Preparing for the future: The 2020s will demand more from your tech

If ever there was a decade that announced itself so defiantly in the first year, it’s the 2020s. With so much change and volatility already, 2020 has proven this decade will be dramatically different than the one before it. It’s imperative that IT and business leaders prepare for 10 years unlike any others. 

For IT and business leaders, success in the 2010s meant capitalizing on innovative commercial IT (think cloud and mobile). As the decade went on, many of those firms began leveraging the same commercial platforms — now looking and feeling very similar to their customers. Forward-thinking organizations began examining how digital differentiation could give them a leg up and then — wham! — 2020 came in with a bang.

In only a few months, business models were flipped on their heads. The coronavirus pandemic, economic downturns, the rise of values-based consumers, and increasing climate issues forced most businesses to pivot to new, mostly digital, models quickly this year. 

In case it’s not clear by now: What worked in the 2010s will not work in the 2020s as we see business shift from global toward hyperlocal operations. So what will work? 

For starters, every business role must incorporate systemic risk into long-term planning. For future-fit IT leaders, the risks aren’t limited to the data center or network outages. Today’s risks include rapidly changing consumer trends that require digital pivots, increasingly complex security concerns, the ethical use of AI, and the increasing impacts of climate change. 

Feeling overwhelmed? Well, the good news is there are a number of emerging technologies that can help your organization identify and address these risks as well as create competitive advantage through disruptive innovation. A few examples include: 

  • Employee privacy software that leverages the downpour of employee data without infringing on employee trust 
  • AI that is learning how to code enterprise software and changing firms’ organizational structures 
  • Cloud-native technology that helps you innovate with software everywhere, especially at the edge 
  • Software dedicated to analyzing climate risk to evaluate your individual organization’s risk 
  • Robotic process automation that can scale back-office processes for increased resiliency 

Aligning your tech stack to address the highest risks to your organization and pursue the right innovations will be the differentiator for future-fit firms in the 2020s. Here at Forrester, we’re truly practicing what we preach. Specifically, we are: 

  • Leveraging new technology platforms and models to deliver our research and insights to clients more efficiently in formats that let you decide how you want to learn from us. For example, each of the links above will take you to a short-form story explaining an important technology trend in video and text. Each further provides direction on the most important emerging technologies to invest in, along with a link to our research to learn more. 
  • In the spirit of more insight faster, we are moving from an annual trends and technologies report cadence to twice a year, with new trends and emerging tech updates published in between.  
  • Lastly, to start planning your roadmap for the decade ahead, our upcoming event, Technology & Innovation Global, will dive deep into a number of these trends in a keynote panel I will be hosting. We will also feature a number of breakout sessions from our top analysts. At that event, we’ll demonstrate our next generation of emerging technology and trends research tools, so please join us! 

This post was written by VP, Principal Analyst Brian Hopkins, and it originally appeared here. 

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