Outlook good: 8 tech & talent predictions for 2021

Back in October, we surveyed our technology experts to see what they had to say about 2020’s technology solutions and digital transformation. Now that the Google searches for lyrics to Auld Lang Syne have simmered down and we’ve finally bid adieu to 2020,  we figured we’d check back in with our leaders to find out what they’re looking forward to in the coming months. 

From the mighty potential of artificial intelligence (AI) to the flexibility of the cloud to the power of compassion (or, perhaps “a cup of kindness”), Vaco’s oracles, practice leaders, and subject matter experts from across the country shook their Magic 8-balls and shared their ace predictions for the coming year.

Get ready for the top technology and talent predictions for 2021! 

Q: Will AI transform the technology landscape in 2021?
A: It is certain.

“AI will significantly impact the technology landscape for every enterprise in 2021. Enterprises will need to scale up to meet the challenge of a modern technology footprint. If they don’t, they’ll run the risk of being disadvantaged by old, traditional, complex technology that can’t support critical business functions like data management, business processes, and risk compliance.

“Innovation will be at the core of the future vision of technology implementation. AI, intelligent automation, and advanced analytics will play pivotal roles in meeting long-term objectives for enhanced — or new — business strategies.”

Sudhir Sahu | Partner | Vaco San Francisco

Q: Will organizations continue shifting operations to the cloud even after the pandemic is over?
A: It is decidedly so.

“Organizations are shifting into the cloud. In addition to the shift in the security landscape, we’re anticipating a huge push in privacy. It will probably be the top three trending elements in the industry due to the influx of data and compliance requirements. The pandemic has changed the way people work and the level of risk to an organization, essentially causing a huge disruption in traditional security methods and approaches. We see both ourselves and our clients reprioritizing dramatically and realize the importance of agility and resilience in how we approach securing the new remote perimeters.”

Michael Welch | Managing director | MorganFranklin Consulting, a Vaco company

Q: Is technology — and are technologists — the only wave of the future?
A: Don’t count on it.

“In a twist of irony, my technology prediction for 2021 and beyond is that premium wages once enjoyed exclusively by technologists will soon begin to trickle into the lowest tech roles among us: tradespeople. Of course, there will still be enormous demand for elite programming talent – someone needs to program the machines, after all. But the scarcity of carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and welders is acute, and 2020 has shown some cracks in the decades-old university system with respect to value delivered in a remote-learning environment. So keep an eye on trade schools, as well as more corporate-sponsored, post-secondary alternative education environments for technology paths.”

Steve Shoemake | Managing partner and national technology practice leader | Vaco Cincinnati

Q: Are there specific areas where healthcare IT leaders can expect to see a high ROI in 2021?
A: Signs point to yes.

“Between COVID-19, regulatory changes, evolving technologies, and managing the overall cost of healthcare, we understand the obstacles healthcare IT leaders face, and our experts want to help them stay a step ahead. Looking forward to Q1 2021, organizations will be focused on managed services, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), data analytics, revenue cycle management, electronic health records (EHR), and telehealth — and these are the areas where they’ll also see the biggest returns on their investments at a time where every dollar matters.

Rachel Marano | Managing partner & co-founder | Pivot Point Consulting, a Vaco company

Q: Is resilience the key to the kingdom in 2021?
A: Without a doubt.

“Although 2020 was a year unlike any other, our clients have continued to thrive. At Focus Search Partners, we pride ourselves on our team’s resiliency, perseverance, and laser focus on growth. The foundation on which we have built our firm –  building teams who grow companies – has allowed us to partner with our clients as they grew and navigated their organizations through the uncharted waters of 2020 and beyond. Finding the right executive talent has never been more important than it is today.”

Paul Frankenberg | Founder & managing partner | Focus Search Partners, a Vaco company 

Q: Is 2021 going to be a huge hiring year?
A: Concentrate and ask again.

“2021 could be a huge hiring year for everyone, but it’s still going to be a cautious ramp up. I do believe the traditional 8-to-5 workforce will forever be changed as a result of COVID-19. Companies have learned through this pandemic that their employees are equally as productive working from home. As a result, the talent pool will open up to many companies who will hire individuals outside their normal recruiting geographics.” 

Bradley Hewett | Managing partner | Vaco Tampa

Q: Will everyone rethink supply chains in 2021??
A: Yes, definitely.

“As we close out 2020 and look ahead to 2021, we can reflect on the challenges our supply chain community witnessed this year. COVID-19 put a bright spotlight on supply chain planning, and the need for our clients to respond quickly to changes. From stocked-out shelves to emergency production increases and massive shifts to online retail, our clients led the way. 2021 is going to be a challenging year as we normalize and Plantensive is excited to be a critical part of helping our customers respond and thrive in the new normal.”

Dan Luttner | Managing partner | Plantensive, a Vaco company 

Q: Will compassion and authenticity define the human experience in 2021?
A: You may rely on it. 

“As the way we conduct business dramatically changed — with far fewer face-to-face interactions — simplicity emerged. Conversations ignited around getting back to basics. The core of our business is people connecting people. It is easy to focus on the to-do list and it’s complexity, but in the big picture, our role in the process is as a connector and influencer. COVID-19 touched so many people, and as a community, we were forced to slow down and invest in one another this year. As we begin a new year, I hope that we continue to take  those moments and genuinely ask others how they are doing, in a meaningful authentic way, always taking a piece of 2020 with us. 

Monica Foster | Managing director, interim executive services | Focus Search Partners, a Vaco company

If you’re not quite sure what your Magic 8-ball is trying to tell you and you need some clarity, contact your auld acquaintances at Vaco. We’ll help you find the technology or talent solution that’s right for your company. In other words, we’re here to help.

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