Workspace Technologies: What to expect in 2021

January 5, 2021

The IT landscape is in a constant state of change. Whether it’s still seen as a supportive administrative function, an enabler of digital transformation, or an integral touchpoint woven within everyday interactions, it is critically important to stay on top of the latest technology evolutions.

In 2020, we saw that work has become increasingly mobile and fluid; more and more people are working remotely, and technology has had to be more responsive and dynamic than ever before. Having the right technology is a keystone to what businesses can do. It can aid innovation, augment your potential, and most crucially, allow you to work more efficiently and save time.

For 2021 then, learning and adapting to the changes last year threw at us is key. It’s a year for investment and rebuilding, and using workspace technology to drive forward digital transformation projects by transforming processes and workflows. Here are my thoughts on what to expect in the new year:

Workspaces are changing

Thinking about the workplace in a different way will be key to ensuring innovation continues to help businesses thrive and progress forward. And if you hadn’t already guessed, the first change we should be making is thinking of a workplace less as a physical place, and more of workspaces which adapt to your daily working needs. The office doesn’t go away, but it will evolve to take on a hub and spoke approach, where people will work in one place and join together for bigger, collaborative events in another.

To support this, we’re going to see an increasing investment in building tools that allow for simpler, better connectivity between on-premise data centers and the cloud. These IT investments are all about meeting the employee where they are at the moment. Technology will need to address the challenges of exponential data growth, while also being proactive on issues such as security, hybrid cloud and everything-as-a-service.

Looking to the future of cloud computing

We have seen that companies running the bulk of their computing in the cloud survived last year’s move to mobile work better than those trying to access systems in their office. But that’s not to say that everything should be running in the cloud. There are many reasons why a hybrid approach makes sense for most businesses, with some capabilities in the cloud and some functions remaining on premises.

Ultimately, most importantly is ensuring your cloud strategy is secure no matter what approach you take. To do this, the key drivers are questions around speed and cost, the readiness of legacy application for the cloud, as well as compliance and regulatory requirements. These are not always easy to answer, and the decision-making parameters will change over time. So, what’s critical is to have a partner that can help you decide on the right strategy and pace of evolution to keep your systems running and your employees working.

A more secure 2021

In the space of a minute, 375 new threats emerge, three new phishing sites are created, over 16,000 records are compromised, and a new form of ransomware is demanding ransoms from a vulnerable business. That’s been the reality of 2020, and it’s been tough. And let’s not forget the risk of people: naive employees clicking on the wrong things, simply due to lack of proper training to avoid phishing and ransomware attacks and only amplified by the lesser-protected networks of working remotely. The combination of all of those things can bring down any enterprise, no matter what size.

So looking to the new year, security should be the tip of the spear when any company is protecting their organization, and that requires taking an end-to-end approach. Being defensive is no longer enough; businesses should create an offensive plan of how to best protect their organization and put the right controls in place for a safe and secure working environment.

IT-as-a-service, the ongoing trend

For some organizations, ‘as-a-Service’ offerings that combine hardware, software and services traditionally sold separately into a single offering have already become the norm. But the change we will see next year is making the switch to Managed Services for businesses of all sizes.

The software technology that can deliver real value tomorrow will offer bespoke solutions customized to each business’s unique data and business needs today. Accordingly, the focus in 2021 will not be on finding pre-packaged codes and bundles. Instead, it will be on utilizing data-centric computing to provide personalized consultancy.

Why this matters for you

I get it, every year there are trend lists and learnings to try and keep up with, and there’s not a single perfect IT product or service that is going to fit every single customer. But it’s still important to investigate what does work for you, your customers and the way your business is changing.

This is because smart companies are thinking people-first. People – as in customers – to make sure investments support the end goal and add value, but also people as in your own employees. Many businesses suffer from a digital disconnect between how business leaders and employees perceive the future of work. If the disconnect continues unchecked, leaders risk failing to realize the benefits of a technology enabled world. People are the common denominator to everything, and managing the workforce of the future is going to be the biggest challenge that no one is talking about. It’s a delicate effort that requires support and having the right tools in place.

Rethink the future of work

The ideal IT environment is an agile one. As a technology company, Konica Minolta is here to help support you find the best environment for you. To help empower your employees and teams to work better, to work more effectively, build interconnectivity between siloes, and speed up the feedback loop to help businesses make decisions faster. This is how we rethink the future of work.

Nick Pegley
Senior Vice President, Channel Sales Engagement

Nick is responsible for global go-to-market strategies for the Konica Minolta Digital Workplace business unit, with a primary focus on the innovative new Workplace Hub portfolio. His team builds new business strategies and channel models to be able to bring solutions to a broad range of customer types, to help them simplify their IT. Nick is focused on helping companies achieve their business goals through better management of information and more effective collaboration. Nick has lived and worked in the UK, Switzerland, France and the US.