How to Plan Your Device Strategy for 2021

Most IT professionals admit they won’t be able to forecast long-term planning decisions until April, and eight percent believe they won’t be ready until 2022. So, how should you plan your device strategy for 2021?

Let’s be honest: nobody saw where 2020 was going to take us this time last year. And – while there’s been plenty of negative news to deal with – enterprises have experienced a greater digital transformation over the last 12 months than they have in the last decade.

If there’s one positive that’s resulted, however, it’s this: your device strategy has never had this much potential to play a pivotal role in business growth. In fact, during the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies spent around $15 billion extra every week on technology – making this time one of the world’s biggest investments ever.

But simply dumping resources into your device strategy doesn’t mean your job is done or that success is guaranteed going forward. Because 2021 comes with a large degree of uncertainty. Most IT professionals admit they won’t be able to forecast long-term planning decisions until at least April; and eight percent believe they won’t be ready until 2022.

So, given this scenario how should you start planning your device strategy for 2021? Consider three important trends: security, customer experience, and infrastructure.

Set New Security and Privacy Standards

According to Sean Gilligan, President of Tech Recruitment at Harvey Nash, as many as 40% of all organizations experienced a security breach during the COVID-19 crisis. While that number is disputable, there’s no doubt that hackers have worked hard to exploit sensitive enterprise data throughout the pandemic.

From January to April alone, banks saw a 238% rise in attacks and all businesses dealt with a 600% increase in cloud server breach attempts. Considering fewer employees than ever are working onsite to keep networks safe – as well as a growing need to expand IT asset management strategies beyond the barriers of the office – it’s critical that your device strategy discussion starts and ends with security in 2021.

And that’s precisely where a Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) solution can help. Rather than requiring your technology team to manage a variety of security and privacy-focused software platforms, UEM gives IT (and your employees) universal safeguards that work across desktop, mobile, and non-traditional devices like the Internet of Things (IoT).

Another approach to think about is confidential computing. Unlike data privacy solutions of the past, confidential computing entails encrypting your entire computing process – not just the data you’re communicating and storing. That way, your device strategy adds several new layers of security a hacker must penetrate before sensitive information can be found.

Thanks to the Confidential Computing Consortium, tech giants such as Google, Microsoft, IBM, Alibaba, and VMware are already building these next-gen privacy protocols and best practices. Confidential computing likely won’t go mainstream until late 2021 at best, but that doesn’t mean you should be ignoring it by any means now.

Use Device Management to Upgrade Your Customer Experience

Customer engagements (and expectations) are rapidly evolving. So, it’s not crazy to think that in 2021 digital experiences will become the number one driver of overall business value. And your device strategy will obviously have a major part to play.

Next year will be one of innovation and experimentation where everything customer experience is concerned. Expect many organizations to try new sales and engagement channels – and to go with whichever ones stick (even if they’ve never used them or expected them to succeed before). To give your company this chance, however, your device strategy will have to prioritize the technologies that give your team the best chance to build direct, meaningful relationships with buyers.

Personalization, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and other engagement-focused buzzwords should be at the core of your next-gen device strategy if your goal is to truly stand out and deliver an exceptional customer experience in 2021.

Introduce Cloud and 5G Into Your IT Infrastructure

Device strategies everywhere will embrace digital transformation even more than they do today – so don’t be surprised when you see your competitors take on a major cloud-centric infrastructure shift. Just be ready to beat them to the punch by launching yours first.

While IT asset management strategies have been moving toward a hybrid cloud infrastructure for years, 2020 saw massive investments into large public cloud providers like AWS, Azure, Google, IBM, and Oracle. And that means a change that’s sure to come sooner than later.

In 2021, you’ll be able to improve your device strategy by introducing a variety of tools that make it easier to connect on-premises datacenters with cloud storage systems – giving you the ability to meet customers on their terms. This new approach to IT infrastructure also means enterprise applications will receive a new level of support where integration, application, and workload management is concerned as well.

Why? Because widespread uncertainty and work disruptions have driven home the need for an agile, flexible infrastructure solution that can change as quickly as your business needs do. Before you’re ready to take on 2021, think long and hard about what the outcome of an infrastructure investment needs to ultimately accomplish – and then adapt your device strategy accordingly.

In addition to infrastructure, this year will also finally be the one that capitalizes on the benefits of 5G.

The necessity for mobile-fueled solutions such as remote work, videoconferencing, and real-time digital collaboration tools is core to the future of business. Your team has never been more reliant on phones, tablets, and non-traditional devices, and 5G gives them the information superhighway they need to enable the next generation of success.

Going forward, your business can’t afford to be disconnected, making 5G a vital part of any future-facing device strategy. By the end of the year, expect 5G’s value to become increasingly mainstream – and any organization that fails to embrace it irrelevant in the long-run.

That said, every company is unique. Choosing the right device management solution is essential. See how FileWave’s device management capabilities can be tailored to fit your organization with a free demo.

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