As the world starts to look toward 2021-22 for strategic business planning, we know that we’re not going to come out of the pandemic and go back to what we were.
The business landscape looks a lot different now than in Q4 2019.
Forecasting is also very tough — but trying to anticipate what the trajectory is going to be for your organization helps to guide you on how you’re going to emerge from the pandemic.
Focusing on organizational agility will help businesses be successful as we step into a new future phase.
Here are a few trends that emerged in 2020 and that will continue to be of interest as companies put together strategic plans for 2021-2022.
Remote work and security
When the pandemic forced workers and students to remote locations, it was often last-minute and haphazard. Some offices allowed workers to bring anything they needed to set up a home office, while others offered a set dollar amount to fund the relocation.
One problem with the rush to work and study from home is that support organizations have been hammered by problems resulting from the lack of consistency in routers and hardware.
Three trends that will help smooth the transition in 2021-22 include branded office bundles, WAN-connected laptops to address bandwidth issues, and improved cameras and sound in laptops.
VoIP, phone systems and Zoom: synonymous with 2020
Zoom, which grew from a startup in 2011 to going public in 2019, became a household name during the pandemic.
From business calls to holiday family Zoom calls, voice over internet protocol (VoIP) has boomed over the past year. Other existing large corporate tools such as Cisco’s Webex, Microsoft’s Teams, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, and Verizon’s BlueJeans are also providing state-of-the-art videoconferencing systems, facilitating remote work across the globe.
This sector is primed to see an influx of startups in the next few years, as we recognize the shift to remote meetings instead of required in-person roundtables.
Mergers & Acquisitions
While the pandemic did slow down the merger and acquisitions market for a while, it has surged at the end of 2020. Here’s a summary of the biggest M&As so far this year.
- In February, Fintech giant, Intuit (INTU) announced that it would be acquiring Credit Karma for approximately $7.1 billion.
- Just Eat Takeaway entered into an agreement to acquire Grubhub (GRUB) for $7.3 billion.
- In July, Uber (UBER) entered into a $2.65 billion deal to acquire Postmates.
- Visa (V) announced the decision of Plaid’s acquisition for $5.3 billion in January 2020.
- The acquisition announcement of E*TRADE (ETFC) for approximately $13 billion by Morgan Stanley (MS) in February 2020 has been one of the biggest acquisitions of 2020.
- In February, Salesforce (CRM) announced a $1.33 billion deal to acquire Vlocity.
- Microsoft (MSFT) acquired Affirmed Networks in April for approximately $1.35 billion.
- Zoox has been acquired by Amazon (AMZN) for roughly $1.2 billion.
- Koch Industries acquired the remaining equity stake in Infor held by Golden Gate Capital in a deal worth close to $13 billion.
- In January, Insight Partners entered into an agreement to acquire Veeam in a $5 billion deal.
- In March, BMC (a KKR portfolio company), signed a definitive agreement to purchase Compuware for an estimated $2 billion.
- SoFi entered an agreement to acquire Galileo for $1.2 billion.
It remains to be seen how these acquisitions will affect business operations. It will be interesting to watch if buying during a soft economic market will pay off in the long run.
The changes that are here to stay
While 2020 was certainly unprecedented in how businesses across the globe worked remotely, the lessons learned over the past year will reshape how we conduct business going forward.
If you’d like to read more about business trends for the next year, check out this Forbes article about their top 10 trends for 2021.
While your business is forecasting for 2021-22, be sure to consider how you’re keeping your data safe and secure in remote environments.