Top technology predictions for 2021

Albeit uneventful, the year 2020 is now coming to an end. Considering the unprecedented challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic threw in the way of companies, and despite that businesses continued to function, the learnings derived from the year 2020 are undoubtedly valuable. In the same vein, let us now take a look at industry leaders’ technology predictions for 2021.

Ranga Pothula, MD India Sub-continent and SVP Global delivery services, Infor

Cloud technology will reinvent event experiences.

After the US Open tennis tournament successfully pivoted to cloud and AI this year to enhance the virtual experience for fans who could not attend the physical event, we will see an uptick in physical events leveraging cloud technology to give viewers tailored experiences. With 2021 primed to grip the world’s attention with several major events, such as the Summer Olympics in Tokyo and the Wimbledon Championship, cloud technology is poised to completely reinvent what we know about fan experiences today. The potential for using cloud technology to transform events is enormous — think real-time crowd excitement analysis to optimize highlights and advertisements, extremely low-latency live feeds, and moderated crowd interaction – all hosted on robust cloud platforms.”

Multi-tenant cloud architectures will be the new gold standard.

Using multi-tenant cloud solutions means companies are automatically kept up-to-date with the most cutting-edge technology, without having to worry about manual updates or replacing hardware. As we move into a new year that likely will bring more uncertainty, multi-tenant cloud solutions will become critical technology differentiators, helping businesses remain agile and innovative, while also reducing their e-waste footprints and helping them move closer to their sustainability targets.

Artificial Intelligence: AI will transform the hiring process

In the unpredictable job market of 2021, it will be critical for organizations to leverage AI to ensure they find the right candidate for the job. AI will enable HR departments to become more proactive in their hiring and help them determine a candidate’s cultural fit by using data to measure the quality of a hire. Innovations such as intelligent screening software that automates resume screening, recruiter chatbots that engage candidates in real-time, and digitized interviews that help assess a candidate’s fit, will start becoming commonplace in HR departments. AI also holds great promise for creating more diverse and inclusive workplaces, given its ability to reduce biases and add objectivity into employment decision-making through AI-powered algorithms that will identify the unique qualities of candidates.

AI in healthcare will become mission critical

Over the next year, we will see the accelerated adoption of AI across many areas of healthcare. By applying machine learning to real-time global data sets, healthcare professionals can more accurately track contact between staff and infected patients, enable accurate diagnoses, utilize predictive analytics to track personal protective equipment (PPE), optimize workforce allocations, and develop more effective and lasting vaccinations.

Sri Viswanath, CTO, Atlassian

In the next 5 years, increased data and privacy regulation will have a big impact on the way we design AI/ML models. As a result, investment in data management is going to be critical in determining the success of AI systems. Companies that have better data management frameworks, platforms and systems will win in building effective AI tools.

SaaS companies won’t survive without a strong ecosystem. As the software industry consolidates, ecosystems will be even more important, and security will become a blind spot. The reality is that customers are using services from different providers. In order to succeed, software companies need to make sure that their products will work well with others, and that means building a strong ecosystem. However, as ecosystems scale, vulnerabilities will emerge and go unnoticed. Companies will need to be persistent in providing the highest level of security and privacy controls across the entire ecosystem at all times.

Mike Tria, Head of Platform, Atlassian

Software companies will be held to higher numbers of reliability. In fact, three 9’s as a reliability metric (or 99.9% uptime) will be laughed at in a few years. As companies rely more on cloud services to collaborate remotely, customers will have higher expectations for uptime. Companies that don’t treat reliability as a feature will be left in the dust.

Automation will be inevitable in 2021. As more engineering organizations migrate their infrastructure to the cloud and adopt a microservices architecture, the next challenge they’ll face is figuring out how to manage and keep pace with an unwieldy, distributed system. Whereas, automation has been seen as an emerging tool in the past, it will become essential for survival in 2021.

Joe Garber, Vice President of Strategy, Micro Focus

Digital Transformation Projects Accelerate: Digital transformation (DX) was already a hot topic in boardrooms before the pandemic hit in 2020, with IDC predicting that it would account for more than 50% of all IT spending by 2023.  What many IT executives learned last year, however, is that the gaps to fill in order to evolve were greater than expected, and those who had previously prioritized DX were able to adapt more quickly to evolving market conditions. As a result, our own primary research is indicating that organizations are prioritizing a kick-off of new DX initiatives now, and that many others are accelerating investments they had already planned for 2022 and beyond, so they can help their enterprise run and transform at the same time as soon as possible.  Specific areas of investment are expected to be in security and the better use of AI/machine learning – as cyber resilience and deriving insights from data have been elevated to critical path for organizations expecting to compete in the new economy.

Joe Garber, Vice President of Strategy, Micro Focus

Business Resilience Matters More: The COVID economy was a challenge to overcome for virtually every sector, and the software vertical was no exception. In the last 12 months, countless technology vendors either went out of business or materially altered their R&D promises because they were not financially stable enough to withstand the macro shifts in the market. This left organizations in a lurch, as they not only had to overcome their own internal challenges as they adapted, but also those presented by their technology vendors who changed the playing field on their customers midstream.  The time, cost, and risk implications of these actions are not likely to be forgotten anytime soon.  Vendors that have demonstrated a sound business resilience strategy and have strong cash flows and a solid balance sheet are likely to gain in popularity in 2021 – seizing the limelight, due to a smaller risk profile, from start-ups that have been in vogue over for the past few decades.

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