Gartner identifies top strategic technology trends for 2021

Gartner, Inc. has announced the top strategic technology trends that organisations need to explore in 2021. Analysts presented their findings during Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo Americas, which took place virtually last week.

“The need for operational resiliency across enterprise functions has never been greater,” said Mr Brian Burke, Research Vice President at Gartner.

“CIOs are striving to adapt to changing conditions to compose the future business.This requires the organisational plasticity to form and reform dynamically. Gartner’s top strategic technology trends for 2021 enable that plasticity.

“As organisations journey from responding to the COVID-19 crisis to driving growth, they must focus on the three main areas that form the themes of this year’s trends: people centricity, location independence and resilient delivery. Taken together, these trends create a whole that is larger than its individual parts and focus on social and personal demand from anywhere to achieve optimal delivery.”

The top strategic technology trends for 2021, according to Gartner, are: the internet of behaviours (IoB) which it said is emerging as many technologies capture and use the “digital dust” of peoples’ daily lives. The IoB combines existing technologies that focus on the individual directly – facial recognition, location tracking and big data for example – and connects the resulting data to associated behavioral events, such as cash purchases
or device usage.

Organisations, according to the report, use this data to influence human behaviour. For example, to monitor compliance with health protocols during the ongoing pandemic, organisations might leverage IoB via computer vision to see whether employees are wearing masks or via thermal imaging to identify those with a fever.

Gartner predicts that by year-end 2025, over half of the world’s population will be subject to at least one IoB programme, whether it be commercial or governmental.

While the IoB is technically possible, there will be extensive ethical and societal debates about the different approaches employed to affect behavior.

“Last year, Gartner introduced multiexperience as a top strategic technology trend and is taking it one step further this year with total experience (TX), a strategy that connects multiexperience with customer, employee and user experience disciplines,” said Burke.

“Gartner expects organizations that provide a TX to outperform competitors across key satisfaction metrics over the next three years,” he added.

He added that organisations need a TX strategy as interactions become more mobile, virtual and distributed,
mainly due to COVID-19.

TX strives to improve the experiences of multiple constituents to achieve a transformed business outcome. These intersected experiences are key moments for businesses recovering from the pandemic that are looking to achieve
differentiation via capitalising on new experiential disruptors.

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