The birth of the good robots, death of the on-premises server and other tech trends of 2021

Technology was the clear winner of 2020. Modern workplace solutions enabled the entire globe to move forward and overcome pandemic-induced obstacles. So, what happens now? Where is technology taking us in 2021? Here are our top tech trends to look out for.

#1: RIP physical servers as virtual machines take over

Whilst Cloud technology expedited its quest for dominance last year, 2021 will be the proverbial nail in the coffin for on-premises servers.

“Businesses are increasingly seeing the benefits of Cloud managed environments. With solutions like Microsoft 365 which offer unparalleled security, it is hard to make an argument in favour of a clunky, expensive, and insecure on-premises server,” says Travis Carter, Director, Retrac.

#2: The birth of the good robots (sort of)

One of the major attractions of running a Cloud environment is the ability to automate time consuming paper processes. Business automation enables both small teams and entire organisations to streamline processes.

“Automation has been popular for a while, but we are now seeing businesses embrace automation internally. Often internal process is a bit of a basket case, people often run disparate systems that don’t integrate. By introducing more automation organisations can refine their operations to become smoother and more effective,” notes Travis.

Examples of simple automation for Cloud users include replacing completing expense forms with an automated Microsoft Form.

“You can create a single online entry point and then have Microsoft Automate do the task in the background before triggering further actions or approvals. By connecting Microsoft Lists with Microsoft Automate and forms, you can also update records in your CRM or ERP system and free up staff time to focus on core business tasks,” adds Travis.

Other popular workplace automations include:

  • Using QR codes to monitor stock room access and levels
  • Automated leave forms that alert a Director for approval / sign off
  • Expense form using receipts photos and integration with MYOB, XERO etc.

 

#3: Rise of AI in the workplace

In addition to an uptake in automation, businesses will also start to bring more intelligence into their data. Simple workplace AI functions like Microsoft’s Cortana can help staff increase productivity and stay atop of tasks.

“Businesses need to realise the potential of AI and how it can be used in our work. Cortana advises individuals if they have overdue tasks or emails to respond to and prompts the user to book focus time to get work done,” says Travis.

With an increase in AI in consumer life, it is now being organically accepted and adopted within the workplace. Whether you start by using pre-made tools like Cortana, or use similar technology to customise a database, used correctly AI can make intelligent suggestions about what is going on in your business.

#4: Levelling up your investment

Organisations who moved to a Cloud environment under pandemic pressure, or to resolve a single issue like email, are now looking to maximise their investments and reap the full benefits of being in the Cloud.

Because of this appetite, workplace transformation is likely to happen in some shape or form in all organisations in 2021. Whether that be automation, AI, or replacing point solutions with Cloud based alternatives covered by existing subscriptions. Finding the value in your cloud subscriptions has never been more important.

#5: Outsource to get the right resource

In order to maximise investments, organisations need tech-savvy specialists to guide and train staff in the use of new tools and systems. With technology changing so rapidly it is hard to find the necessary skills in a single in-house resource. As a result, expect to see more and more businesses shift to an outsourced, managed service provider (MSP) model.

“With new releases constantly occurring, it is very difficult to find an IT generalist with the right (and evolving) skills and knowledge around new Cloud tech. Without this expertise, teams can’t dip their toes in the automation water, create their own PowerApps or even come close to reaping the full benefits of Cloud,” says Travis.

In order to get the guidance, advice and ongoing management needed, organisations are looking to providers like Retrac to deliver expert and reliable tech direction.

#6: Trust in tech takes a tumble

One trend that all businesses and technology providers alike should be aware of is the current fragility of trust in technology.

“I think this is the flipside of the good robots. Documentaries like The Social Dilemma have shone a light on how data and information are accessed and used. If you are not paying for a product the likelihood these days is that you are the product,” warns Travis.

Whilst blind faith in technology may be a thing of the past, confidence in subscription services like Microsoft 365 remain high because it provides assurance and confidence to users that their information is secure.

“Ultimately, you need to build a culture of trust within your organisation and using technology incorrectly can undermine that in the same way that having the wrong staff or partner can,” says Travis.

It’s time to get on trend

Looking at these trends collectively it is clear to see that in order to succeed you need to have a reliable and trusted expert on your team.

“Last year was the year for crazy. Now we all want less crazy and more stability. Businesses want to go work and be able to get on with it,” adds Travis.

Retrac is a trusted modern workplace speciality MSP. Retrac’s Complete Cloud is a comprehensive, intelligent solution that empowers everyone to be creative and work together, securely. Our team of experts can help you level up your Cloud experience, streamline process and secure your environment moving forward.  Contact us today to understand how Retrac can help your business get on trend in 2021.

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