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Recurring IT purchases including hardware to be a priority

Hardware should be refreshed every three years, and if the pandemic halted attention to hardware, it is fair to say that will make its way to the top.

Despite the economic turbulence brought on by the pandemic in 2020, we will see a 5% to 10% increase in general IT spend in 2021. Allocations will likely focus most on security, general system modernisations, backup, applications, cloud migrations, and refreshing hardware. In addition, organisations will take a look at what was on hold in 2020 to address IT spend that happens on an annual recurring basis. For example, hardware should be refreshed every three years, and if the pandemic halted an organisation’s attention to hardware, it is fair to say that will make its way to the top of the list in 2021. 

We will see an aggressive shift to the left across all industries, where CIO’s will depend more on their development teams to guide the technical direction of the company. Historically, development teams have taken a top-down approach to move their data to the cloud, but – as have many things in the world – this changed with the pandemic with the reinforcement of cloud-based environments. 

In 2021, we will see DevOps teams continuing to have far more say in the data strategy process, and as a result we will see a greater increase in the mobility of workloads, correlating with an increase in cloud data management techniques. 

Distributed workforces were already on an upward trajectory but have been completely kicked into overdrive with the Covid-19 pandemic. With many companies extending work-at-home opportunities through mid-next year, reliance on cloud-based collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Slack, will only increase. 

This means even more teams will be looking to harness the power of the cloud to store an influx of data from collaboration platforms. In 2021, this will create more focus, awareness and need for data protection and management for collaboration software. Appliances will diminish in their attractiveness as we shift towards software-defined models. Ten years ago, appliances were these shiny new toys that everyone wanted to get their hands on, however they have not had the staying power we predicted they would. 

In fact, we have seen a shift towards backup-as-a-service and away from appliances. Remote work in the pandemic had a real impact on how we dealt with hardware in 2020 that will continue into 2021 as software-defined models take center stage. Already, we are seeing organisations recognise the unlimited opportunities available to them through data they have already collected. Data re-use will be a big trend we see organisations shifting to 2021, with many leveraging the power of machine learning to help them do this. 

This is still in the emerging stages; however, its adoption will increase as organisations recognise how it can help them analyse and re-use data that they already have. By leveraging machine learning in the cloud, organisations will ultimately become smarter. 

Data privacy and privacy regulations will continue to gain traction in 2021. In particular, I predict we will see the first proposed federal regulations around privacy in the New Year. However, compliance fines will continue on the downward trend we saw in 2020. We saw a massive jump in compliance fines in 2019, which solidified how seriously GDPR, CCPA and others needed to be taken. Now that this attention has been received and the awareness is there, the shift will be more towards more consistency of privacy regulations at the federal level. 

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