As the tech landscape continues to evolve, companies are finding ways to create solutions that are even more strategic and efficient than what came before.
Whether it’s technology that will better enable supply chains, the expansion of consumer data platforms, embracing solutions for development, security and operations, or creating a total experience strategy, tech leaders all over are gearing up for an exciting 2021.
Built In Austin asked leaders across four local companies to share which tech trends they’re watching for in 2021 — and how it’ll specifically affect the industry they operate in.
A Total Experience Strategy
“To accelerate business transformation, companies will look to create a ‘total experience strategy’ that combines customer experience, employee experience and user experience to drive positive outcomes,” Dutta said. “Instead of individually improving each one of these experiences in a silo, companies will shift to improve the overall experience throughout the entire organization where all of these pieces intersect, from people to process and technology.
“In the healthcare industry, the ‘total experience strategy’ will become a key differentiator for organizations to replicate and will provide sustainable competitive advantages. Health systems, hospitals and other healthcare organizations will be able to better capitalize on new trends that COVID-19 has spurred, like telemedicine, virtual care and work from home, so that they can better engage a more dispersed employee and customer base.”
Robbie Dutta is the SVP of platform experience and strategy at Healthgrades, a platform that connects people to their healthcare providers.
The Expansion of Consumer Data Platforms
“The trend I’ll be watching in 2021 is the expansion of consumer data platforms (CDPs) that respect modern data privacy and security expectations,” Patalano said. “Historically, there has been a tension between personalization and data privacy, forcing trade-offs between business goals and consumer trust. Going forward, we will start to see distributed identity platforms and CDPs that elegantly solve for both deeply personalized experiences as well as data privacy and transparency.
“Our objective at realtor.com is to take big data, unify extremely large volumes of information and create an exceptional customer-centric product experience. This means a better personalization of home recommendations and deeper use of data science to build an experience that’s unique to every user. As we continue to expand the way we leverage data, we must be mindful of consumer expectations of privacy and transparency. Together, these competing forces will drive the way we design our consumer data platform and product experience.”
Chris Patalano is CTO of realtor.com, an online platform for home buyers and sellers.
Solutions That Will Better Enable Supply Chains
“If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that there’s a need to accelerate the adoption of new technologies and SaaS tools in industries that have been historically underserved,” Kieley said. “We’re seeing a significant increase in solutions that enable better communication, collaboration and efficiency in heavy industry, manufacturing and retail, among other industries that have managed operations through manual processes. As employees were forced into lockdown, COVID-19 became a catalyst for tech adoption that not only drives business continuity among remote teams but fuels even greater performance. As we head into 2021, digital transformation will become a truly competitive market advantage.
“SourceDay serves leaders in the supply chain space who are responsible for managing relationships with suppliers on a global scale, sourcing raw materials and overseeing supply chain operations. Although these have historically been managed through manual data entry and disparate communications — Excel, email, texts, phone calls — there is a new wave of automation in the space. Tools like SourceDay, which create more efficient communications between internal teams and external vendors, are also helping supply chains operate more effectively. This is even more critical as COVID-19 has led to massive disruptions across the global supply chain.”
Tom Kieley is CEO and co-founder of SourceDay, a cloud technology platform.
“There’s always a lot of interesting and not-so-interesting technology that emerges naturally from the broader trends in society, like the video conferencing explosion with the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020,” Burleson-Davis said. “As we move into next year, and hopefully beyond the pandemic, I think companies are going to take a hard look at their DevSecOps capabilities (if they have them at all).
“The pandemic and the massive changes it caused for huge portions of the workforce, hurled most companies into a ‘deploy this now,’ ‘scale this now,’ ‘secure this now’ survival mode. As we all collectively emerge from this pandemic in 2021, most of us will have to be reflective — why was deploying securely at scale so hard or so slow? Most will find it’s because their DevSecOps muscle was weak or missing. Maybe infrastructure as code wasn’t a mindset, orchestration and configuration management tools seemed overly complex or scary, or maybe scalable public or private cloud platforms seemed out of reach. Either way, 2020 and the societal shift caused by COVID-19 was a wake-up call that we need to work on our DevSecOps capabilities and 2021 seems like a perfect opportunity to start or push those initiatives forward.
“The effect of this trend on the broader industry will primarily be on company culture. First, change control and conceptions of change control (also change, generally) will have to be both more liberal and rigorous at the same time. Company cultures will need to embrace the idea of frequent change but demand to know more about what is changing and what the impacts are from the internal stakeholders to the external ones. This also means company cultures will need to be more open, transparent, communicative and collaborative — which will certainly be harder after the work-from-office to work-from-home transitions most of us went through also happened to supercharge silos. It won’t be simple to tear those silos down as we all emerge into the post-pandemic world where we’ll have spent significant time in a headspace where ‘silo’ sounds safe, cozy and virus-free. But we will, and as we head down the path of needed cultural change with the embrace of DevSecOps, we’ll have better, safer software and teams ready for any pandemic or any [insert calamity here] curveball that comes their way.”
Joel Burleson-Davis is CTO of SecureLink, a platform for secure, remote support of enterprise software.