Experts at SAP Discuss Their Predictions for 2021

This past year has been a whirlwind for everyone, driven by the Coronavirus pandemic as it pushed IT trends in 2020. For 2021 COVID-19 continues to be a central story and a galvanizing force behind this year’s forecast.  Several industry experts from SAP have offered up what they see as the top trends for 2021.

“In 2021, we will continue to see a focus on data and digital?transformation. Data will be a priority for all organizations as they imagine and implement ways to take the data they have, enrich the data that is accessible, and make sense out of it. At the same time, they will be leveraging technologies?like AI (artificial intelligence) to drive process automation,” said Jan Gilg, president of SAP S/4HANA at SAP.  “In 2021, we will continue to?see?companies leverage data and intelligent?technologies also because they feel the sense of urgency to realize smart, data-driven insights that they have never had access to before without a large-scale implementation.”

Gilg also predicts supply chains will become less global and more local with an increased emphasis on resilience and less focus on cost along with organizations continuing to  transition to cloud-based services to support virtual work environments, online commerce, and other pandemic-created facts of life.

“Coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic, the push towards the cloud is the top priority for all businesses, making more important the need for data and application integration and extension a must as lines of business leaders choose a mix of SaaS applications and vendors,” said Dan Lahl, global VP, SAP product marketing.

In order for this transformation to happen smoothly and timely, customers, partners and - not least – developers need access to a single, unified business technology platform focusing on agility and flexibility that unites data and analytics, apps, business processes, intelligent technologies like AI/ML/RPA, and more, Lahl said.

“While IT leaders have routinely increased their tech investments with an eye toward more speed and efficiency, COVID-19 only accelerated this momentum by exposing organizations’ inherent weaknesses when confronted with sudden workforce shifts,” said Rocky Subramanian, senior vice president and managing director, SAP.  “Looking ahead to 2021 and beyond, it’s not necessarily the technology itself that will make the biggest impact on a company’s success, but rather how well organizations deploy and manage their digital solutions.  In short, the success of a digital strategy hinges on the organization’s larger people strategy: recruiting, retaining and reinventing the right talent to manage their technology investments.”

Lloyd Adams, SVP and managing director, East, SAP believes Chief Data Officers will grow in prominence.

“As software continues shifting product-oriented business models to services-focused offerings, new data streams created by this shift will call for greater investment in CDO organization structures. Equal pressure will be placed on CIOs to help orchestrate this shift, specifically in areas like total cost of ownership,” Adams said.

2021 will be a defining year for hybrid cloud, balancing growing concerns over cybersecurity and data governance with the need to rapidly innovate and deliver new business models, Adams noted.

“True value in the cloud will come from vertical industry-specific solutions. The days of one-size-fits-all cloud are over; because of this, technology providers will have to double down on success story amplification and references that help new customers find similar success,” said Adams.