/ 2021 predictions: 6 Domo leaders peek into crystal ball

As a new year begins to unfold—and does so with a pandemic still raging on a global scale—many organizations and individuals can’t help but wonder what the next 11 and a half months may bring.

And while no one has a crystal ball, a lot of people do possess educated opinions informed by years of professional experience and observational savviness, making them the type of folks we look to for perspective and guidance on what can sometimes scare us: the future.

Many of Domo’s leaders fit into that category of person. So, when it came time to gather predictions for 2021, we started with them. What follows is how they answered.

Josh James – Founder, CEO, and Chairman of the Board
Technology that doesn’t excel in three areas will die a fast death

Against the backdrop of the pandemic and a post-pandemic recovery, technology systems that do not excel at connectivity, accessibility, and scalability will die a fast death—and be non-existent by 2025.

The recent rush of mergers and acquisitions around API and data integration vendors reinforces the value on empowering the free flow of data across and between systems to help companies become more agile and competitive.

Businesses desperately need systems that meet these needs to increase the value of data for the business, and technology that doesn’t perform well in these areas will be replaced at an accelerated rate.

Jay Heglar – Chief Business Officer
Cloud wars will move from infrastructure technology to end-user applications

While hyperscale cloud companies Amazon, Microsoft, and Google fight over the world’s share of infrastructure technology, the next frontier is emerging, and that’s to build and acquire an equally expansive war chest of end-user applications.

End-user applications open up a whole new world of licensing opportunities, and Salesforce knows it; the largest SaaS company on earth has built a dominant position in servicing end-user needs with applications.

End users as the buyer and consumer of cloud is the expansion opportunity for the next 10 years, and in 2021, we will watch how the “big three” attempt to catch up to the leader of the pack.

Catherine Wong – Chief Product Officer
We’ll discover and adopt hybrid solutions for everything

Hybrid cloud models are now de facto in many organizations. We in the tech industry have come to realize that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to cloud versus on-prem. And we know that we must embrace and install whatever systems help give us a greater amount of flexibility and accessibility. 

The pandemic has undoubtedly played a role in this movement. It forced us all to shift our work and home lives quickly. And while the transition has been anything but easy, it hasn’t prevented us from finding solutions that involve combinations of things. 

Organizations and individuals are on a fast path to discovering their hybrid. At work, how are we re-envisioning our schedules, the level of flexibility, and even the physical design of our workspaces? Each team—and perhaps each type of role—will have different needs, but will optimize to find their best mode of balance and, in turn, also be better prepared to handle whatever comes next.

Chris Willis – Chief Design Officer
COVID chaos will accelerate new customer obsession

Despite 2020 being the year of disruptions, organizations will find that they have a better understanding of their customers thanks to organizational resiliency and greater awareness of consumer behavior. This will lead to more “nowcasting”—which uses fresh and sometimes unstructured data to get a jump on where things are headed—as opposed to “forecasting.”

Just look at food retailers. Before COVID-19 came along, they paid attention to things like commuting patterns so they could cater to where potential customers would be and what they’d want. Given that not as many people drive to work anymore, and that data models are now based on more timely and smaller amounts of information, these retailers can really tap into the new signals they’re getting.

It’s easier to detect and adapt to change in this environment, and for that reason, I believe we’ll not only see more businesses maintain and even build their operations in 2021, we’ll move into an exciting period of innovation driven by a better ability to understand and leverage data.

Suyesh Karki – Chief Information Security Officer
More enterprises will adopt a hybrid security model 

Achieving good security via defense-in-depth—which is also called the castle approach and is basically a layering on of security controls to ensure that attacks breaching one layer will be caught by the next—is dead.

In 2021, more and more enterprises will move toward deploying a hybrid model of DiD and zero-trust, a cloud-centric model that works with the assumption that the entire network is already compromised.

Companies will realize that instead of being able to defend against all attacks, the focus should be on reducing the dwell time—which is how long the adversaries are “inside”—and making sure that if someone does get in, they can’t access the company’s “crown jewel” data.

Ben Schein – Vice President of Data Curiosity
Data experts will help unleash data curiosity

Because people often carry baggage from past data projects (and failures), our relationship with data can be very emotional. We’re afraid we’ll make a mistake. Even worse, we’re afraid someone else will make a mistake because of our mistakes

A lot of times, too, trauma lingers from past experience(s) that resulted from moments when data collapsed on us. And sometimes, we even get to the point where our relationship with data completely breaks, because we expected perfection and it never materialized.

In the field of data, we need to recognize our emotions and act as “data therapists” to help people and businesses engage with data and adopt the kind of confidence needed for data curiosity. That’s something I think we’ll move closer to this year because data continues to grow in importance and we just cannot afford to ignore what I call “emotional data trauma” any longer.

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