Three Tech Trends Organizations Should Adopt to Thrive in 2021 and Beyond


The much promising tech trends this year that organizations must recognize and exploit business opportunities around have been revealed by Gartner in its new report. Even though technologies like NFT, deeper AI research, and sovereign clouds are essential to watch out for, it will be interesting to see how organizations will create a balance between advanced tech and culture in the immediate future that will ultimately leave value on the table.

In March this year, a South Carolina-based graphic designer Mike Winkelmann, known as ‘Beeple’, traded his NFT (Non-fungible tokens), a digital art piece, for about $69 million at Christie’s auction house. Other examples that captured much adulation for NFTs were Square’s founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet auction, selling of digital avatar CryptoPunk and people’s fondness for buying a spate of memes, Nyan Cats, and tweets. 

Most wonder what NFT is, the reason being the complexity in its simplicity. NFT basically is a digital asset (art, collectibles, or even memes) represented by unique code on the blockchain. Despite a plunge in its fame around June, the hype around NFTs has undeniably been the most popular among the 2021 digital trends. Eulogy bidding adieu to NFTs based on blockchain architecture was premature, just like that of Bitcoins. 

Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2021 report talks about 25 breakthrough technologies that will radically influence business and society over the next two to ten years. The report features NFT as one of the promising additions. 

Other trends stealing the show this year are sovereign cloud, generative AI, data fabric, digital humans, physics informed AI, and so on. The three overarching trends/themes that Gartner’s new report talks about will drive organizations to explore these emerging technologies.

Philip Dawson, research VP at Gartner, also spoke about how this Hype Cycle provides a high-level view of important emerging trends that organizations must track and the specific technologies that must be monitored through the themes of ‘Trust, Growth and Change.’

“Technology innovation is a key enabler of competitive differentiation and is the catalyst for transforming many industries. Breakthrough technologies are continually appearing, challenging even the most innovative organizations to keep up,” explained Brian BurkeOpens a new window , research vice president at Gartner.

“Your focus on digital business transformation means you must accelerate change and cut through the hype surrounding these technologies,” he added.

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Highlighting the Three Themes

Leading organizations will lean on the emerging technologies in this year’s Hype Cycle to build trust and new growth opportunities against a background of continued strategic change and economic uncertainty, Burke shared, referring to his research.

The technologies this year are chosen based on their potential transformational benefits and broad potential impact and fall under three main themes, as Gartner mentioned in the new report:

Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2021

Engineering trust

To effectively drive technology-enabled business change, IT teams must establish a responsible corporate core. Security and reliability are necessary for trust, but so are repeatable, recognized, scalable, and innovative working methods. These concepts serve as a solid framework and foundation for IT’s ability to add value to the organization.

By integrating data from various sources, real-time incident command centers as a service, for example, increase situational awareness for businesses. Most public safety organizations use a more manual approach of integrating databases, sensors, cameras, and communications technology for an emergency command center.

The as-a-service approach, on the other hand, makes the real-time operation of a command center easier. The development of next-generation real-time centers to reduce crime drew immediate attention. Today’s application cases include wildfire management, natural disasters, one-of-a-kind occurrences, and, most significantly, pandemic response.

The significant difficulty with this technology is the required level of interagency coordination. This information is usually kept in separate organizations (e.g., databases, radio, IoT, mass alerts, license plate scanners, and geolocation tracking). On the other side, real-time incident command centers as a service may improve emergency response.

The technologies to watch are sovereign cloud, NFT, machine-readable legislation, decentralized identity, decentralized finance, homomorphic encryption, active metadata management, data fabric, real-time incident center, and employee communications applications to engineering trust.

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Accelerating growth

If a solid core business is established, restoration and growth are feasible. Organizations should balance technology risk with their appetite for commercial risk to ensure that near-term goals are accomplished. After the innovation-led core has scaled, accelerated growth enhances delivery and value.

For example, the pharmaceutical industry is experimenting with generative AI to help reduce drug development time and cost. By 2025, Gartner predicts that more than 30% of new drugs and materials will be discovered routinely using generative AI techniques. In various fields, generative AI will enhance and accelerate design and be able to “invent” new concepts.

To help accelerate economic growth, industrial cloud, multi-experience, AI-driven innovation, ML, generative AI, and digital people should all be looked at.

Sculpting change

Companies may use technologies to sculpt change and restore stability to chaos. Change is typically disruptive and intrinsically intertwined with upheaval, but organizations can utilize innovations to sculpt change and bring order to chaos. Anticipating and auto-tuning to the requirements of change is the art.

Composable business apps, for example, provide for a better fit of app experiences to a dynamic, functional business environment. Composable business, based on composable apps and designed with composable thinking, enables enterprises to detect and capitalize on new ventures, manage unforeseen disruptions, and fulfill evolving consumer needs at their speed while maintaining consumer loyalty.

Are organizations ready to embrace the upcoming technologies?

The report conveyed that organizations should recognize and exploit business opportunities, respond to unexpected disruptions, and quickly meet customers’ changing demands. But the question here is if the emerging DevOps practices and advancements in AI research have matured enough to enable organizations to embrace the next accelerated growth phase.

Richard WhiteheadOpens a new window , evangelist in chief/CTO at Moogsoft, stated, “Any reasonably well implemented DevOps environment is not only able to accommodate composability, but will absolutely and enthusiastically embrace it. AI-based or augmented solutions will also be viewed through the composability lens, with operators looking for a very focused application of AI capability, to solve very specific problems, and be integrated into their toolchain with comprehensive APIs.”

ThoughtSpot’s chief development officer Sumeet AroraOpens a new window opined that DevOps practices and AI research had reached a stage where organizations can indeed deploy them to drive accelerated growth. “However, to truly tap into their power, leaders have to consider technology and culture as two sides of the same transformation coin,” he said.

Arora said that cultural evolution, aided by breaking down and rebuilding processes and reskilling talent, is essential to organizational growth, as is a focus on innovation, imagination and the art of the possible. “To achieve sustainable growth, these processes must be given equal weight and import along with new technologies built on cloud-scale and connected through APIs. If either is missing, leaders face a real risk of leaving value on the table.”

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