise of AI/ML in the history of healthcare as humankind grapples with the current pandemic. 

“We will blur the lines between computing and biotech for high-velocity advancements in the field of virology. This coming year, cloud computing will gain rapid ground in pharma companies to further enhance collaboration between competing firms sharing information and knowledge to expedite drug discovery,” White said. 

“2021 will continue the phenomenon of miniaturization of the enterprise office and the firewall as the remote worker logs in from home.” 

White added that video, AR, and VR startups will mushroom in the coming year as the enterprise responds to an increasingly assertive digital worker.

He opined that mobile-powered e-commerce will continue to make giant strides in 2021 with the remote consumer making distribution centers, factories (and cloud kitchens), and warehouses extremely mission-critical computing environments with cloud-like reliability, availability, security, elasticity, and performance requirements in server rooms and ROBO computing closets. 

For her part, Wendy Pfeiffer, CIO at Nutanix revealed that as some geographies, sectors, and populations return to in-person interactions, others will remain online.  

“To accommodate this prolonged period of blended consumer and corporate life, society will increasingly rely on hybrid and hyperconverged technologies. These are technologies that allow people and companies to efficiently share resources and capabilities in both their private and public endeavors,” Pfeiffer said.

“We’re going to need elastic waistbands, shorter commutes, wider airplane seats, flexible hours, and less business travel in general. And when we do go into offices or schools in person, we’ll need more privacy, space, and breaks than before.”

Read: These 4 companies won 2020, proving that the tech sector was among the least affected by COVID-19

As for Rajiv Mirani, CTO at Nutanix, he said the trend towards moving applications to the public cloud will continue. 

“However, the cost of refactoring and rewriting applications will be larger than many enterprises anticipaRajiv Miranited. Enterprises will look to technologies that enable phased refactoring, rather than “big-bang” projects,” Mirani said.

“Augmented Reality will become more mainstream in the consumer space. New products incorporating AR into business software will emerge. AI will continue to grow in analyzing business data and in predictive analytics. However, it will remain a tool to guide decision making rather than being fully autonomous.”

Finally, Tonya Chin, SVP Corporate Marketing and IR, and Chief Communications Officer at Nutanix offered that Zoom fatigue is real and it’s not going away any time soon. 

“As we enter 2021, it is now imperative for companies to start developing a deeper strategy for meaningful engagement with employees who work remotely,” Chin opined. 

“From providing guidance on effective meeting management to segmenting employee communication that ensures personalization, to setting up all-hands company meetings in multiple time zones to facilitate direct engagement with executives across the globe, 2021 is going to be the year of communicating creatively with employees.”

As for customer engagement and investor relations, Chin said B2B companies have long focused on in-person events to ensure they kept their customers and investors engaged, but that it all changed in 2020. 

“When all events became virtual earlier this year, the focus was often on optimizing for lead generation. But now we know better and I expect more and more companies will put more focus on maximizing customer engagement in the year ahead,” Chin expected. 

“While I expect in-person investor meetings to resume once COVID is under control, I also believe we’ll be moving to a model where 80% of interactions are remote and 20% are in person. This will mean rethinking how to effectively engage with investors, but I also expect it will result in the 'democratization' of investor relations.”  

Author
Hadi Khatib

Hadi Khatib is a business editor with more than 15 years' experience delivering news and copy of relevance to a wide range of audiences. If newsworthy and actionable, you will find this editor interested in hearing about your sector developments and writing about it. [email protected]

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