COVID-19 Accelerates Cloud Spending: With the increase of remote working due to the COVID-19 pandemic, companies are investing a larger portion of IT budgets on cloud-based technologies, moving away from paper-based processes. Enterprises’ average cloud spending is up 59% from 2018 to $73.8M in 2020. That trend will continue into 2021 as companies are forced to adopt strategies to work remotely and recognize the benefits of maintaining those modes of operating even as they begin to transition employees back to physical locations. A prime example will be contracting where COVID drove digital transformation of the contract request, approval, execution, and post-award management systems and has laid the groundwork for even more advancements in contract lifecycle management.

The End of AI as We Know It: By late 2021, AI will start fading as a buzz word. As customers get more comfortable with the value delivered by AI, expectations of AI as a standard feature of enterprise software offerings will increase and enterprises will increasingly adopt automated IT practices to support the greater scale required for digitally driven businesses. The opportunity to upsell AI functionality will decline, and AI features that have been proven to work well such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) will get absorbed and assimilated into mainstream software development, which in turn, will transform legacy businesses and the aging aspects of legacy businesses.

Zoom everywhere: As more companies and employees choose remote work paradigms, software will offer the capability to start/schedule a video call at every stage that involves complex decision making. Workflows like “Send for review,” “Send for approval,” “Request more information,” and more will always be video collaboration enabled.

Enhanced Enterprise Software Experiences: In 2021, slow and clunky enterprise software experiences will become a punishable offense. Users who were forced to rely exclusively on digital tools in 2020 will judge with their mice what software products survive in the coming year. Intuitive UI and UX will be the primary determinant of success in all software. Fortunately, with rapid improvements in natural language processing (NLP), enterprise software will start adopting a clean omnibox approach like its consumer software cousins. Users will be able to “start typing…in the box,” and the software will suggest, guide, and help them find their way and get things done. In addition, users will expect SaaS enterprise software to seamlessly update, enhance, and heal itself.

Cybersecurity & Data Protection: Remote work as the new normal means fewer employees working onsite on the same secure network. Hackers have exploited the coronavirus pandemic to expand their campaigns of attacks against businesses worldwide. A 238% rise in attacks on banks, and a 600% increase in attacks on cloud servers was observed from January to April 2020 alone. This has made it imperative for companies to shore up their networks and upgrade their cyber security strategies. Companies will look at solutions and solution providers that meet global standards in terms of security, privacy, compliance and transparency. Vendors whose SaaS offerings like are built on secure cyber architectures and provide options in terms of implementing cyber security measures are expected to witness strong customer demand through 2021.

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