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Year 2021: Digital to be the core across all business considerations

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By Sridhar Mantha, Exec. Vice President & CTO, Happiest Minds Technologies

The pandemic has highlighted the influence and importance of technology in business like never before. From enabling mass scale migration, to facilitating business as usual via work from home (WFH) and virtual collaboration, to being at the forefront of path-breaking innovations, technology has proven its portrayal as a savior in multiple ways.

As we set into the new year, upbeat, here are the top trends that will dominate the wave in 2021.

Frontier Technologies
The rise of digital technology in the business ecosystem has hitherto altered the way goods, services and ideas are exchanged,making its presence evident. The ensuing year will witness the next leap of advancement with frontier technologies such as blockchain, robotics and drones, and artificial intelligence, penetrating further into the overall scheme of things.

For instance, in the current pandemic era, we have noticed a rising uptake for blockchain not only by players in the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) industry who have been early adopters of the technology, but also by players within the healthcare industry who are leveraging its use to safeguard critical information such as patient records and drug-formulation-related data.

The new year will see the adoption of frontier technologies and applications intensifying, with Edtech and other sectors too leveraging these technologies to protect their study material and academic transcript copyrights, and more. Also, newer use cases have emerged due to pandemic that will accelerate growth in technologies like drones & AI. For instance, using drones combined with computer vision & AI on low powered devices to create surveillance drones that can monitor gathering of people in public places, traffic patterns etc.

Operations from Anywhere
The pre-pandemic world focused on offering anytime-anywhere access to customers. However, now, the business world has realized that not just customers but employees too need similar access to their technology infrastructure.

Changes in technology infrastructure, management practices, and security and governance policies are required to provide a truly digital experience. A “digital first, remote first” mindset will help businesses transition smoothly toward the operations-from-anywhere work environment. Companies need to build the right foundation to facilitate collaboration and productivity through cloud and edge infrastructure, and automate processes to support remote operations.

Cybersecurity in the Post-COVID World
At a time when most assets and devices are located outside the traditional physical and logical security parameters, the WFH mode has taken a heavy toll on businesses’ cybersecurity considerations. Though organizations are progressively embracing the latest in technology and building capabilities around data theft protection, fending off phishing attacks, identity theft protection and so on, the likelihood of breaches has also increased.

The situation requires organizations to deploy a security model that retains the flexibility necessary to operate in the current conditions, and at the same time, also ensures zero hindrance to the company’s growth while offering security.

Hyper Automation
Business leaders are demanding digital operational excellence. Unfortunately,they continue to use outdated technologies, processes, data models, architecture, and security implementations, and this hinders digital acceleration. COVID-19 has amplified business- and technology-related challenges further, pushing organizations to rapidly enable more remote, digital-first options.

Hyperautomation offers the solution, making both digital operational excellence and operational resiliency possible for organizations across sectors. To implement hyperautomation, organizations should invest in the digitization of their artifacts and should also ensure their business and IT process workflows across functional areas are digital.

Distributed Cloud
Public cloud providers maintain, operate and evolve their services at different physical locations based on the point of need. Distributed cloud service providers,with geographically dispersed infrastructure,help enterprises reduce latency, network congestion, and risk of data loss.Their solutions also enable compliance with privacy regulations that require certain sets of data to remain in a specific geographical location. Customers are able to enjoy all benefits of the public cloud while avoiding costly and complicated private cloud solutions.

The distributed cloud may include an on-premise public cloud, Internet of Things (IoT) edge cloud,and/or5G mobile edge cloud, with each offering distinct advantages while addressingvarious business and technological challenges.

End-to-end Experience
Gartner expects enterprises that offer a total experience to perform better than competitors across key satisfaction metrics over the next three years.End-to-end experience transformation of all stakeholders—internal as well as external—will enable organizations to embrace and rise above the challenges created by COVID-19 and identify new activities that they can integrate and build on. This will include the integration of multiple siloed experiences such as customer experience, employee experience and user experience to gain a competitive edge. For instance, industrial organizations are using augmented reality (AR) applications to provide remote field support and virtual reality (VR) applications to provide a disassembled view of equipment as part of training.

The new year will require business leaders and decision-makers to learn to accelerate digital adoption and manage uncertainty better. As enterprises venture into 2021, looking at changing the way they do business in the post-pandemic world, it is clear that “Digital”will form the core of all their strategies and business considerations.

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