Turn These Technology Risks Into Opportunities in 2021
We are in the midst of prediction season, when prognostications flood the airwaves. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I can list what I feel are some of the top issues that organizations will face in 2021. The rapid deployment of technology that the pandemic spurred on created both risks and opportunities. As we move into 2021, here's how organizations can move forward with the promise of these changes.
Time to Secure Those New Technologies
The shift to remote work likely spurred the introduction of more technology into the workplace than any year before. This took the form of new software applications, the extension of existing applications, and/or the introduction of new devices, all in an effort to keep organizations running and people productive.
The range of industries pushed to this model of work was staggering. Many had never considered remote work before, or limited it to select roles, but were still forced to shift. From education to banking to government — in a very short amount of time they were pushed to use technology they hadn't previously used. And most organizations were successful at getting the technology to employees. Yet due to lack of expertise managing new environments and not enough time to prepare, there is the potential for security issues. This can show up in many ways including:
- SaaS applications not having IT controlled identity.
- End user devices not having the proper patching and virus protection.
- Data stored using personal accounts.
Organizations should pause and identify where security gaps might have been introduced this year with the new technology and put remediation actions in place in 2021.
Understanding Work Dynamics
“Workforce analytics is one of the fastest growing segments of the human capital management market; CAGR estimates of nearly 16% mean it will approach nearly $1 billion by 2023” — Forrester Predictions 2021.
With widespread technology availability, people and organizations have an opportunity to be more productive than every before. The shift to remote work has removed much of the personal interaction though. We've lost the casual hallway interactions and social gatherings where we'd speak with colleagues from other departments and groups. These informal discussions helped bridge the department silos and boost productivity as a result.
We do have the opportunity to design these kinds of interactions for remote work. With collaboration technology in place and it being used as the primary method of communication, it's possible to understand all the dynamics within an organization, such as which departments are collaborating with who, are people being overworked, and are individuals getting enough management attention. With these types of workforce analytics organization can explore the use of technology to measure how employees are doing and if the organization continues to have a strong and engaging culture. They can also use the data to design and monitor their workplace goals.
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Rapid Application Development
The demands of 2020 brought the need to quickly develop, deploy and change software applications. Often these weren’t complicated applications, but they had to be deployed in days and at mass scale. This ranged from government collection forms for emergency response benefits to online retail making modifications for online pickup.
Expectations for digital experiences have never been higher. To better serve customers and employees and stay ahead of the competition, organizations will need to adapt to changes in the market and user behavior quickly. Those organization that figured out how to shift to rapid application development now have a significant competitive advantage. Public cloud infrastructure and services have leveled the playing field today, offering these capabilities to anyone with a credit card for as little as a few hundred dollars a month. This gives the small business and the large enterprise about the same capacity to create new, unique value with their applications.
Organizations have also utilized approaches such as DevOps to get this agility for their applications. As the market and industry changes, those organizations that react the quickest will serve their customer better than their competitors, thus securing market share.
So there they are, three problems which can be turned into opportunities. We will see how many organizations prioritize these in 2021 to protect their data, foster a better employee experience and gain a competitive advantage.
About the Author
As VP of Digital Acceleration, Craig McQueen drives innovation at Softchoice by developing new solutions and services that will help organizations transform through technology at a high pace. He leads a team of skilled consultants, architects, agile PMs, engineers and developers who bring the latest technologies to Softchoice customers, through business understanding and by being deeply integrated with our cloud partners, Microsoft, AWS and Google.