Gartner’s Top Strategic Tech Trends For 2021: The Role of DevOps

CIOs and other senior executives pay special attention to one of the most comprehensive lists of trends published by Gartner every year. This time too, during Gartner IT Symposium, which was held virtually due to COVID-19 pandemic, analysts presented their findings. Just like the pandemic reshaped the conference, it has also reformed the trends, as several of these are effected due to or will be accentuated to a greater extent in view of the pandemic that the world is currently facing. Gartner vice president, Brian Burke, reported the mobile app  technology trends for 2021, grouping the main trends into three categories namely people centricity, location independence, and resilient delivery.

People Centricity:

Even though the pandemic has transformed how many people work and communicate with organizations, people are still at the epicenter of all businesses and they need digitalized processes to operate in today’s environment.

Location Independence:

COVID-19 has changed where employees, customers, suppliers, and organizational ecosystems physically occur. Location independence entails a technology shift to back this new version of business.

Resilient Delivery:

Regardless of a pandemic or a recession, volatility subsists in the world. Businesses that are primed to evolve and adapt will endure all types of disruptions. Needless to say, rather than operating independently, these nine strategic technology trends are built on and reinforce each other. An overarching theme for these trends is Combinatorial Innovation. Collectively they facilitate organizational plasticity that will help steer organizations in the next 5-10 years.

  1. Internet of Behaviors

The Internet of Behaviors (or IOB) implies taking advantage of data to change behaviors. This compiles data from both the digital and physical worlds to inspire actions and behaviors via feedback loops. The report also mentions an inclusive list of various sources of data which are commercially available customer data, residents’ data processed by PSUs and government agencies, social media, public domain dispositions of facial recognition, and location tracking. The report also emphasizes some of the confounding issues related to IoB, including social and moral insinuations that must be taken into consideration.

  1. Total Experience

Total experience merges customer experience, user experience, employee experience, and eventually multi-experience to influence and alter business outcomes. The intersection of these experiences can be enhanced with technology, and it facilitates companies to take benefit of disruptive facets of the ongoing pandemic such as distributed customers, remote work, virtual and mobile.

  1. Privacy-enhancing Computation:

Privacy-enhancing computation concentrates on 3 technologies that protect data while it is used. The first one ensures a trusted environment in which sensitive data can be analyzed and processed. The second one carries out analytics and processing in a decentralized manner. The third one encrypts data and algorithms prior to analytics or processing. Gartner emphasizes that this trend lets organizations “to collaborate on research securely across regions and with competitors without surrendering confidentiality. This approach is designed precisely for the growing need to share data whilst upholding privacy or security.”

  1. Distributed Cloud

Distributed cloud denotes cloud services being dispersed to various physical locations, however, the responsibility for the operation, control and evolution, remains with the public cloud provider. By having these organizations’ services physically adjacent, dormancy is reduced as well as the costs of data, allowing to confirm compliance with laws that dictate data must remain in a particular geographical region. As per Gartner, distributed cloud is the future of cloud technology.

  1. Anywhere Operations

Anywhere operations is a model that has been highlighted amidst the COVID-19 crisis, and will continue to thrive after the pandemic is over. Given the fact that more business appears to be done remotely, this model enables business being done anywhere. The report observes that digital should be the default for businesses all the time. Moreover, the physical spaces that persist should be digitally augmented.

  1. Cyber security Mesh

The threat landscape increases with a remote workforce, and the cyber security mesh proposes increased security to support this new reality. Cyber security mesh enables the identity of a person or thing to outline the security perimeter. Centralized policy transposition and policy enforcement enable a more receptive security approach.

  1. Intelligent composable business:

Intelligent composable businesses can acclimatize and reorganize themselves according to changes to the business. The frequency of change is continuously increasing, and this will continue to propel a faster pace for digital transformation. Data needs to be available in a timely manner to facilitate the agility necessary to thrive in this environment.

  1. AI Engineering

To make the most out of artificial intelligence (AI) investments entails a strong AI engineering approach to driver scalability, enhanced performance, dependability, and interpretability of AI models. Various companies have faced issues with AI projects because of governance, adaptability, and sustainability. AI engineering impels AI to be an element of DevOps instead of being something distinct from it. By employing a multi-discipline, multi-AI-technique strategy, a well- defined path to benefit from AI projects can be attained.

  1. Hyperautomation

Hyperautomation, the number one trend featured in Gartner’s predictions for 2020, observes that everything that can be automated should be. In the absence of

hyperautomation, companies with inherited business processes that are not rationalized will endure costly and wide-ranging issues because of this inefficient approach.

Combinatorial Innovation:

Combinatorial innovation, an industry term, refers to the use of several technology functions, instead of a single technology stack, and inventing new business capabilities by logically and ingeniously integrating them. The key proposition of combinatorial innovation is tailored integration of technology functions. Combinatorial innovation can partly correlate to the invention process.

Difference between Combinatorial Innovation and Invention: The difference between invention and combinatorial innovation has to do with the methodology towards the concluding product or services. In the invention process, originality takes the center stage, i.e. the concept of the invention should be unique. Whereas with combinatorial innovation, the new product or service can be a combination of various old ideas. The final product comprises combining these established ideas in a creative, efficient, practical, and flexible way to tackle pre-determined use cases.

How DevOps facilitates Combinatorial Innovation?

DevOps is the cement that connects Gartner’s nine technology trends. It brings uniformity and facilitates determined and purposeful implementation of combinatorial innovation to deliver perceptible business benefits. In the DevOps approach of working, everything employees do is devised in the direction of the anticipated business outcome. In the majority of cases, this results in more satisfied customers. To accomplish this, products need to adjust swiftly to ever-changing customer requirements and online experiences must be dependable, secure and spontaneous. This is very much associated with the overall experience trend, but this also goes beyond that. The implementation of DevOps principles allows the business to happen to be intelligently composable with product development deeply imbibed in customer perception and feedback. Software delivery is also augmented, partially via hyper automation, but also due to the reason that developers and operations engineers work more conjunctly and astronomically with mutual responsibility for success. Cyber security is also boosted through automated updates.

Furthermore, as operations engineers have less labor and inadvertent work to struggle with, they are able to focus more on innovative security measures and more advanced delivery of Anywhere Operations.

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