2020 was a tumultuous year in technology. Whether your organization had to quickly shift or simply pulled back operations to grip the wheel, rapid changes were the norm. 2021 is now evolving as the time to solidify investments, overcome obstacles, and propel the organization forward.
For many, this does not necessarily predicate new areas of investment. Rather, areas that have been slow to spark are now higher priority efforts. If the following technology strategy areas were not on your radar, they may quickly jump to the front of the line.
Looking across the industries in which we operate and in speaking to our clients, three key technology trends for 2021 have bubbled to the top. Anywhere operations, security transformation, and digital workforce structuring are all geared around how business can securely and efficiently thrive under the barrage of change.
Tech Trend 1: Anywhere Operations
For many organizations, 2020 laid bare a lack of operational agility that required quick, tactical decision-making to stay afloat in a new work-from-home paradigm. These tactical operational changes will continue in 2021.
On the other hand, some organizations have already begun adopting a more strategic approach to operations as it becomes increasingly clear that remote work is here to stay. Leaders recognize that anywhere operations will allow for a geographically diverse workforce while continuing to safeguard against future unforeseen business disruptions. However, this will require investment in retooling IT staff and infrastructure for greater flexibility, as well as modern, cloud-based collaboration and workplace tools.
Tech Trend 2: Security Transformation
While businesses are eager to reap the benefits of accelerated cloud adoption and a geographically dispersed workforce, they must proportionally increase their focus on security. IT departments accustomed to having physical control over servers and end-user devices, as well as direct access to corporate networks, must now contend with opening up that environment to hundreds or thousands of personal networks and devices outside of their control. This can be a struggle to secure, especially for those that relied heavily on network security devices within their own premises and corporate network.
Rapid security transformation is required to enable anywhere operations safely. Old security models that took a “trust but verify” approach within the security perimeter must be updated to a “zero trust, always verify” approach as the very idea of a security perimeter is blurred. The logical conclusion of a zero-trust approach is that user identity becomes the foundation of the security architecture. Moving to such an identity-based cybersecurity mesh architecture democratizes the process of granting permissions and allows the creation of security perimeters at the user level.
Tech Trend 3: Digital Workforce Structuring
Since transformation is inevitable in 2021, it is natural to reflect on how your workforce is structured and who is best staffed to solve problems. Moving forward, we see established patterns combined with better information, fast feedback loops, and more resource agility leading to a composable business pattern.
Under DevOps practices, IT teams have traditionally been structured vertically and linked to specific business objectives. As these practices have evolved, composable teams adept in delivering similar or almost pre-packaged business capabilities and applications have emerged. When composable teams are combined with quick data discovery and orchestration, the result is an intelligent composable business. At the enterprise level, it is a natural composition of reusable building blocks that we see providing delivery agility.
While an intelligent composable business allows us the fluidity to solve problems, we understand the basic levers, cogs, and chains will still shift from problem to problem. This shifting poses the question of best-fit resource profiles in a transformative business.
As technology becomes more complex, changes faster, and requires more training and experience to master, momentum has built to seek specialized resources. For instance, it is common to add a data scientist to assist a data and analytics team. This fits naturally into the composable model, but you must also ensure that all roles have a passion for new challenges and do not solely focus on a single domain. Our data scientist in the composable model should be able to shift from financial multivariate predictions to univariate pricing optimizations to keep the fluidity and resilience of a packaged capability.
TACKLE THE CHALLENGE
These three areas are simply some of the primary areas of investment we see increasing in priority for technology strategy in 2021. As you consider where you should specifically invest to maximize your technology posture and how you can best equip your company for the future, please visit our strategy offerings or reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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