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National tech day: our predictions for what's ahead

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National Technology Day recognizes the ways in which technology changed the world and looks to the future of tech. From the light bulb and radio to smartphones and electric cars, #NationalTechnologyDay celebrates technologies that are now staples in our personal and professional lives. But what’s next? We interviewed our tech experts and resident thought leaders to gain their perspectives about technology’s next darlings.

Angela Hurt, CEO

As the founder and CEO of Veracity Consulting, Angela knows a thing (or two) about how technology can drive business transformation. After all, she founded Veracity to help businesses, people and the Kansas City community excel through the power of technology, transparency and authenticity.

So, what does she consider one of the biggest trends to drive business innovation this year? Digital transformation. Sure, it may be a phrase or a philosophy discussed in years past, but Angela says due to the global pandemic, businesses are now forced to adopt new technologies as most of the workforce continues to work from home and consumers become more digitally-savvy.

“For a brief period, COVID-19 nearly halted work. IT departments, business leaders and key departments – from HR and marketing to technology – had to press pause on existing initiatives and strategies to ensure their workforce was set up for remote success,” Hurt said. “For many businesses, this put immense pressure to update archaic core technologies not built for this massive digital shift.”

This year, Angela predicts digital transformation will take center stage as businesses, ranging from financial institutions and insurance firms to health care organizations, shift their focus to the “total experience.”

“Forget about a great customer experience; it’s now about the total experience,” Hurt said. “To achieve optimum performance and exceed business goals, organizations are most focused on ensuring all their constituents – from customers and employees to investors – have a seamless digital experience, from anywhere in the world at any time of the day.”

Angela adds that as part of this trend, IT departments will also experience a transformation of their own.

“Many of our clients have told us that as they prepare to launch digital transformation projects, IT departments are no longer going to be thought of as ‘support,’” said Hurt. “These teams will now be a key contributor to the overall business strategy and will be required to help drive revenue, faster.”

Scott Thompson, Senior Management Consultant

Scott leads Veracity’s business intelligence and data strategy efforts, and he predicts this year is all about automation and AI everywhere. Efficiency and predictability are key attributes of this technology that data scientists, BI teams and technologists alike will continue to prioritize into 2021 and beyond.

As a result, processes like Robotic Process Automation (RPA) will become more mainstream for B2C and B2B companies.

“The global pandemic and the increase in remote work shed light into all hundreds if not thousands of digital touchpoints employees and customers can have in a day,” said Thompson. “This helped business leaders and IT departments uncover where they can automate routine tasks in order to improve customer and employee service while optimizing their workforce.”

Scott adds that as more businesses automate these manual processes, it will help them boost innovation.

“Time is the most valuable commodity we have,” said Thompson. “Automating tasks such as data entry or time entry gives employees an extra half hour or more in their day, and that adds up week over week. This allows for more strategic work, driving innovation while reaching peak performance.”

Brian Prosser, Director, Alliances and Channels

Brian leads our channel partnerships and alliances. This means he has a constant pulse about top business strategies across the federal and commercial sectors based on conversations with major software vendors and technology providers.  

The theme is consistent: automation; automation; automation. It’s no surprise given so many businesses are striving to deepen their relationships with employees and customers in order to increase revenue and drive value.

“As we enter a post-COVID era, businesses are going to invest in technologies that reduce the need to invest in multiple platforms,” said Prosser. “Businesses are looking for solutions that consolidate fragmented systems, bringing synergy across all departments and teams to achieve a holistic approach to performance and the customer experience.”

How do organizations get there?

"It starts with investing in automation tools and business intelligence solutions, such as machine learning and predictive analytics” said Prosser. “By removing manual processes, employees are able to focus on projects and activities that drive growth and business value versus tedious tasks with minimal return.”

Brian also says we can expect a new normal as it relates to how we work. There will be a hybrid model as offices reopen, which means we can see more opportunities in cyber security and governance solutions to adjust for this model.

John Dickerson, Director, Cybersecurity

John is one of Veracity’s infrastructure architects and cybersecurity subject matter expert. It’s no surprise that as nearly 42 percent of the workforce continues to work from home (via Stanford), computer hacking continues to rise.

This is a trend we’ll continue to see this year, says Dickerson. This means businesses need to ensure their IT budgets include investments in risk assessments, multi-factor authentication tools and products that better detect cybercrimes and phishing scams before they become true threats.

“There needs to be a major focus on and investment in cloud-based cybersecurity” said Dickerson. “Data protection and information security are the top priorities as organizations move to the cloud, and we will see increased innovation in our ability to protect and detect threats—both internally and externally.”

While more businesses migrate to the cloud, there also comes more opportunity in IoT and connected “everything.” There will be an explosion of data businesses can leverage for analysis, modeling and prediction, adds Dickerson. The result is ubiquitous AI that will drive major innovation across the federal and commercial sectors.

“Think about this,” said Dickerson. “Our smartphones wouldn’t be so ‘smart’ unless they could connect to the Internet via the cloud. The opportunities are very exciting as you can provision and implement large projects that require major computing resources in a shorter period.”

But of course, businesses must weigh their need to innovate with their focus on security in order to prevent potential disasters. It's all a balancing act.

Looking Ahead

Whether you plan to digitally transform or ensure your team is equipped to work remote, there are many opportunities for businesses to thrive this year with the proper investment in technology and business strategy. This will ensure we can navigate 2021 successfully, no matter the curveballs thrown our way (let’s just hope it’s not a repeat of 2020).

About Veracity Consulting

Veracity is a technology consulting team of trusted advisors ready to deliver unique solutions to your toughest business challenges. Our clients know they can lean on us as we bridge the gap between business and technology, while always staying transparent and authentic—simply doing the right thing. Our innate curiosity means we can help commercial and federal clients envision the future in an innovative way, working together to build a road map to success.