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IGEL 2021 Predictions: Transformation at the Endpoint - Five 2021 Predictions

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

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

Transformation at the Endpoint – Five 2021 Predictions

By Simon Townsend, CMO, IGEL

The onset of the COVID-19 crisis accelerated many of the plans we had in store for 2020. Projects to expand desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) programs or embrace new Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) implementations (as we predicted at the end of last year) quickly hastened with rapid enablement of global work from home efforts - as companies of all sizes shipped workers overnight into the safety of their home.

Now, as we look towards 2021, one thing we know from 2020: almost nothing can be predicted with any certainty. But given that we have seen radical changes - and monumental successes - in the way we now support remote work, a new range of trends are now coming into the light. Following are the top five predictions we believe 2021 has in store:

1. It's All About the Experience.

In 2021, end user experience will become IT's most prominent software selection criteria. In the aftermath of the pandemic, organizations are going to be forced to rethink the employee-facing solutions they deploy to not only deliver a more consumer-like experience - particularly to satisfy the heightened digital needs of Millennial and Gen Z workers - but to also improve employee retention and ensure user productivity. With mobile working models in force indefinitely, it will be vital to adopt technology that helps both keep and attract employees - from increasingly remote places. Since we are no-longer tied to specific office locations, employees have greater employment choice and will only remain where they are valued, productive and supported with the technology and experience that keeps them engaged. Many EUEM solutions can also offer additional security benefits providing visibility into unknown behavior. With the rise of cloud computing, especially with the ability to deliver desktops from the cloud, the need for IT to monitor and provide SLA for cloud delivered workloads will continue to increase.

2. Workplace Location Becomes Irrelevant.

As we enter 2021, the focus on "work from home" will dwindle as it's replaced by the hybrid workplace. IT operations management will double down on its priority to seamlessly enable endpoints for remote work in 2021, but with a focus on enabling the hybrid office vs. working from home. When done well, IT Ops will eliminate "workplace lock-in" and the location of work will become immaterial. Still stinging from the challenge of moving workers home in just days, IT Ops teams will continue to roll out employee workspaces that will operate seamlessly, securely and productively no matter where users work - as they return to the office, continue to work from home, or flexibly jump back and forth.

3. Linux at the Edge Goes Mainstream.

Along with the need to remain workplace-agile, companies will take a fresh look at the value of Linux-powered endpoints. With lower cost, greater security, flexible manageable and high performance - even for the most video-intensive applications - Linux-based edge devices are favored by even Microsoft for accessing workspaces in the cloud, particularly those based on Windows Virtual Desktop. Linux-enabled solutions, such as the IGEL UD Pocket, were also among the most valuable tools for supporting workers when they needed to move home literally overnight - something not nearly as easily executed using a mix-match of Windows systems. Into 2021, as workforces embrace a hybrid workplace, Linux will benefit from increasing mainstream appeal as it is easier to manage, cheaper to support and dramatically more secure when compared to Windows-based devices.

4. Companies Will Prepare for a Digital Pandemic.

Speaking of security, companies in 2021 will take their que from the rapid, uncontrollable spread of COVID-19 and realize the same devastation is possible with our digital health. As data breaches and cybercrime grows to all time highs, a digital pandemic is very likely to break out - with an uncontrollable spread that may be hard to contain. Companies will prioritize solutions that are proven to be more hardened and secure in preparation for this global risk. Here key solutions that require less patching (like a reduced need for a vaccination), provide security visibility, analytics and monitoring (like contact tracing) or that are hardened and secured from hacking (like wearing a highly effective mask) will be rapidly adopted to avoid a complete digital "lock down" from cybercriminal penetration.

5. Digital Fatigue Will Drive an In-Person Event Boom.

Finally, as digital fatigue sets in, companies will look for new, creative methods for marketing and customer engagement. Virtual events will become shorter or offer innovative new tools that better allow for on-demand experiences. And, as the COVID-19 vaccine is globally applied, in-person events will take off like never before in the second half of 2021 as we all crave connection and a more individualized, yet tangible experience.

Yes, 2020 has been a year no one could have expected. But what we've learned this year will have a profound impact on the technology trends in 2021. Let's all hope for a healthy 2021 that's hopefully a bit more predictable.

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About the Author

Simon Townsend 

As Chief Marketing Officer, Simon owns field, digital and product marketing functions at IGEL. With 20 years experience in the end-user computing market, Simon has helped manage Marketing, Product marketing, product management and Global Systems Engineering for several enterprise software companies. Townsend joined IGEL from Ivanti where he was Chief Technologist and a member of the Office of the CTO. A frequent industry speaker, author and visionary on industry topics related to endpoint security, VDI, Citrix, Windows and DaaS. Townsend's roles include defining and delivering corporate, field and product marketing strategies. At AppSense for over 11 years, Townsend also served as the company's Vice President, Product Management. He holds a bachelor's degree in IT and business from Bournemouth University.

Published Wednesday, December 16, 2020 7:50 AM by David Marshall
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