> Top IT Predictions for 2021

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Top IT Predictions for 2021

TeraGo’s Blake Wetzel and Trevor Kadiata share their IT predictions for 2021.

The events of 2020 accelerated the need for organizations to adapt to the new normal and leverage technology to support their evolving needs. Businesses were pushed to run more efficiently, and creatively as digital transformation and the remote working dynamic changed how IT worked. The shift essentially improved employee and customer experiences and created more focus on protection and management of an exponential growth in data storage.

Blake Wetzel, Chief Operating Officer & CRO at TeraGo says “the pandemic opened workforce eyes to a different and more effective way to work and pushed businesses to deal with infrastructure and software overload.”

So, where are we at now in the IT industry?

If we look at this in two parts–people and technology–reduced man hours, and redistribution and recovery of those hours through technology, maintained operational efficiency for businesses who adapted. Wetzel predicts this will continue into the new year but says while businesses identified revenue streams and technology helped them save and make money, it was not entirely a marriage made in heaven.

“A large number of organizations, like the retailer, were caught off guard,” says Wetzel. “They needed better analytics and supply chain operations and they were unable to pivot the business model to succeed.”

The IT Arena: People

Adapt and respond to unpredictable business disruptions and gain a competitive advantage. It was a tall order and the top priority for many businesses in 2020, especially those that relied heavily on digital-delivery.

Looking ahead to 2021, Wetzel says “jobs and skill set will be transformed and companies will have to re-evaluate their talent, hoping they are self-managed and self-motivated to operate in a digital world.”
Solution Architecture & Professional Services Director at TeraGo, Trevor Kadiata says “the work-from-home trend isn’t going away and a bit of time in the office will keep employees motivated and productive.”

Triggered by the pandemic, Wetzel and Kadiata say IT teams will determine the success of a business in an increasingly digitized economy. DevOps teams will build smarter applications and have a bigger voice in technology direction and data strategy, resulting in an increase in cloud data management techniques. They say a few roles will evolve. The CIO will depend more on development teams to guide the technical direction of the company and according to Kadiata’s predictions “will move away from tech, move into defining use cases and be clear on the outcome.”

“In the past, the CIO was an operator and a doer,” says Wetzel. “They will become an integrator, a shepherd that will put process in place and make things more secure.” Both agree the COO will deliver on the business case, and be a driving force around the CIO, but there will be interdependence between the two roles.

The IT Arena: Information Technology

The financial pressures of the pandemic forced businesses to re-evaluate overhead costs of managing their IT infrastructure on-site versus a shift to cloud-based platforms. Because of this, Wetzel says “most businesses will have to embrace a dynamic, intelligent IT and recognize that infrastructure and IT platforms can transform processes, cutting costs while still generating revenue. Businesses that move to software-defined systems and services will reduce the need for big capital investments and open up flexibility and scalability.” He says IT spending will move away from the traditional buy more, bigger, faster mindset, and instead adopt a buy different one.”

According to Kadiata’s predictions, “IT budgets won’t grow but IT people will lean towards application value and automation, making technology transparent.” He says businesses will move away from the cloud first mindset and into being cloud smart, using it efficiently to solve issues and evaluate success. “They will approach the cloud in a strategic way, knowing that the cloud doesn’t solve everything,” says Kadiata. “Understanding it, and aligning the right skillset in-house and applications, will determine the best experience.”

Wetzel and Kadiata affirm that as cloud matures and 5G use cases are explored, and in line with cloud smart, there will be a continued push to provide better user experiences and focus on building resilience through enhanced virtual consumer experiences.

IT Areas of Acceleration & Attention in 2021

Trevor Kadiata’s Predictions:
A cloud delivery model for networking & security (SASE, SDWan & AI). Most IT tasks will be automated, with SDWAN/ SASE rounding out the last few parts of IT yet to be approached from a software perspective.
• MS365 will be a big driver because of ease of access. It’s not just a communications tool, it’s a business automation option.
• Multi-cloud & Private cloud: Expect a holistic, hybrid & multi-cloud approach to cloud, involving colocation, private cloud & hyperscale clouds, tailored closely to the use case.
• Ecommerce will continue to be shock-proof, have a revenue stream regardless of world events & move to cloud service providers.
• The health industry will need to accommodate security & compliance requirements, as medical consultations continue virtually.

Kadiata’s Advice for Businesses in 2021:
Focus on a cloud smart strategy and not necessarily a cloud first approach. This means a well-developed use case and defined evaluation metrics to measure success.
Take a holistic approach to technology. The cloud is only 1 aspect. Intelligent networking, security and collaboration at the speed of cloud are critical to a successful digital transformation.

Blake Wetzel’s Predictions for 2021:
• More aggressively utilized data & analytics like AI & IoT
• IT organizations will use services, not necessarily hardware, allowing flexibility & a shift in dynamics.
• The way we purchase goods/services will continue to transform. How a customer gets a good experience & a good product in a timely manner will make all the difference.
• Education will continue to be an interactive balance between virtual & in-person learning.
• In healthcare, we will see more in-home device management (example: heart & diabetes monitors).

Wetzel’s Advice for Businesses in 2021:
Pick your IT partners smartly & ensure they are aligned with your goals.
Look beyond traditional technology & eliminate your bias.

Written by: Geneviève D’Souza

Geneviève D’Souza is an award-winning journalist, content specialist and advocate for the power of words to engage, promote and sell. She is fuelled by a curiosity for innovation and the technology which drives results for start-ups and large corporations today. Well-known in communications, media and marketing circles, she brings a well-balanced perspective to her writings. A Ryerson University journalism graduate and successful small business owner, she is also an avid foodie, musician and powerwalker.

Blake Wetzel – Chief Revenue Officer and Chief Operating Officer, TeraGo

Blake has held strategic leadership roles for the past 20 years at industry leading telecommunications, Cloud, Data Centre and Information Technology companies. He is a creative leader specializing in building scaled go to market strategies and customer focused operational expertise. His approach has created a track record of success transforming cultures to maximize growth.

Trevor Kadiata – Director, Solution Architecture

Trevor has 15 years of proven success in architecting innovative cloud computing, hybrid computing and converged network solutions, including secure IaaS, SaaS, UCaaS, WAN and SD WAN. His focus is on leading and mentoring senior technology professionals, leveraging technology to deliver strategic business outcomes and solving business challenges.