It has become a tradition for Gartner analysts to look ahead to which strategic technology trends will shape the new year. For 2021, Gartner has identified nine trends. Given the serious upheaval caused by the Corona pandemic and the enormous challenges it posed for businesses, this time there was a particular focus on technologies that make businesses more agile and resilient. The trends identified do not function independently of each other, but at least partially build on each other or reinforce each other.


Internet of Behaviors

The collection and use of data to drive behavior is referred to as the Internet of Behaviors (IoB). What makes it special and novel is not so much the continuing rapid growth in data volumes, but rather the way in which this data from different sources is combined and influences the interaction between companies and people.


How this can work in practice can be illustrated by an example related to Corona hygiene measures: Various sensors or RFID chips can be used to determine whether a company’s employees regularly wash and disinfect their hands. Face recognition can be used to check that mouth/nose protection is being worn correctly. Smart speakers alert employees to violations of hygiene rules.


Gartner emphasizes that the Internet of Behaviors may well carry significant ethical and social implications, and data protection laws may more or less curtail the implementation of IoB. Nonetheless, the analysts predict that by the end of 2025, more than half of the world’s population will have been involved with an IoB program – in a private , commercial or government setting


Total Experience

Following on from technology trends of 2020, Gartner is taking multi-experience and expanding it to Total Experience – combining it with customer experience, employee experience and user experience. The goal is to improve the total experience by making the individual parts work together seamlessly. By skillfully combining the different experiences, companies are able to gain a competitive advantage.


Privacy-Enhancing Computation

This trend is the umbrella term for three technologies that protect data as it is used and transmitted. The first creates a trusted environment in which sensitive data can be processed and analyzed. The second performs processes and analysis in a decentralized manner. The third encrypts data and algorithms before they are processed. In this way, companies ensure secure, cross-site or cross-national collaboration in research or with competitors, for example. The approach addresses the increasing need for data sharing while maintaining privacy and security.


Distributed Cloud

Distributed Cloud refers to the distribution of cloud services across different physical locations, with the operation, governance and evolution of the services remaining the responsibility of the public cloud provider. The trend may be for providers to bring distributed cloud resources closer to the user’s location. Among other things, this will help with regulatory compliance, which dictates that data must remain in a specific geographic region. According to Gartner, most vendors will have some form of distributed cloud in their portfolio by 2025.


Anywhere Operations

“Digital first, remote first” is the buzzword for the model of location-independent IT operations. Employees, customers and business partners have the ability to access IT services from anywhere, allowing them to collaborate even when physically separated. Anywhere Operations is certainly the technology trend that has been most impacted by the Corona pandemic. Gartner estimates that about 40% of enterprises will have implemented Anywhere Operations by the end of 2023.


Cybersecurity Mesh

In our mobile world, traditional security concepts are increasingly reaching their limits. Protecting IT resources within an enterprise perimeter is no longer enough. The Cybersecurity Mesh approach is designed to make cybersecurity more scalable, flexible and reliable. It is based on drawing the security perimeter around the identity of a single person or thing. The idea behind it: Anyone can use any digital resource securely, no matter where users or data happen to be.


Intelligent Composable Business

This term refers to a business that can adapt and – based on current developments – fundamentally realign itself. This refers primarily to the implementation of new business models, products and services. To drive digital transformation, companies need high agility and fast business decisions based on data available in real time.


The prerequisites for this are faster access to information, the enrichment of this information with the help of better insights, and the ability to react to the effects of these insights. From a technological perspective, this is achieved, for example, with machines that improve decision-making by having previously been fed with vast amounts of data and insights.


AI Engineering

Artificial intelligence (AI) continues its triumphant march in both the business and private sectors. However, companies still have some catching up to do when it comes to using artificial intelligence in production operations. Too many projects currently do not make it beyond prototype status. AI Engineering focuses on making AI models easier and more effective to control, thus unleashing the full value of artificial intelligence investments.



Hyperautomation is the idea that anything that can be automated in an organization will be automated. This can be done using various technologies such as machine learning. The goal behind this is to become more agile, faster and more efficient as an organization. These characteristics are indispensable for companies in the digital age.

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