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AppDynamics 2021 Predictions: Five IT and Technology Trends for the Upcoming Year

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual series exclusive.

Five IT and Technology Trends for the Upcoming Year

By Gregg Ostrowski, regional CTO, AppDynamics, part of Cisco

Technology is what made many aspects of daily life in 2020 possible as the worldwide pandemic lead managing much of our lives online. This accelerated shift to remote work, online learning and video hang-outs exposed weakness in many businesses, but it also demonstrated IT teams' ability to respond quickly and be agile. In 2021, we will see a continuation of many of the IT trends we saw accelerated in 2020, and it will likely be a truly transformative year. Read on for five key predictions we are likely to see manifest in IT - and the tech industry overall - in the upcoming year.

Observability Will Be a Top Priority

As companies try to do more with less amid growing complexities, full stack observability is a strategic priority for businesses and IT teams. Industries previously untouched by AI and automation technologies will soon find themselves integrating it into their DevOps processes, and while roadmaps may differ from company to company to accommodate different goals and strategies, the common thread of observability will ultimately result in improved, end-to-end visibility, product integrations and enhanced automation.

User Experience Will Reign Supreme

As legacy systems and mindsets struggled to keep up with the drastic changes brought on by 2020, we as a society realized that the solutions that may have worked in years and decades past will not work the same way today or in the future. However, one key finding of 2020 will continue to gain momentum in 2021: user experience.

Now more than ever, companies will and should invest their resources into supporting the technologies, people and services that keep remote workers productive, collaborators connected, digital transactions secure, virtual connections running, uptime high and mean time to repair (MTTR) low across multiple industries to maintain a consistent digital user experience. In 2019, the AppDynamics App Attention Index found 70% of consumers said they are less tolerant of problems with a digital service than they were two years ago. This has, undoubtedly, only increased in 2020 and will continue to in 2021.

The Future is More Integrated

With an enhanced emphasis on user experience comes an accompanying emphasis on integrations between monitoring and other services that ultimately benefit the end user. This includes integrations with security, as keeping user data safe is mandatory in a primarily digital world. We're also currently seeing an industry shift towards using open source tools for development and monitoring, and I believe that will continue in 2021. At the end of the day, customers want tools and solutions that aren't closed off, but open to integration and enhancements that will ultimately feed into a better overall user experience.

At AppDynamics, we've found through greater collaboration with ThousandEyes, also a part of Cisco, we can provide a proactive, comprehensive view into the application experience that includes app delivery, app performance and key performance indicators of business metrics regardless of where users are located.

2021 Will be the Year of the SRE

The consumerization of IT has been discussed for several years, but the pandemic put this at the forefront again because of its importance to business success. A strong, agile and fully supported IT team is critical for building and maintaining applications, elevating and expanding the role of the site reliability engineer (SRE) who keeps it all together.  With the SRE becoming a more critical role to help balance the risk of speed with the objectives of the business, they do not just focus on the application but all the components around the application where there are dependencies. Developers now have to focus on the endgame rather than reinventing the wheel, and SREs' deep knowledge of code and the cloud mean 2021 will be the year they're invaluable.

Technologists Will Be Encouraged to Take Risks 

In May, the AppDynamics Agents of Transformation Report found that 80% of technologists said the response of their IT team to the pandemic has positively changed the perception of IT within their organization. This perception shift came as technology priorities shifted in a whopping 95% of organizations. Technologists, or Agents of Transformation, will be the ones to carry forward the digital transformation of their organizations, and I predict in 2021, organizations will see a benefit to enabling their technologist to take risks and drive a faster innovative approach. During the pandemic, we have seen many organizations relax their long approval process, the value the business sees by doing this will surely help streamline approval processes going forward. The key to doing this successfully will be for business leaders to ensure they have the proper insights that enable them to quickly determine the benefit or course correct quickly as outcomes vary. Innovation will go hand-in-hand with adaptability.

Across the board, 2021 is shaping up to be a critical year for digital transformation as the accelerated use of technology shows no signs of slowing down.


About the Author

Gregg Ostrowski 

Gregg Ostrowski is a Regional CTO at AppDynamics. He engages with customer senior leadership to help prioritize their strategy for digital transformation. Prior to AppDynamics, Gregg held senior leadership positions at Samsung and Research in Motion.

Published Tuesday, November 24, 2020 10:56 AM by David Marshall
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