We asked Tom Richards, Systems and Storage Practice lead at Northdoor: “What are the key IT trends that customers need to look out for in 2021?”. Tom puts forward his predictions:
Remote working is here to stay & so perhaps is uncertainty
One of the results of the pandemic has been the shift to homeworking. This has placed huge pressure on IT teams, who not only are working from home themselves, but are also having to implement and manage entire new systems to allow business continuity during a pandemic.
This new remote working reality has meant that many have had to embrace a new way of working – something which will continue into 2021. This means a move away from the traditional IT methods where all deployment is manually controlled by the IT team and a move to automated technologies and self-service.
The nature of 2020 means that there will undoubtedly be a continuation of the uncertainty of what the world will look like from month to month. Advanced planning, complex systems and rigid infrastructure will all have to be looked at by businesses, if they are to remain agile enough to cope.
Automating is becoming the key for simplification
The new reality for IT teams means the need to simplify and automate much of what they do will be crucial in 2021. Simplifying complex systems and infrastructure and thereby allowing IT to more easily manage processes remotely will allow organisations to continue to flourish in the New Year.
Even before the pandemic there were increasingly complex environments, with IT teams struggling to keep up. Running containers at scale, managing and moving workloads between private and public cloud, managing hybrid cloud and multi-cloud infrastructure, were all adding to the workloads of IT departments.
Automating these environments will be key to keeping things simple. This will help to address the realities and concerns of remote working, whilst also helping to prepare businesses for further uncertainty as the residual impact of the pandemic and Brexit continue to impact in 2021
Self-service is now key to successful remote working
Without the IT team on hand, and access to some infrastructure difficult or impossible from home, in 2021 companies will be looking to allow staff increased levels of self-service capability.
For line of business and development teams, access to data with self-service will be critical. Solutions such as copy data management will allow both sets of employees to self-serve their copies of data, allowing them to continue working effectively out of the corporate environment.
Whilst IT teams will need to manage the process to ensure that there are not multiple sets of unused copy data taking up space and budget, the increased flexibility garnered by such solutions will be crucial in 2021.
Flexing will allow businesses to better cope with uncertainty
Alongside automation, companies will also be looking to flex up and down in order to be in a better position to cope with the uncertainty that is likely to occur in 2021.
If 2020 has shown businesses anything it is that you cannot predict the future. This used to mean that companies had to overprovision their infrastructure to ensure that they were covered for all eventualities.
This meant that there was expensive infrastructure often sitting idle, there for ‘just-in-case’ scenarios. Having the ability to easily flex up and down without the cost of over provisioning will therefore be crucial in 2021.
Companies will also be looking at storage utility models that allow the consumption of on-premise storage in a cloud-model as and when it is needed, all without a long-term commitment.
SAS (Self-Service, Automation, Simplicity) to the rescue?
The key to success in 2021 will be the effort to simplify processes. For too long IT has been seen as a complex and confusing set of processes, only to be solved by those in the IT department.
The world has changed significantly and in 2021 and companies can no longer afford large, slow moving, complex IT processes. 2021 has to be about automation, self-service and simplicity. Without these changes, companies could grind to a halt.
With the implementation of solutions that put some of the power in the employee’s hands and simplifying processes for the IT team, companies are not only organising themselves to work more effectively in 2021 but for the longer-term future too.