It goes without saying that 2020 has been a difficult year. And, with no clear end in sight for the pandemic, it’s likely that many of these difficulties will continue well into 2021. Yet, it’s not all bad news for the coming year, as a recent Forrester report outlines some new enterprise opportunities as we navigate the COVID-19 crisis.

The study examined three major crises—the dot-com crisis, the financial crisis, and the current pandemic—and identified three key traits that enabled organizations to successfully weather the respective challenges. Namely, adaptability, creativity, and resiliency. Forrester believes companies that embrace these characteristics and encourage them in their employees will be poised to reap a number of benefits throughout 2021 and beyond.

One such example is leveraging technology to get closer to customers and employees. The pandemic changed how companies communicate with customers, and continuing to enhance the customer experience is a top priority. By embracing emerging innovations companies can improve the digital experience and offer more personalized customer journeys, enhancing brand loyalty and improving the bottom line. 

Similarly, with the significant uptick in remote workers, companies will have to find new ways of fostering interpersonal connections and dynamics. One example offered by Forrester is a virtual office, similar to a Second Life setup, with the possibility of tools like Microsoft Teams and Slack extending into this environment.

The report also outlined a number of predictions, including:

  • Future fit tech will spark innovation and spawn new startups. More adaptive and creative organizations will be able to automate numerous mundane and administrative tasks, freeing up human labor to focus on more strategic innovations and strategies to differentiate the company.
  • Open source will accelerate innovation around platforms. Forrester believes we will soon see ecosystems of vendors that will help customers specialize and customize around verticals.
  • Upstart vendors will upend the market with new pricing models and industry focus. Forrester predicts these will primarily focus on verticals such as financial services, healthcare, and life sciences, and pose a major market disruption for dominant players that move too slowly to compete.
  • Late adopter firms will outsource entire business functions and strategies to partners. The firm predicts that up to a third of organizations will outsource or create new joint ventures in sectors lagging behind in SaaS adoption.
  • A tech trade war will force firms to leverage hybrid ecosystems. Forrester believes geopolitical trends will complicate operations, necessitating that tech leaders have hybrid global and regional ecosystems.

You can check out more from Forrester’s report and the firm’s thoughts on 2021’s bumpy yet opportunistic potential in this InformationWeek article.