Having worked in the tech space for over 15 years now, I thought I may just qualify as experienced enough to share my thoughts/predictions/guestimations about what’s in store for industry leaders in 2021.

‘Thought Leader’ is a term that should be earned and not self-assigned. Being a guru of any discipline is a title that is becoming increasingly nebulous in today’s world as industries are evolving and merging faster than ever. There is now a stronger demand than ever for leaders that can adapt and excel in new markets.

Pushing Forward in a Post COVID World.
Whether or not the eagerly anticipated vaccine is formulated, we will all be stepping in to 2021 with a new understanding of what it means to be a ‘business person’. Digital thought leaders are the high priests of our new world, chaperoning us to a better way of living. Employees and managers alike are looking for new ways to navigate daily challenges with opportunities and limitations brought on by the global pandemic. As handshakes are replaced with zoom meetings, and formal work attire is replaced with an increasingly casual dress code, how are managers expected to maintain a high-performance workplace culture, with no physical work place to speak of? Let’s take a look at some of the technology that’s surging the ever-necessary Digital Transformation forward.

Cyber Security
Worse-case-scenario for a business is no longer their building collapsing, or a change in market demand, but rather a cyber-attack. With the impact of COVID-19, the importance of cyber security has never been more prevalent. “Hackers have exploited the coronavirus pandemic to expand their campaigns of attacks against businesses worldwide. A 238% rise in attacks on banks, and a 600% increase in attacks on cloud servers was observed from January to April 2020 alone,” commented Andrew Newman, who believes that artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning will be important for combating threats.

5G
Fifth generation mobile internet speeds will accommodate the rise of remote working, video conferencing and digital collaboration. The need for reliable connectivity and increased bandwidth has never been more prevalent. “businesses cannot afford to be disconnected, and 5G deployments have become a vital part of the solution. As we collectively continue to work and manage school from our homes, the value of 5G will become increasingly mainstream in 2021”, noted Daniel Newman, Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research at CMO Network.

Decentralised Organisations
It’s no surprise that Zoom shares have quadrupled in value this year. While more and more companies were allowing their employees to work from home, COVID 19 has been a red-hot catalyst in accelerating this trend forward. It’s expected that organisations will extend their work-from-home policies into 2021, and/or maintaining the flexibility option. This forces leaders to adapt to the new dynamic of assert their dominance from afar – stretching and flexing their once face-to-face professional relationships.

Cloud Computing
The challenge of disparate business systems and the resulting fragmented data is a growing priority for business regardless of size. IBM Estimates that ‘bad data’ currently costs U.S. business $3 Trillion dollars per year. For employees and managers alike, business systems need to be streamlined now more than ever with continual increase of process digitisation and the resulting masses of data. ERP’s help solve this problem by collecting data from all available sources, organising it, tagging it, and making it usable for anyone who needs access to it. Companies like Adobe, Oracle, Treasure Data and Microsoft are already heavily invested in providing the market with powerful new ERPs. Just like a ship’s captain has a control panel with a summary of all mission critical information that can be used to best navigate the waters, ERP’s have customised dashboards giving business leaders a 360° view of all business critical information, allowing them to make informed decisions.