Areas that will see significant innovation in the new year.
Work from Home is the ‘New Norm’
More and more companies are announcing that remote work will be permanent, even when travel restrictions and social distancing will not be. The result: As travel opportunities begin to reopen, millions of employees will turn their new-found remote status into the chance to work from anywhere, relocating outside of urban centers, making up for lost time with family, or participating in remote years and other “workation” opportunities. And because companies have spent the last year investing in technology that enables virtual collaboration — for many of these employees the transition will be seamless and unnoticed by employers.
Many big tech companies like Google and Facebook have extended already their work from home policies through or for parts of 2021. Even smaller companies are keeping this newfound flexibility as an operational option.
In the new world of work from anywhere (WFX), employees must amplify their engagement to find advancement opportunities
One of the drawbacks of remote work is that it’s more difficult to draw attention to what you’re working on day-to-day. In an office setting your attitude, body language, and relationships help drive the way you’re perceived, opening doors for those with genuine enthusiasm and passion for their workplace. But in a remote setting where employees collaborate predominantly with text, such enthusiasm is harder for employees to convey and for employers to identify.
Digital business pivots may become permanent
5G will go Mainstream
Destruction leads to creation and in this case COVID-19 led to the expansion of technology that enabled the individual to do their jobs. 5G promise is not new, however, it wasn’t until remote work, videoconferencing, and digital collaboration became core parts of our lives this year that the need for reliable connectivity and more bandwidth became a real, concrete benefit that we could all wrap our heads around. Our reliance on phones, tablets, and other devices – including an ever-growing number of IoT sensors – highlights the need for the multi-lane superhighway that telecommunications companies already knew we would need. Today, businesses cannot afford to be disconnected, and 5G deployments have become a vital part of the solution. As we collectively continue to work and manage school from our homes, the value of 5G will become increasingly mainstream in 2021.
Since the start of 2020, a vast number of people from all around the world have been working from home. With initial teething issues to re-adjustments of personal lives around the New Norm, technology backed by 5G has already taken off in a number of counties across the world. New applications, platforms, and services are in the market as we speak. Videoconferencing is now not only the next best thing than face to face but it has driven new business models offering multiple opportunities and advancements in technology, connectivity, and communication.
Telehealth and telemedicine flourish
With the promise of 5G becoming a reality, technology and access benefits will be wide-ranging, Example: institutions, especially in health care, are working to lower the exposure of Covid-19 to patients and workers. Many private and public practices have started implementing more telehealth offerings such as doctor-patient video chats, A.I. avatar-based diagnostics, and no-contact-based medication delivery.
Telehealth visits have surged by 50 percent compared with pre-pandemic levels. IHS Technology predicted that 70 million Americans would use telehealth by 2020. Since then, Forrester Research predicted the number of U.S. virtual care visits will reach almost a billion early in 2021.
This will play an important role not only in underdeveloped countries but also in markets like India which still has some way to strengthen its telecommunication and technology infrastructure. The opportunity for leading healthcare organizations will be to partner with governments and the private sector to roll out such programs in these markets.
We have already seen an explosion of Customer Data Platforms (CDP) in the last few months — and with good reason. Fragmented data from multiple sources can be notoriously difficult to organize, which obviously isn’t ideal for companies that rely on timely, well-curated data to operate optimally. IBM estimates that so-called “bad data” already cost U.S. businesses roughly $3 trillion annually, so addressing this challenge has become a priority for organizations of all sizes. CDPs help solve this problem by collecting data from all available sources, organizing it, tagging it, and making it usable for anyone who needs access to it. Companies like Adobe, SAP, Oracle, Treasure Data, and Microsoft are already heavily invested in providing the market with powerful new CDPs.
Data is growing exponentially and that won’t stop anytime soon. Analytics platforms, Data Warehouses, and Visualization tools, from Cloudera to Snowflake to SAS won’t lose relevancy, but the rise of the customer data platform is going to catch fire in 2021; and now that business operations have become somewhat more fragmented, in part because of new work-from-home operational models, but also because of the continuing acceleration of data collection across an ever-expanding ecosystem of touchpoints, CDPs will become especially relevant in 2021.
