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NetApp 2021 Predictions: 5 ways continued digital transformation will shape 2021

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

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

5 ways continued digital transformation will shape 2021

By Biren Fondekar, Head of Customer Experience at NetApp

2020 was a wildly unique year for everyone, and organizations scrambled to adapt to the series of seismic events that changed how people worked and how business was done. While few could have accurately predicted the events that unfolded in 2020, one thing remains true for 2021: digital transformation and the evolution of data management to enable business agility will continue to be a priority for organizations that wish to survive.

As a result of some of the lessons learned from the transition to a fully remote workforce this year, companies and industries that are taking the time to explore the depth of their transformation will be better equipped to make every application and every business smarter and more efficient. With this in mind, there are certain industries that need to adapt (and in some cases, have been) to this new normal faster than others. Take for instance, my predictions on the healthcare industry: 

"I think healthcare has endured the most rapid changes this year. The COVID shutdowns across the globe forced healthcare providers to immediately introduce telemedicine for most primary care scenarios. Even healthcare staff in roles such as in-patient pharmacists are now working remotely; with surgeons only setting foot in the hospital when it's time to perform surgery. Anything that doesn't require hands-on-care is being done remotely. These types of changes will continue, accelerating the digitization of healthcare. 

In five years, home healthcare will be the norm. Wellness checks will take place from your home with cameras, sensors, with internet connected compute and storage being used to create an in-person experience on-demand, when it best fits your schedule." 

Other industries have already changed significantly - and we'll continue to see the as-a-service model grow moving forward:

"Industries that offer services which do things for people that allow them to stay home, or distance themselves from other people have experienced a big up-tick. Formerly called ‘convenience services', Grub-Hub/Uber Eats/DoorDash and others have paved the way with this type of service model. This model now been experienced, adopted and scaled by so many that we expect future business models will revolve around the concept or idea of ‘what else can person 1 do for person 2 as a service so that person 2 doesn't need to leave the comfort of their home'."  

Considering the impacts to IT and enterprise technology - I anticipate the further acceleration of digital transformation in 2021: 

"Applications that support B2C and B2B will have to employ methods to enable low bandwidth and high latency internet connections, given much of the workforce will remain working from home within a white-collar work environment ‘post COVID'. 

Additionally, the realization that knowledge workers can be productive outside of a traditional office, big sales deals can be done in any industry remotely without fancy dinners and golf, and consumers can have nearly all needs met online - is a game changer. This greatly accelerates the need for every business to digitize and accelerates the need for managing more data. 

Inter-personal and team-wide communications have improved greatly! In-person travel and meetings are not needed to market, sell, strategize, or execute successfully. This has allowed for greater diversity in our engagements and has decreased ‘localization bias'. It used to be that if you were local, hallway conversations were a great way to be informed, but left too many individuals out and decreased valuable, diverse input. Now a quick chat and a Zoom room re-creates a hallway conversation atmosphere with more of the right people involved anytime." 

In summary, the acceleration we've witnessed this past year, while record-breaking, is something we foresee will continue at a rapid pace. From our vantage point at NetApp, as a cloud-led, data-centric software company servicing a broad variety of customers across all verticals - these transformative shifts are unlocking the potential of data and creating massive value for many business and industries across the globe - and we don't see this slowing down any time soon.

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About the Author

Biren Fondeka 

As head of NetApp's Customer Experience (CX) office, Biren Fondekar spearheads the ongoing transformation of NetApp's Customer Experience by generating new business opportunities, revenue streams and customer services through the adoption of new digital technologies, including NetApp's Active IQ, which has become the cornerstone of the company's digital services roadmap. Biren's expertise and accomplishments include harnessing the power of machine learning and AI on product telemetry data; to better deliver predictive insights and actionable intelligence for NetApp customers, DevOps workflow automation, and product globalization.
Published Friday, January 29, 2021 7:55 AM by David Marshall
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