2021 Predictions: Powering Web 3.0, Lean AI, Post-COVID Business, and More

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Manjusha Madabushi.

It’ll be difficult for the events of any New Year to match the astronomical changes that took place over the past 12 months. Nevertheless, 2021 will surely see a number of developments that, although less momentous, will prove highly significant for the core areas of Data Management and technology impacting businesses today.

What will surprise organizations, however, is which technologies (like blockchain) will increase adoption and which approaches (like microservices) will decline to meet the automation imperatives of contemporary businesses. Those who act on these developments before their competitors will enjoy a newfound ability to strategically fulfill mission-critical objectives with unparalleled efficiency.

Blockchain Will Power Web 3.0

The web will undergo a major transformation lasting well beyond 2021, courtesy of blockchain. With its consensus-based approach, this distributed ledger technology will play a fundamental role in decentralizing the web. Blockchain will be the driving force behind Web 3.0 and the semantic web, resulting in a couple of key advantages. It’ll fortify a highly connected web with improved security while providing decentralized advantages of decreasing unequal power consolidation of any one entity.

Startups Will Adopt a “Lean AI” Approach 

Lean AI will become a mainstay for startups this year. This AI concept begins by utilizing traditional statistical and rule-based approaches for problem-solving. The goal is to adopt machine learning methods and deep neural networks as startups scale, and more data is collected, improving decision-making.

Extracting Insights Without Challenging Privacy Regulations Will Go Mainstream

Organizations will devise ways to extract AI insights while complying with privacy regulations. Multi-party computation (MPC) techniques and ML algorithms over encrypted data will move from academic research to mainstream business applications in 2021. With increasing privacy regulations, these techniques will find more takers for their ability to deliver useful insights while maintaining acceptable data privacy.

Low-Code/No-Code Platforms Will Consume 30 Percent of IT Budgets

More organizations will opt for low-code and no-code platforms instead of investing in developer teams for small and medium complex IT implementations. These tools allow end-users without coding skills to stitch together workflows, automate processes, and try new things. Enterprises and entrepreneurs will allocate anywhere from 30 to 40 percent of IT budgets for these platforms, which is more cost-effective than hiring IT specialists to code everything. Although these tools might not offer the best user experience, they empower end-users with self-service automation.

Microservices Adoption Will Diminish

Microservices adoption will recede in 2021 — especially for use cases in which time, cost, and quality are prioritized. Microservices architecture has long been over-hyped, resulting in unnecessary complexities that delay time to value, escalate costs, and diminish application quality. Prudent organizations will only leverage it with large technology teams for use cases in which business agility trumps this triad of concerns.

Post-COVID Business: Face-to-Face Work Will Return with a Focus on Collaboration

Remote work during the COVID-19 era demonstrates how much more valuable face-to-face team interactions are for collaboration, efficiency, and innovation. Once the crisis subsides, most businesses will resume these collaborative efforts in person to make teams more productive by working towards goals instead of individual tasks. This fine difference requires in-person interactions.

From the fundamentals of how the web works to modern issues of artificial intelligence and data privacy that define our times, technology will continue to evolve to protect consumers, empower business users, and improve efficiency with various forms of automation. Current Data Management best practices indicate as much.

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