Robert Castles, Principal and Chief Technology Officer, PMG
2020 was a pivotal year in so many ways, and global events stemming from the pandemic continue to affect businesses and the technology they use.
Not only did formerly thriving organizations shut their doors permanently, but the workflows of those that survived were thrown for a loop as employees found themselves working from home with compromised privacy – more than ever – as enterprise and public sector security was breached during one of the most vulnerable times in modern history.
Last year’s tidal wave of challenges continue rippling their way through 2021. But with these hardships come opportunities for growth, particularly for companies in the business-to-business (B2B) technology space.
Let’s explore three of the biggest trends to prepare for this year…
Opportunities to capitalize on hybrid workforce models abound
When stay-in-place measures were enacted last March, many workforces were required to adapt in order to perform jobs from home. Although the start might have been rocky, employees quickly got into the work-from-home (WFH) groove and productivity, in many cases, increased.
Non-manufacturing and hands-on services businesses are taking a hard look at whether their work truly needs to be done onsite, and a hybrid model for workforce location will be the choice for many. Opportunities to automate key aspects of getting the job done will continue to grow rapidly.
One year in, firms that withstood economic retraction are capitalizing on remote work as many are adopting permanent WFH models, or coming up with a hybrid model that incorporates both in-office and remote work. Low-code automation technology that streamlines processes and workflows into one platform help make remote and hybrid working situations possible. In fact, the B2B organizations that survived 2020 are set up to thrive by acquiring those companies that have either shut down or are struggling to stay afloat. This also opens up the possibility to obtain more customers and attract talent in the process.
Technology stacks morph to provide broader capabilities
Technology consolidation into big enterprise platforms – think Salesforce’s acquisition of Slack – will continue. Although edge players continue emerging in hot areas like artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics, the big guns like Microsoft and Amazon are meeting the competition through their cloud marketplaces.
These marketplaces are a breeding ground for promising acquisition targets. While the huge entities merge vertically, other B2B players should focus on merging horizontally in a push to provide end-to-end capabilities.
Smaller companies should prime themselves for either scenario – by welcoming the possibility of being acquired by a larger firm or by partnering with other startups, which would combine complementary technology offerings to meet customer needs. Either scenario could fuel further growth.
Cloud service compartmentalization prioritizes heightened security
Ginny Rometty, former IBM chairman, president and CEO, said “Cybercrime is the greatest threat to every company in the world.”
2020 proved that true as cyberattacks skyrocketed and criminals sharpened their game to take advantage of vulnerabilities caused by the pandemic. The massive breach of government and large enterprises that included the World Health Organization, Twitter, Zoom, Magellan Health and Marriott International serves to further heighten risk awareness.
As such, companies of all sizes – because cybercriminals don’t discriminate – will look to cloud service providers (CSPs) for compartmentalization. Data governance will continue to grow in importance, both due to privacy concerns as well as the need to move data through and across multiple systems. Security concerns around a more extensive remote workforce will also increase and drive innovative risk-mitigation solutions. However, none of these security concerns will slow the growth of the API economy, which will continue to thrive.
Companies must be forward-thinking regarding security because if a breach occurs, they stand to lose revenue, reputation and business. The trend toward shoring up security measures is not going away. It’s more important now than ever.
COVID-19-induced change provides growth opportunities
Although 2020 was a rough-and-tumble, tumultuous year for business, it also opened up avenues for growth. Companies that capitalize on hybrid workforce models and low-code automation technology, consider consolidation through acquisition or partnership and bolster security measures through compartmentalization, will set themselves up for a promising future.
The challenges will always be there – pandemic or not. By remembering and acting upon the fact that with great hardship comes great opportunity, 2021 shows serious potential. Make sure you’re ready to take part.
About the Author: As PMG’s CTO, Robert leads the team in creating a forward vision for the company and the PMG Digital Business Platform. In his role, he drives the scalability, reliability and extensibility of the product. Robert brings over 20 years of technical expertise to the company, including enterprise software development, systems development and network infrastructure solutions.