Hybrid Cloud Enterprise Architecture
We have known for a while that businesses are increasingly moving toward a hybrid cloud infrastructure. From SaaS applications and on-prem solutions to a mix of public and private clouds, hybrid cloud strategies help organizations strike the right balance for their unique cloud infrastructure needs. Over the past year, we have seen major investments in hybrid from large public cloud providers like AWS, Azure, Google, IBM, and Oracle. We are also seeing OEMs like HPE, Dell (VMware), and Cisco increasing investment in building tools that enable simpler connectivity between on-premises datacenters and the cloud. These investments are all about meeting the customer where they are at the moment. Addressing the challenges of exponential data growth, while also being proactive on issues like privacy, security, and compliance.
The modernized approach to hybrid cloud is expanding from traditional IT to support industrial applications as well. For instance, Honeywell has built its Forge IoT platform using an open-source and hybrid cloud approach so the industrial data it manages can more seamlessly integrate with traditional cloud data centers, applications, and workloads. The widespread, sudden disruptions caused by the coronavirus have highlighted the value of having as agile and adaptable a cloud infrastructure as you can—especially as we are seeing companies around the world expedite investments in the cloud to enable faster change in moments of uncertainty and disruption like we faced in 2020.
Automation is top of mind to enable innovation. Per Salesforce, 81% of IT organizations will automate more tasks to allow team members to focus on innovation over the next 12 months to 18 months. McKinsey notes 57% of organizations say they are at least piloting automation of processes in one or more business units or functions. MuleSoft research found 30% of IT decision-makers say that automation is a key business initiative tied to digital transformation.
McKinsey estimates that automation could raise productivity in the global economy by up to 1.4% annually. Salesforce finds that 70% of service agents believe automating routine tasks would allow them to focus on higher-value work. The PwC Finance Effectiveness Benchmarking report finds that up to 40% of the time in the finance function can be reduced with automation and behavior change.
Companies across industries are experimenting with automation. Across all industries, 60% of the line of business users agree that an inability to connect systems, applications and data hinders automation initiatives. One solution to reduce automation complexity is a better use of APIs. The research notes: “APIs are key to driving automation APIs have emerged as the most elegant means of scaling controlled access to a defined scope of data or functionality, abstracting the complexities of the underlying systems.”
“In 2021, we’ll see more and more systems be intent-based, and see a new programming model take hold: a declarative one. In this model, we declare an intent – a desired goal or end state – and the software systems connected via APIs in an application network autonomously figure out how to simply make it so.” – Uri Sarid, CTO, MuleSoft
Micromobility & Microservices
According to MuleSoft: “Microservices expose data and functionality as a collection of loosely coupled services. With microservices, organizations can quickly adapt to changing customer requests and demands, as well as offer services that create a competitive edge.” Ninety-one percent of organizations are using or plan to use microservices. Per Gartner, 65% of Financial services CIOs plan to increase spending on infrastructure technologies, such as microservices, APIs, and cloud in the coming year.
Microservices adoption is increasing across industries. The research highlights several companies in multiple industries with tangible ROI as a result of microservice implementations. According to Gartner*, companies deploying microservices to production will require some form of service mesh capabilities to scale. A service mesh is an architectural pattern for microservices deployments. Its primary goal is to make service-to-service communications secure, fast, and reliable. A service mesh is still a new technology, but 46% of organizations are piloting it or have plans to evaluate or implement it in the next 12 months.
Micromobility serves the same purpose as microservices but with the last mile focus. The transportation industry in the ‘migration of application stack graph’ shows the potential of micromobility with 67% adoption rate and this is reflected by online businesses agility.
The Coronavirus epidemic has changed both the trajectory and the velocity of digital transformation, and will likely continue to do so into 2021. The trend lines and new priorities facing organizations of all sizes that we observed in 2020 will inform the focus, decisions, and technology investments that drive the list of digital transformation strategies that will define 2021, and hopefully the recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic. Technology development in 2021 will be somewhat of a continuation of 2020, but the influence of Covid-19 will evolve during the year. Many of our new behaviors will become part of the new normal in 2021, helping drive major technological and business innovations.
At Integet we are ready to take this challenge and see it as an exciting opportunity for us and our clients. Over the year, we have been working with numerous small to medium-sized businesses to develop their D2C (Direct to consumer) strategies and roadmap helping them transition from traditional to online business. We have launched a new service called 3dplus.io to offer high-quality 3d modeling and rendering services aimed at the E-commerce business offering an alternative to photography. Or to businesses who may be limited and restricted to travel for production work, plus is it a fraction of a cost to photography. 2021 will be the year of transformation that sticks.