Trends in 2021 That Affect How We Work

There have been world changing events in 2020, and no one had foreseen the extent to which these events would affect key aspects of our lives. These events have redefined our relationship with technology from the internet, to cloud computing, to how we use technology in our daily lives.

The year 2021 offers greater optimism. According to consulting firm Makinsey & Co., today more than half the businesses expect 2021 to be a better year than 2020 compared to only one quarter of businesses back in March of 2020 who expected the same. A marked improvement in sentiment!

As a result of these events, today, most people can work from anywhere, rely on online shopping, use remote medicine, and meet and interact with others through technology. As a result, many technology trends have accelerated, with cloud computing being the main enabler of these trends. The move to cloud computing will only accelerate in 2021 as companies continue to move applications and services to the cloud.

The increased reliance on the cloud will necessitate the providers to innovate in order to create new business models, partner with vendor organizations to meet the varying needs of their customers, and increase the ease with which their customers can lift and shift their workloads to the cloud. Cloud computing will also increase the need and reliance on other technology trends including responsible AI, process automation, 5G connectivity and ‘as a service’ solutions. These trends will drive new innovations in cloud usage and availability.

Gartner predicts that customer experiences, employee experiences and user experiences will mesh into a “total experience” and experiences will no longer exist in silos. As more human activity moves online, Forrester predicts that companies will move more rapidly from automating tasks to automating end-to-end processes to gain resilience and efficiency.

Companies will continue to deal with the challenges of cybersecurity and privacy as the rapid move to the distributed cloud services continues. Tools such as AI are evolving rapidly to support cybersecurity efforts.

In aggregate, businesses and business units must continue to ask if they are still relevant in this age of rapid change. As Peter Drucker asked: “would we enter this business today if we weren’t in it already?” Businesses must continue to use the tangible intangible assets at their disposal, especially their human capital, to gain competitive advantage.

Author Matt Dixon said: “Companies must ask if they are underestimating their customer’s journey”. Companies must also ask if they really understand the customer’s pain-points in purchasing, adopting, and applying the new services.

Finally, leaders must ask themselves that in this new world of rapid change, how do they stay inspired and how can they inspire and motivate their people achieve their full potential. “How can we become more high-tech, but still be high touch?” asked the Author James Champy.

2021 will be an interesting and promising year. There will likely be new and unexpected challenges and organizations that motivate and encourage their people to take accountability, learn and innovate will do well.

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