As every year by now, ICT analysis firm Gartner has released the big technological trends that will stand out next year. This exercise, its leaders say, will be different, being strongly impacted by the global crisis generated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The technologies that will be successful in 2021 will therefore be those that help organizations to be more flexible and have a greater capacity to adapt to the any circumstances.
“The need for operational resilience has never been so great in all functions of the company. they strive to adapt to changing conditions to make up the future business. This requires organizational plasticity that allows dynamic forming and reform. Gartner’s main strategic technology trends for 2021 allow for that plasticity,” said Brian Burke, the firm’s vice president of research.
For Burke and his team, as organizations evolve from being focused solely on responding to the current crisis to driving growth, they will focus on three areas: putting people at the centre, achieving location independence, and providing a strong supply. These are, in particular, Gartner’s nine major technology trends for 2021:
1. The Internet of Behaviours
The so-called Internet of Behaviours emerges, according to the consultant, as many technologies capture and use the data that people generate in their daily lives; data that organizations use to influence human behaviour. What technologies are behind this concept: facial recognition solutions, location tracking, big data, those tools that connect the data that generate certain behaviours such as purchasing or using devices, those that allow monitoring health protocols during the pandemic, etc. Gartner analysts believe that by the end of 2025 more than half of the world’s population will be subject to at least one IoB program, whether commercial or government. The dilemma here will be how to fit these technologies ethically and socially.
2. Towards a total experience
Make possible a user, customer, employee is an issue that is increasing of concern to organizations. If Gartner spoke of ‘multi-experience’ as a major technological trend last year, by 2021 Gartner is evolving into the concept of ‘total experience’. More than that, those organizations that achieve this will “outperform their competitors in the main satisfaction metrics over the next three years,” Burke said.
Consulting analysts believe organizations need a total experience strategy as interactions to become more mobile, virtual, and distributed; a reality to which COVID-19 is also contributing. They also stress the importance of facilitating cross-experiences in order to achieve differentiation in the market.
3. Computing that improves privacy
In a scenario where data legislation is becoming more mature but where the risks of privacy and compliance by organizations are also higher, Gartner believes that it will be a clear trend that computer technology that protects the data in use while maintaining privacy. Its analysts believe that by 2025, half of the large organizations will have implemented data computing and processing solutions that go along this line, especially for activities such as personal data transfer, data monetization, fraud analysis, and other highly sensitive data use cases.
4. Distributed cloud
Within the internet, most cloud service platforms will provide at least some distributed services. More, according to Burke, “the distributed cloud can replace the private cloud and provide cloud environments on the edge and other new use cases for computing with the cloud model. It represents the future of cloud computing.”
But what does this concept of ‘distributed cloud’ specifically mean? It involves the distribution of cloud utilities to different physical locations, while the operation, governance and evolution of cloud services remain the responsibility of the public cloud provider. A model that “provides an agile environment for organizational scenarios with low latency, cost reduction needs, and data residency requirements. It also addresses the need for customers to have cloud computing resources closer to the physical location where data and business is produced,” they described from Gartner.
5. Operations from anywhere
By the end of 2023, 40% of organizations will have conducted operations from anywhere to deliver enhanced virtual and physical experiences for customers and employees. This IT operating model is designed to support customers anywhere and allow employees access to corporate resources from wherever they are. It is a step beyond telework and remote customer service as it includes value-added experiences in collaboration and productivity, secure remote access, cloud and edge infrastructure, quantification of digital expertise, and automation to support remote operations.
6. Cyber security mesh
The pandemic, Burke said, has accelerated the digital enterprise so that now most of the organization’s cyber-activities are outside the traditional physical and logical security perimeters. “As operations continue to evolve, cybersecurity mesh will become the most hands-on approach to ensuring secure access and use of cloud-based applications and distributed data from uncontrolled devices,” he added.
This concept of ‘cybersecurity mesh’ refers to technology that allows anyone to access any digital asset securely, no matter where the asset or person is located. By 2025, they say since the analysis firm, the cybersecurity mesh will support more than half of digital access control requests.
7. Smart and composable business
The pandemic has dynamited those static business processes created for more efficiency. Having intelligent business processes with adaptability and construction is key in today’s era. For this reason, they said from Gartner, technologies that improve decision-making through a rich fabric of data and knowledge will take increasing prominence.
8. Artificial intelligence engineering
DataOps, ModelOps, and DevOps are the engineering pillars of artificial intelligence. A strong strategy in this area will facilitate the performance, scalability, interpretability and reliability of artificial intelligence models, while providing greater value to investments made in this technology, according to Gartner.
They point out from the research firm, an important trend considering that only 53% of artificial intelligence projects go from the prototyping phase to the production phase. And, according to the consultant analysts, “the path to the production of artificial intelligence means resorting to the engineering of this technology, a discipline focused on governance and lifecycle management of a wide range of operating models of these tools, such as machine learning or knowledge graphs.”
9. Hyper automatization
This is the latest big trend for 2021. In Gartner they have it crystalline: “Hyper automatization is now inevitable and irreversible. Everything that can and should be automated will be automated.” A trend that, according to the consultancy, will be further accelerated by the pandemic, which has further driven the requirement that everything be “digital-first”.