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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