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AI in 2021: Industry expert predictions

AI has played a crucial role in keeping the businesses up and running during 2020. From automating operations to support the remote workforce, to analysing data and helping businesses provide optimised and efficient customer services, the technology has played a crucial role across industries.

Looking towards 2021, four leading technology experts share their predictions for the role of AI next year.

Ali Siddiqui, Chief Product Officer, BMC Software

“In reaction to the pandemic, more and more organizations will bring in internal IT teams, and utilize self-service models and SaaS platforms to reduce the dependencies on external resources. Despite market disruption, IT services have ramped new capabilities and services to meet this new market demand. As organizations have adjusted to the realities of remote work and adapting to manual tasks which result in decreased productivity, businesses are scaling and deploying ITSM solutions, leading to an increase in operational complexity to support the diverse needs of users and IT environments.

“To help reduce this complexity, and deliver an amazing employee experience organizations will look to enterprise service management solutions as a way to adopt processes that drive digital transformation. With AI service management, businesses can leverage hyper-automation and operations automation to increase productivity across the organization. Enterprise service management is the natural evolution to ITSM and will help businesses evolve into autonomous digital enterprises.”


Joe Petro, CTO, Nuance Communications

“Next year, AI-based security, biometrics, and fraud detection will be more important than ever as incidences of cybercrime increase, a result of greater online activity, fuelled largely by the pandemic.

“AI solutions that provide advanced security, biometrics, and fraud detection to protect consumers and brands will be even more important and we will see an increase in companies adopting and implementing these technologies, as well as consumers expecting and demanding them.  Brands that leverage passive authentication technology, like biometrics, to provide an effortless but secure customer experience will be ahead of the curve in providing state-of-the-art customer care that protects those who interact with their brands.”


Ronen Schwartz, SVP and GM Cloud Volumes, NetApp

“In 2021, autonomous optimization and AIOps will be the unsung heroes of the remote-workforce. Already stretched thin and facing cost pressures, applications and IT teams will be increasingly tasked with monitoring their infrastructure to ensure overload is not taking place amidst the remote application and VDI usage. Traditional tools have usually been rule-based and inflexible, which has made it difficult to monitor, optimize and troubleshoot hybrid cloud environments during an enormous growth in data and the unexpected challenges of COVID-19. To this, we’ll see an increase in application owners preferring infrastructure that continuously optimizes the workloads, with IT teams implementing AIOps – using artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to gain essential insights into their infrastructure status – allowing them to focus on innovation work and alleviate them of network or data monitoring bottlenecks.”

“Now, more than ever, teams are relying on AI technology to help digest and analyze critical data to help inform operations across the business – especially during a time when increasing efficiencies and cutting unnecessary costs is top of mind to ensure longevity. In 2021, we will continue to see industries adopt AI solutions, but many will find they do not have the infrastructure in place to handle the data needed to feed AI/ML pipelines at the speed and scale required. This will especially be true post-COVID, as companies look for more ROI out of their digital transformations. The result will be a boom in software to improve productivity and quality of life for IT and DevOps teams.”


Alberto Pan, Chief Technical Officer, Denodo

“The COVID pandemic has made evident the need to accelerate the delivery of useful and trusted data to business decision makers. That is why many companies are turning to more agile data integration technologies like data virtualisation which can shorten these times drastically.

“In 2021 we will see how this trend is consolidated as a comprehensive data strategy. Many companies will implement the concept of data fabric – an architectural pattern which ensures agility and the delivery of trusted, real-time data to a business. In addition, AI technology will be further incorporated in data fabric architectures to automate steps such as data discovery, performance optimisation and workload management. This will further increase automation and agility by leveraging the maturity reached by AI technology in the last years.”