Technological trends for 2021

FitMech [EN]
6 min readMar 4, 2021

The most important research centers, such as Gartner, Forrester Research and IDC, have already published their forecasts for the next 12 months. What technology trends will dominate in 2021?

This year has been marked by the COVID-19 pandemic. The largest analytical companies, which due to the current time, are cautious in planning the next 12 months, are also openly talking about it. Nevertheless, according to IDC experts, business will continue to move towards its “digital destiny” — digitization of services and products that underpins many operating models.

IDC: IT spending to reach $ 6.8 trillion by 2023

The IDC predicts that by 2022, two-thirds of the world’s GDP will come from digital products and services, and IT spending in 2020–2023 will be $ 6.8 trillion.

The company’s experts estimate that the nearest future will be dominated by 10 key trends. Some of them can be observed in the coming year, but most of them concern a longer, several-year perspective.

Source: IDC FutureScape: Worldwide IT Industry 2021 Top 10 Predictions
  1. Move to the cloud faster. According to IDC experts, by the end of 2021, 80% of enterprises will introduce solutions that will enable the transfer of IT infrastructure and applications to the cloud in two times less time than before the pandemic. This process is designed to help increase the digital resilience of organizations.
  2. Edge computing. By 2023, the change in operating models caused by the pandemic and the increase in the number of remote employees will make as many as 80% of organizations intend to invest in data processing technologies at the network edge, which in turn may affect the implementation of new, cloud-oriented edge solutions network.
  3. The smart digital workplace. By 2023, 75% of G2000 organizations will introduce the so-called digital parity: it will ensure that its remote employees are equipped with the same set of communication tools and technologies that are used by office workers.
  4. Technological debt incurred as a result of the pandemic. By 2023, as many as 70% of IT executives will have to deal with the technological debt that is caused by the need to introduce new IT solutions overnight. After the outbreak of the epidemic, such decisions helped to solve the most urgent problems of the organization, but in the long run, they may generate problems, such as insufficient efficiency, lack of flexibility or scalability. Therefore, it may be necessary to update or replace obsolete elements of the IT infrastructure.
  5. Resilience in the new reality. Enterprises striving to be leaders in their industries must be able to quickly adapt to unforeseen situations. This includes on the use of digital technology to maintain the continuity of business operations. According to IDC, by 2022 organizations seeking digital resilience will respond 50% faster to such factors than companies that primarily want to restore their current level of resilience to unforeseen events.
  6. Autonomous IT. By 2023, the foundation of all IT and business automation initiatives will be a cloud-based real-time asset management and analytics ecosystem. However, according to IDC experts, this will require advanced integration of analytical systems based on artificial intelligence and machine learning, automation based on precise policies, and a wider use of low code platforms and serverless technologies.
  7. The expansion of artificial intelligence. One in four of the world’s largest listed companies will acquire at least one software start-up by 2023 — in order to expand its portfolio with AI-based products.
  8. Review of the relationship. By 2024, 80% of businesses will review vendor and partner contracts to improve their digital strategies. This assessment will be critical to the long-term success of the organization in an environment where the IT ecosystem is undergoing a fundamental transformation.
  9. Sustainable development. According to IDC, 90% of G2000 companies will require reusable materials in their IT supply chains by 2025, and equipment suppliers will be expected to introduce carbon neutrality in manufacturing facilities.
  10. Talent shortage. By 2023, every second business automation or hybrid work model implementation project will be delayed or will not take effect due to insufficient investment in DevSecOps team development. To address the shortage of developers and data analytics specialists, companies will turn to towards crowdsourcing.

Gartner: Demand for virtual services is growing

Gartner analysts forecast that IT spending will decline in all market segments, but next year spending on enterprise software should return to its previous state the fastest. Compared to this year, it is to increase by 7.2%. This will be due to the progressive digitization of enterprises, the need to support people who decide to set up a home office, and the growing demand for virtual services.
In Gartner’s predictions, 9 most important technological trends for the next year appear. Among them, the organization’s experts mention:

  • derived from the IoT Internet of Behavior, which is based on three areas: technology, data analysis and behavioral science. IoB can collect, combine and process data from many sources, and then influence consumer behavior.
  • Total experience, which combines, among others experience of customers, employees and users and is an opportunity for the organization to stand out from the competition. Its goal is to improve the overall experience where all these elements intersect, from technology to employees to customers and users.
  • Privacy Computing — Featuring three technologies to protect your data as it is in use. The first provides a trusted environment in which sensitive data can be processed or analyzed. The second performs processing and analysis in a decentralized manner. The third encrypts data and algorithms before processing or analysis. This approach was developed with the increasing need to share data while maintaining privacy and security.
  • Distributed clouds, i.e. the use of data processing technology in the cloud to combine data and applications operated from multiple locations. Thanks to this trend, it is possible to provide a flexible environment with low latency and solve the problem of data security.
  • Anywhere Operations — This operating model enables access to business from anywhere where customers, employers and business partners operate in physically remote environments. It does not mean that the physical space has no place, but it should be digitally enhanced.
  • Cybersecurity Mesh — is a distributed approach to scalable, flexible and reliable cybersecurity control that provides secure access to digital resources. It allows you to define a security boundary around the identity of a person or thing.
  • Smart Composable Business — That is, one that can adapt and fundamentally change the organization based on the current situation. In order to accelerate digital transformation, companies should make quick business decisions based on currently available data. However, to achieve this, they must have better access to information and the ability to react faster to analysis results.
  • AI Engineering — Facilitates the performance, scalability, and reliability of AI models by offering a pathway by which AI is part of the core DevOps process, rather than a set of specialized and isolated projects.
  • Hyperautomation is an integrated approach that organizations can use to identify and automate as many business and technological processes as possible. In line with this trend, anything that can be automated in an organization should be automated. Hyperautomation is driven by organizations with legacy business processes in need of improvement that can generate extremely costly and extensive problems for the organization.
Source: Gartner Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2021

Forrester: further investments in digital transformation needed

Similar conclusions were also reached by Forrester analysts who in the report “Top Trends And Emerging Technologies, Q3 2020” highlight the most relevant trends and break down technologies into seven key areas that will play a key role in accelerating digitization. These include artificial intelligence, business automation and robotics, enterprise risk management, human experience and productivity, new computing architecture, next-generation communication, and zero-trust security.

In the latest report, a lot of space is devoted to the ethical aspects of using artificial intelligence, the need to transform and use intelligent automation, which combines robotic and digital process automation with pragmatic artificial intelligence, as well as the combination of cloud computing and edge computing architecture.

Looking to the future

As predicted by the most important analytical companies, the coming years will pass, among others, under the sign of the cloud, artificial intelligence, automation, data processing at the edge of the network, as well as safe work from anywhere in the world. The key approach in this case will be the approach of companies which, in order to maintain a competitive advantage and overcome subsequent crises, such as the one caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, should be open to digitization and have a flexible approach to business.

How can industrial enterprises achieve this? You can find the answer here →