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Jitterbit 2021 Predictions: The Year in Digital - Automation and Multi-cloud Strategy at the Forefront Heading into 2021

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

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

The Year in Digital - Automation and Multi-cloud Strategy at the Forefront Heading into 2021

By Manoj Chaudhary, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Engineering at Jitterbit

If 2020 has taught us anything, it's that predictions and forecasts go can be thrown out the window in an instant. That said, in the digital world, there are a handful of emerging trends that create relatively safe bets heading into 2021. For example, we know enterprises will continue to gravitate toward a multi-cloud and on-premises hybrid approach, but what will that look like? And it's not new news that the use of AI is on the rise, but how will businesses deploy it over the coming year and beyond?

Time will only tell, of course, but here are five things I'll be looking for on the digital landscape in 2021:

1. Multi-cloud adoption becomes vendor-neutral

Of all the converging trends that will impact business growth for small, medium and large businesses this coming year, cloud computing is at the forefront. In 2020, the adoption of public cloud computing - whether Google, Azure, AWS, or others - grew significantly, and this trend will continue in 2021. I expect many more companies to adopt cloud computing as an IT strategy for CIOs in the coming year, but to do so, IT leaders will need to be ready with enterprise-grade integration strategies that can span multiple public and private clouds, making true hybrid cloud initiatives feasible.

The continued move to the cloud may be in the form of businesses making clean breaks and moving major systems entirely onto public clouds, or (more likely) moves may have a more metered approach by adopting "clouds of choice" - a hybrid of public cloud, and on-premises cloud. Companies that provide software as a service will start offering their products on multiple public clouds like Azure and AWS to give their customers the choice to adopt their service on the cloud or infrastructure of their choice - Snowflake is a good example. This gives users the freedom to deploy services on-premise or use a completely public cloud or use some combination of all of the above. Vendors will give the choice to their customers to suit the needs of their IT strategy. 

What we saw in 2017, 2018 and 2019 was heavily weighted toward the public cloud. But as needs have changed, Microsoft, Amazon and Google are coming up with ways to integrate their infrastructure with the on-prem infrastructure of the customer. But with literally thousands upon thousands of application endpoints and cloud and on-prem databases out there, IT teams are going to have their work cut out for them as they try to connect all the systems together. Integration and API strategies and tools will therefore become some of the most powerful technologies in the arsenals of IT teams and SaaS providers in 2021 to make cloud dreams realities.

2. AI marches on

In 2021 we will see AI, machine learning and IoT define and shape our lives and behaviors, a phenomenon that will continue for many years to come. These advancements impact how we work, how we buy, how we spend, how we do every little thing in our lives. But I think the real star that companies will turn to will be the enabling technologies such as cloud and edge computing, which will continue to dominate due to their ability to process and manage all the necessary data that fuels AI, ML, and IoT, as well as enabling technologies like iPaaS, APIM and RPA. These technologies will continue to lead the digital transformation charge for businesses as they move from manual or paper-driven business to digital businesses that can finally tap the power of AI and IoT. 

3. Virtual Desktops
Desktops-as-a-service, or virtual cloud desktops, will gain popularity in 2021. These offerings, like Amazon Workspace, Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop, and Google Chromebook, enable the entire environment of workstations to be delivered as a service - a display that connects to personal computing in the cloud. It reduces the in-house infrastructure requirements on businesses, reducing IT maintenance. But now, with COVID-19 causing more of a remote-work culture, the virtual desktop has become even more important, because with this technology companies no longer have to ship hardware to people's houses. They can simply use their own PC to connect to virtual cloud desktops. This is more cost-efficient because it's user-based, and typically only cost businesses if and when they're used. The whole mix of maintaining the hardware goes away, so I think this is a technology that's here to stay.

4. More businesses will adopt hyperautomation

To paraphrase Gartner, the idea that anything that can be automated in an organization should be automated, is called hyperautomation. Along these lines, my belief is that if you do anything in technology three times - particularly in the DevOps world - it's time to automate. Hyperautomation means taking legacy business processes that aren't streamlined and create expensive and extensive issues for organizations and automating as much as you can through means including robotic process automation (RPA). RPA removes tedious tasks and lets humans focus on more innovative and exciting work. 

5. Organizations will take a ‘customer 360' approach to business

Most businesses don't have large technical teams, meaning SaaS solutions will begin to enable more businesses to take a 360-degree view of their customers and engage with them at every touchpoint. The key component to a successful Customer 360 strategy involves pre-built templates that provide a service that optimizes integrations across systems and enables them to build a true 360-degree view of their customers. Using the right mix of solutions democratizes and enables a business to quickly react to problems because the templates are already built and can be used by less technical people. Integrating systems such as Salesforce, NetSuite, SAP, Shopify, Workday and many others enables this view across the customer journey, creating a better experience and longer-lasting customer relationships.


About the Author

Manoj Chaudhary 

Manoj Chaudhary is the Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Engineering, leading the technical side of product strategy as well as technology development and operations. Prior to this role, Manoj involved with Jitterbit as a technical adviser, helping to guide the company's pioneering transition to a multi-tenant cloud architecture.

Manoj has previously worked as CTO and VP of Engineering for Loggly and Tenfold and served as Director of Engineering at Cast Iron Systems leading up to and following its acquisition by IBM.

Published Monday, December 28, 2020 7:04 AM by David Marshall
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