Jamf Blog
December 15, 2020 by Dean Hager

Embracing the new normal; 2021 tech predictions from Jamf CEO

2020 taught us to embrace change and proved that technology will play a defining role in the productivity and satisfaction of employees, students and healthcare patients. So what's in store for 2021? Let's find out.

2020 has been a year like no other. The COVID-19 global pandemic threw a curve to nearly every person, business, school and healthcare organization in the world, forcing us to socially distance for the health and safety of ourselves and others.

2021 will obviously be hugely impacted by the events of 2020 and in my opinion, that’s a good thing. We’ve learned what we’re capable of and the role technology can play in keeping us connected yet protected.

Here are four areas that I predict will define technology in 2021:

  1. Technology experience and employee experience become synonymous
  2. Perception of technology industry changes
  3. Provider to customer connections are redefined
  4. Apple-specific security solutions become necessity

1. Technology experience and employee experience become synonymous

The remote workforce trend was already gaining momentum prior to 2020, and for good reason:

Employees are more productive at home

  • Harvard Business Review: At-home employees perform 50% more tasks through their own initiative, spend 12% less time drawn into large meetings, and 9% more time interacting with customers and external partners.
  • Prodoscore: Employee production was up 47% year-over-year from March and April 2019 (during the height of work-from-home mandates).

Telecommuters report higher job satisfaction

  • Amerisleep: Remote workers were 57% more likely to be satisfied with their jobs than the average American.
  • Leadership IQ: Mobile workers – those with the option to work in the office or at home – were 58% more likely to love their jobs than their exclusively office-based peers.

Enterprises save money when staff works remotely

  • Global Workplace Analytics: 6 out of 10 employers identify cost savings as a major benefit of telecommuting. The average real estate savings with full-time telework is $10,000 per employee, per year.

Offering remote positions makes a company more competitive

  • getAbstract: 43% of full-time employees in America want to work remote even once the pandemic passes.
  • American Workplace Report: 37% say they would switch to a job that gave them the ability to work off-site at least part of the time.

With data already trending towards a remote workforce, the global pandemic showed what was possible when organizations’ hands were forced. How successful enterprises and their employees were when push came to shove was all contingent on the technology and workflows they had in place.

As such, I anticipate a doubling-down on top-notch technology in 2021 to enhance the employee experience — be it for in-office, at-home or hybrid workers. With technology being the primary means of production for modern employees, what they hold in their hands directly impacts their work experience. This means employees want a say in the hardware and software they leverage, commonly referred to as an employee-choice program.

And when given a choice, 72% of employees choose Mac over PC. This has resulted in Apple’s presence in the enterprise to steadily grow, which has led to many organizations being tasked with managing and securing Apple devices for the first time. This can be seen as a tall order, especially with a dispersed workforce.

In 2021, to deliver the best technology and employee experience, more organizations will partner with Apple Enterprise Management providers, so they are able to offer the native Apple experience users love while filling the gap of management, compliance and security their enterprise requires.

2. Perception of the technology industry changes

While the technology industry drives innovation and forward thinking, it all too often enforces the stereotype that the industry is not necessarily for all: branding it geeky, confusing, boring, and oftentimes very homogenous.

But this brand issue is stalling innovation. As Gen Z and Millennials enter and lead the industry, companies are expected to prioritize inclusion and diversity. 2021 will mark the much-needed beginning of an industry rebrand, as organizations recognize that inclusion of unique experiences and perspectives is the root of innovation.

3. Provider to customer connections are redefined

2020 transformed technology across all industries and went from an innovative tool to a mandatory requirement to keep employees safe, customers served, and economic stability sustained. Despite the uncertainty COVID-19 brings, organizations need to think about how they can best utilize tech to reach and engage with their customers in streamlined and new ways.

In 2021, we’ll see every industry put technology between human-to-human contact. Devices will become the new connector to improve the experience, help with safety and improve overall efficiencies.

In education, students (customer) will use education technology to reach their teacher (provider) and learn as effectively whether they’re 10 feet or 10 miles away from their in-person classroom.

In healthcare, organizations and doctors (provider) will focus on bringing in technology that allows for safe and seamless telehealth, along with real-time monitoring from devices that better empower patients (customer) to be served from home.

In hospitality, hotels (provider) will provide guests (customer) with technology to enhance experiences such as check-in prior to arrival, keyless room entry, and tech-enabled room controls.

In retail, businesses will leverage technology to customize the shopping experience and allow sales associates (provider) flexibility in how they serve shoppers (customer) and better streamline inventory management.

4. Apple-specific security solutions become necessity

As Mac adoption in the enterprise rises, so will Mac-focused cyber security threats. In 2021, organizations will look for security solutions that specialize in protecting Apple and that support operating system upgrades on the same day they become available. The last point being crucial as outdated operating systems and software are inherently more vulnerable to potential threats.

96% of organizations plan to prioritize security spending over the next 12 months according to a recent Vanson Bourne study, so it’s not too far out on a limb to predict, but the point needs to be made that organizations plan to take Apple security seriously in the future and that push garners tremendous steam in 2021.

Always in this together

2021 will bring new challenges and opportunities, but Jamf Nation has proven time and time again its resilience to find solutions and help those in need. Know that Jamf will be with you every step of the way, a promise that will be true this year, next year and every other year.

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