These 5 Predictions for 2021 Support a Hybrid Agenda

January 20, 2021

Digital transformation, local edge, 5G and the future of work are top themes of the New Year for the Flexential executive team.

The year 2020 was full of lessons learned. With the workforce moving home, issues around security, bandwidth and connectivity abounded. These challenges gave organizations a new perspective on IT. Technology requirements are changing, and it’s now clear that digital infrastructures need to change, too, in order to work better in the future. Organizations should embrace a hybrid agenda consisting of colocation, cloud and managed services to enable digital transformation and the future of work. Here are five predictions from Flexential executives around the top technology trends that we can expect in 2021.

Digital Transformation

Flexential CEO Chris Downie expects the acceleration of interest for digital transformation, driven by goals for hybrid IT and multi-cloud architectures, that will lead to continued growth for the data center market. “In 2020, digital infrastructure that is mission-critical for businesses was required to be more geographically dispersed and more connected than ever before, as every company had to navigate the needs for a more remote workforce,” said Downie. “We expect to see continued market growth in 2021, as 5G, IoT devices and AI applications demand the highest levels of connectivity.”

Local Edge

According to Ryan Mallory, chief operating officer, Colocation Services, “Access to consistently available, high-quality connectivity is not a given for many who live outside of heavily populated areas, and as people migrate out of cities for more space and more cost-effective living options, application accessibility and responsiveness has never been more important. Data center infrastructure that supports the local edge will play a critical role in supporting the connectivity needs of people across the country in the coming year.”

Smarter Cities with 5G

Jason Carolan, chief innovation officer at Flexential, expects technology innovation to spread far beyond the walls of the office. “The acceleration of 5G wireless network deployment this year will allow cities to come closer to realizing their smart vision in 2021, as they leverage 5G’s faster connections, reliability and high capacity,” said Carolan. “Be on the lookout for 5G making cities smarter in many ways—for example, offering connected driverless robots the ability to safely deliver food, medicine and other goods. Cities will start using 5G to update city maps on a minute-by-minute basis including those pesky construction sites, moving to even more real-time updates to improve critical traffic flow. 5G will step in to feed precise details into the cloud for instantaneous map updates so you (or those robots and drones) will never get lost again.”

The Future of Work

Mike Fuhrman, chief operating officer of Cloud and Managed Services, expects this new normal of remote work to drive an increase in virtualized technology adoption in the coming year. “Desktop-as-a-Service” (DaaS) technology will continue to grow in 2021,” says Fuhrman. “This technology allows organizations to host the same desktops they previously had in traditional office environments virtually via cloud environments, and ensures all employees have consistent, secure access to information when they need it, from any device. As IT budgets remain tight into 2021, this technology also eliminates the need for organizations to invest in traditionally expensive hardware.”

Disaster Recovery

While the COVID-19 pandemic was not foreseen by most organizations, Flexential chief revenue officer Pat Doherty believes as we look ahead to 2021, businesses will put a greater emphasis on ensuring they are prepared for disasters of all kinds in the future. “While IT budgets may be tight in the new year, I expect IT departments to double down on their business resiliency investments,” said Doherty. “With this, adoption of Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) will continue to grow. To effectively carry out their disaster recovery strategy, organizations will also put a renewed focus on employee user education, including cybersecurity awareness. For employees to understand the risk of downtime and data loss, they must know what could happen if they don’t use the corporate VPN, a secure router, update their passwords or click on a suspicious email.”

Chris Downie, Chief Executive Officer, Board Member

Chris Downie

Chief Executive Officer, Board Member

Chris, who joined Flexential in 2016, is responsible for setting and managing the strategic priorities of the company to drive profitability and growth.

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