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Collaboration to the fore as ‘staggering’ change predicted for IT in 2021

With 2020 exposing the leaders versus the laggards in enterprise digital transformation, research shows companies intend to invest in SD-WAN and MPLS, UCaaS and CCaaS to stay competitive in 2021

While disruptive technologies rapidly replace their predecessors, IT decision-makers are still holding on to legacy systems, says the 2021 State of disruption report from Avant Analytics.

The report surveyed 500 US-based enterprise technology decision-makers at either the C-suite or management/VP level in IT, security or finance. It was designed to reveal the state of digital transformation efforts, the increased role of the trusted adviser and the rate at which disruptive technologies are replacing their predecessors.

Looking at the enterprise technology landscape in 2021 and beyond, the report’s core finding was that a number of key technologies – notably software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN), multiprotocol label switching (MPLS), unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) and contact centre-as-a-service (CCaaS) – are forecast to take centre stage in IT in 2021, paving the way for vast disruption in the IT space, said Avant.

Also, nearly half of the respondents intend to grow their usage of SD-WAN and almost three-fifths expect to increase, or significantly increase, their use of MPLS. Incredible as it seems now, many serious studies a year ago predicted hard times for UCaaS in 2020, but the new study found that customer interest in UCaaS surged by 86% at the outset of the Covid-19 crisis.

As regards CCaaS, the highest uptake and growth for the technology was found to be in the healthcare/medical vertical, with an anticipated 40% rate of displacement. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents reported working with trusted advisers to support their IT decision-making process.

While disruptive technologies rapidly replace their predecessors, said the report, enterprise IT decision-makers are still holding on to legacy systems for a variety of reasons, most notably security concerns. Just over half (56%) of respondents cited this as the reason their company has yet to switch from legacy technologies, signalling an even greater need for the trusted adviser knowledge base moving into 2021, said Avant.

It added that large-scale data breaches have dominated national headlines, but with well-advised decision-making, adoption and implementation, enterprise decision makers can mitigate most security vulnerabilities. About 70% of respondents fear that a successful security breach could cause them to lose their jobs.

Ken Presti, vice-president of research and analytics at Avant, said: “2020 exposed the leaders versus the laggards when it came to digital transformation in an enterprise setting. As IT decision-makers evaluate their success in 2020 and aim to improve in 2021, those falling behind should lean on the trusted adviser movement to enable powerful IT decisions.

“Key technologies like SD-WAN, MPLS, UCaaS and CCaaS will take centre stage in 2021, paving the way for vast disruption in the IT space. Investing in adoption of these technologies will enable businesses to recognise immense growth opportunities.”

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