As the Nobel prize winning physicist Niels Bohr once said, “Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.” If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that circumstances can swiftly change in unexpected ways, impossible to predict. As we reflect on a turbulent year and look ahead to a post-pandemic scenario, there are several fundamental technologies and working practices we foresee will become even more important in 2021.
Cloud managed services will be dominant
One area which will continue to grow exponentially in 2021 is cloud-based services. The pandemic acted as a catalyst for cloud adoption. Companies are accelerating the rollout of cloud-based collaboration tools, increasing their business resilience, and adopting a more agile infrastructure that allows them to scale up or down according to customer needs. Indeed, IDC, states that by the end of 2021, most businesses will have a process in place to speed up the move to cloud-centric digital infrastructure twice as fast as before the pandemic. However, businesses may struggle to manage this accelerated move to the cloud with existing resource and will instead turn to Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to help coordinate their new environments.
An MSP can help manage the costs of a business’ cloud environment, create adaptable and flexible architecture to run workloads in the most efficient manner and ensure technologies are in place to build long term resilience and tackle future uncertainty, no matter what the next global crisis may bring.
Security is key
As a growing number of organisations move to the cloud, they will also look to invest in enhanced security capabilities. We have seen a significant increase in cybersecurity risks over recent months. As workforces pivoted to remote working due to the pandemic, there has been an increase in untrusted devices and networks accessing critical business data. Organisations are faced with a lack of resources and internal knowledge on what security approach to take. Indeed, there are over 4 million unfilled positions in the cybersecurity space.
As businesses continue to work remotely, we can expect to see a surge in demand for security managed services. Not only do MSPs have the skills to help businesses secure their environments, but they also have the technologies to deploy predictive security models to identify where the next threat will come from and how a malicious actor is planning to attack a system.
Hyper automation will drive efficiency
In addition to investing more in cybersecurity and secure perimeters, businesses are also adopting hyper automation tools to reduce operational costs and increase efficiency. This was a top strategic trend for 2020 but has evolved and will undoubtedly continue in 2021. The global lockdown demonstrated the vulnerabilities in supply chains and workflow. Those organisations who had a robust, agile infrastructure supported by automation have fared better than those without. McKinsey has forecast that at least 30% of work activities will be automated by 2030.
Adding to McKinsey’s prediction, Gartner anticipates an increase in automation technologies deployed at scale and increased use of workflow automation and robotics – otherwise known as hyper automation. Robotics will play an increasingly significant role as businesses move from automating repetitive mundane tasks and processes to elevated level business processes. Automation at scale will help businesses to carry out their responsibilities in a much shorter period as well as supporting business continuity in preparation for any further disruption.
Historically, chaos breeds innovation and we experienced this in 2020. Despite the turbulence brought in by the pandemic, the tech industry supported businesses in surviving and digital transformation has accelerated years ahead. This acceleration shows no signs of slowing down. 2021, and the years ahead will truly be an exciting time for the tech industry.