2021 Predictions: End-User Computing and Work-From-Home Lifestyles Will Stick Around Post-COVID

There’s no debating that COVID-19 changed life as we know it around the globe. But what is debatable is when — and if — we’ll fully return to normal.

By Yext

Mar 18, 2021

4 min

There's no debating that COVID-19 changed life as we know it around the globe. But what is debatable is when — and if — we'll fully return to normal. From a business perspective, companies and organizations can count on one thing: Many of the shifts and trends in digital consumer behavior we saw over the past year are here to stay. In fact, some industries are already operating 5 to 10 years in the future thanks to the pandemic.

While there are many insights to take in as we continue to navigate the first half of 2021, we wanted to get a first hand account on how businesses are adapting in order to not just be digital first in their approach, but "digital best" to ensure they're not just surviving online, but rather thriving. We spoke to a few of our customers and partners to get their takes on the biggest trends of the past year that were most relevant to their business, their strategies as we move forward, and a few bold predictions for 2021.

For the last installment of our multi-part series, we have Jim Francis, Executive VP/Head of Global Alliances & Strategic Deals at Virtusa, an IT services company helping businesses drive their digital transformations.

While 2020 was a case study in unpredictability, it was also a year of tremendous transformation through innovation. What shifts or trends stood out most to you in your industry?

One notable shift during this past year was the level of cloud modernization still happening during a pandemic. As an example, AWS grew a net new $10B of business in 2021 which is astonishing.

Our business grew across all of our cloud partner channels. And cloud adoption is still in the early, early stages, with only 4% of private data centers currently migrated to public cloud. Cloud modernization will quickly become the root catalyst for end-to-end legacy transformation and application modernization. The flywheel for true digital transformation is finally going to start spinning on the back of cloud as well as the pent up demand to regrow and reengineer business post-Covid.

How has your view of digital changed this year? And what do you think will be its importance looking forward into 2021?

The world had to quickly shift to operating in a virtual world. End-user computing and WFH is not going away.

Digital marketing has become much more important to our sales and marketing process as we needed to fill the void left from the loss of the typical big brick and mortar events, user conferences and direct customer visits. This period has forced us to adapt to be more creative on tools to help drive better web-based marketing experiences, account and intent based marketing and more impactful social media campaigns.

Digital marketing driven by advanced search becomes the new cornerstone for growing one's business. I would expect much more innovation to happen over the upcoming years within this space. Especially as workers and consumers are operating more remotely. Consumer based B2C marketing and targeted advertising will now start to be more mainstream in corporate marketing strategies. This provides a unique opportunity for companies like Yext as a market leader in advanced digital search technology.

Make a bold prediction about your industry: What's going to happen — or emerge as a hot new trend — in 2021?

The one big predication outside of cloud dominance would be that No/Low code platforms will build the next generation applications which run our businesses and move the industry to a consumption-based SaaS operating model over the next ten years. Traditional COTs products will be ultimately replaced by new SaaS platforms written in No/Low code technology. All of the major CSPs will invest heavily in this space as they grow their stack from IaaS/PaaS to also include SaaS. Companies like Salesforce, ServiceNow, PegaSystems and even some new progressive startups like Unqork will all see significant growth around this broader SaaS modernization period.

In 2021, it's no longer enough for businesses to be digital first. Instead, it's about becoming "digital best." How is Virtusa thinking about continuing digital transformation in order to be best in class? What strategies will you continue? Which will you sunset?

Virtusa is "All In" on Cloud moderation and has chips down and strategic investments happening across all of the major CSPs.

On top of this, as a Digital Engineering company we will continue to triple down on our leadership position around Digital Process (Hyper) Automation for Application Modernization. Key automation technologies and focus areas include; No/Low Code, BPM/RPA, AI/ML.

Regarding sunsetting, we expect to eventually see a transformation of more traditional on premises infrastructure management to more of a managed hybrid/public cloud & application services model.

And finally, not to make it all about us, but: How do Yext solutions fit into your Virtusa's transformation in 2021?

Yext will continue to be a core digital transformation partner for Virtusa. We expect the campaigns we are running with both Yext, and also Adobe, in 2021 to drive unprecedented growth for all partners and value to our respective end customers.

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