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2021 Tech Trends: There’s No Turning Back from the Changes of 2020

As we all breathe a collective sigh of relief that 2020 is coming to an end, there is one thing we know for sure heading into 2021. As we emerge from the pandemic, we will not go back to the way things used to be – and that’s not a bad thing.

In 2020, we saw a number of trends that have been percolating for years accelerate because of the pandemic. For example, when stay-at-home orders were issued, even companies that had resisted remote working for years were forced to relent and implement an “anywhere operations” model enabled by the cloud.

Many employers discovered their teams could be even more productive when working from home, especially when they have the right tools and partner with the right cloud provider.

Most companies won’t abandon anywhere operations just because COVID-19 becomes less of a concern. In fact, Gartner predicts that “by the end of 2023, 40 percent of organizations will have applied anywhere operations to deliver optimized and blended virtual and physical customer and employee experiences.”

We also saw an acceleration in the shift to online shopping and the use of grocery delivery, curbside pickup, and other similar services. These aren’t new. Safety concerns simply made the need for these and other technology-driven services more urgent.

When it comes to tech trends, technology is shaped by current business and user trends, but business and user trends are also shaped by emerging technology. That’s certainly the case as we look ahead to 2021.

Here are three technology trends identified by Gartner that we believe are up-and-comers.

The first printing press that featured panels of hand-carved wood blocks is believed to have been invented in China more than 1,000 years ago. Needless to say, humans have been looking for ways to use technology to automate repetitive manual tasks for a long time.

Hyperautomation raises the bar beyond task-based automation to automate entire business processes, using robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence, machine learning, and process mining. In fact, hyperautomation is said to be able to “automate the automation” by discovering business processes and automating them without human intervention.

The goal of hyperautomation is not to replace employees, but to improve productivity and allow people to focus on higher value tasks that require the human element.

Cybersecurity Mesh
Years ago, cybersecurity focused on building a perimeter wall around the physical organization and network with traditional firewalls and anti-virus software. When people started taking laptops and mobile devices on the road, policy-based security was extended to assets outside the organization.

The concept of cybersecurity mesh recognizes that networks have no physical boundaries. Organizations need to build a security perimeter around each individual user, allowing them to securely access assets from any location and device.

In this model, policy enforcement would be performed through a cloud service at the asset itself rather than a device.

Total Experience
We’ve all heard of the customer experience, the employee experience, and the user experience. Total experience (TX) ties all three disciplines together, using different technologies and modes of access.

According to Gartner, TX is being driven in large part by the COVID-19 pandemic as interactions have become more mobile, virtual, and distributed. One of the primary goals of TX is to finally knock down siloes between various groups and disciplines to enable seamless interactions. Gartner predicts organizations that deliver a TX will outperform competitors in key satisfaction metrics during the next three years.

Not surprisingly, the cloud is THE essential component of these and other emerging technology trends. It is the enabler of the ‘anywhere operations’ model.  If you’d like to discuss how to leverage the cloud to improve how your organization functions, contact Ancero today to schedule a consultation.

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