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Icertis 2021 Predictions: The Key Technology Trends that Businesses Can Expect in the Year Ahead

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

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

The Key Technology Trends that Businesses Can Expect in the Year Ahead

By Harshad Oak, General Manager, Customer Adoption & Value, Icertis

Companies around the world are preparing for another uncertain year and are turning to technology for not just business continuity but also for continued improvements in productivity and efficiency in a tough competitive landscape.

Businesses that had prioritized technology and digital transformation have not just coped with the pandemic better but even gained a competitive edge in many cases. So it's safe to assume that businesses will continue to take rapid strides towards digitization.

The following technologies are likely to be at the forefront and the trends to watch for in 2021.

1.  The End of AI as We Know It

AI has been a buzzword for the past few years. It is largely utilized to highlight the intelligence capabilities of software products or solutions. But by late 2021, we can expect the oversaturated marketing of the AI term to start fizzling out. This doesn't mean AI will go away. It just means that as companies and users get more comfortable with the technology and see the value it can deliver, they will expect it to be a standard rather than a unique, add-on feature of enterprise software.

In 2021, AI features that have proven to work well will get absorbed and assimilated into mainstream software development. Simultaneously, AI technologies and platforms will continue to get smarter and more capable of improved accuracy and insights.

2.  Virtual Everywhere

With a distributed, remote, or mobile workforce comes immediate needs for improved and integrated communication solutions.

Take the corporate Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) process as an example. In the near future, we will see intelligent software that will offer the capability to start and schedule a video call at every stage of the contracting process that involves complex decision making, such as amendments, revisions, renewals, and more.

Workflows like send for review, send for approval, request more information, and others will always be video-collaboration enabled. The need to successfully communicate across workplace environments, geographies, and company ecosystems has never been greater.

3.  COVID-19 Accelerates Cloud Spending

Companies are investing a larger portion of IT budgets on cloud-based technologies. In fact, enterprises' average cloud spending is up 59% from 2018 to $73.8M in 2020. Businesses are also seeing immediate measurable gains in efficiency and productivity from using the cloud and cloud-based SaaS products.

The cloud move has also enabled a rapid transition away from physical and paper-based contracting processes including contract request, approval, execution, and post-award management systems. The shift to cloud-based contracting platforms has resulted in strong ROI and laid the groundwork for even more advancements and value in the contract lifecycle management process.

The cloud migration trend can be expected to accelerate further into the coming year.

4.  Enhanced Enterprise Software Experiences

Starting in 2021, slow and clunky enterprise software experiences simply won't be tolerated and will become a punishable offense. Software users who have been forced to rely exclusively on digital tools in 2020 will make their voices heard and ultimately be the ones who determine which software products survive in the coming year. Going forward, intuitive User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) will be a primary determinant of success for all software.

With rapid improvements in Natural Language Processing (NLP), we can expect enterprise software companies to start adopting a clean omnibox approach like its consumer software cousins. Enterprise software users will benefit from the ease of being able to "start the box" and receiving software-generated suggestions, guidance, and help with accomplishing their tasks and goals.

Users will also expect to even enterprise software to be able to seamlessly update, heal, and enhance itself, further improving the software experience.

Although we are on the cusp of another potentially tumultuous and challenging year, it's exciting to see what advancements 2021 has in store and which technologies lead the charge.


About the Author

Harshad Oak 

Harshad Oak is General Manager, Customer Adoption and Value at Icertis working with many large enterprise customers on value realization. He was earlier involved in driving some of Icertis' key initiatives in AI/ML and Blockchain space.

Prior to joining Icertis, Harshad was a Senior Director at Oracle, heading the Oracle Startup Accelerator in JAPAC and France. He was earlier the founder of IndicThreads and Rightrix Solutions. He is the author of four books on software development. He is a speaker and writer for several reputed publications.

Published Wednesday, January 27, 2021 7:47 AM by David Marshall
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