Forrester Research Predictions for 2021

Forrester Research claim to have a good record when it comes to crystal ball gazing and predicting future trends in IT and business. While not predicting the Covid Pandemic they did predict that 2020 would be a bumpy year. So what are their predictions for 2021? Here are just a few.

  • 30% of firms will continue to accelerate their spend on cloud, security and risk, networks, and mobility including struggling firms looking to leapfrog less wily competitors and gain advantage coming out of the pandemic.
  • Remote work will rise to 300% of pre-COVID levels. At least 21% of US information workers will work primarily from home, compared with 7% in 2019. Some 47% of North American managers surveyed during the pandemic anticipate a permanently higher rate of full-time remote employees, and 53% of employees say they want to work from home more often even after the pandemic.
  • Regulatory and legal activity regarding employee privacy will double. While European regulators are already enforcing privacy rules to protect employees personal data, countries such as Brazil, India, and Thailand will soon do the same. And in the US, given the corporate practices and policies that often limit or deny employees a right to privacy, the battle to determine what is a reasonable expectation of workplace privacy will be fought in the courts.
  • 33% of data breaches will be caused by insider incidents, up from 25% today. CISOs will want to monitor three major factors that will produce an uptick in insider threats: 1) the rapid push of users, including some outside of companies typical security controls, to remote work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; 2) employees job insecurity; and 3) the increased ease of moving stolen company data.
  • Workplace automation and AI are here to stay. By the end of 2021, one out of every four remote workers will be supported by new forms of automation, either directly or indirectly. Direct support will be the rarer form giving a bot to individual workers to support their daily journey. But indirect support will blossom, as robotic process automation (RPA) bots combined with conversational intelligence and other intelligent automation will handle business tasks often invisible to the home worker. 35% of companies will double down on workplace AI.
  • The global public cloud infrastructure market will grow 35% to $120 billion in 2021 and that Alibaba Cloud will take the number three revenue spot globally, after AWS and Azure, with Google in fourth place.
  • Edge computing is the new cloud! Edge computing is essentially bringing computing closer to where data is generated and where action on the data can be taken. Whats driving this trend? First, consider that large vendors such as Dell, HPE, IBM, and Intel are doubling down on the edge with cloudlike solutions deployable to anywhere. Second, content delivery networks and data centre colocation vendors are offering edge compute services across hundreds or thousands of local points of presence, which helps business systems that are more responsive and contextual. Over the next three years, buyers will shift their cloud strategies toward the edge to capture all this innovation and become more connected. While public clouds will play a part, we do not think they will dominate, as their culture is based on massive data centres and tight control of the architecture the exact opposite of what firms need to serve customers locally. Vendors with a winning edge strategy will do better.

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