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Michael Hoey, Source Meridian, Source MeridianMichael Hoey, Source Meridian
Our offices will get smaller and look more like a high-end co-working space.

In the software development business, we just proved that most of what we do day to day can be done remotely. Gone are the days that we all go to the office - just to be there. In 2021 - the office is going to have to earn it. The office will need to become a place that is productive for technical teams to get work done when they get together. The space that we had for endless cubes will be transformed into team rooms and collaboration spaces. After a year of no commute and zoom meetings - when teams do assemble in the office - the thing they can't hear is that all of the conference rooms are booked.

Dev Ops tools start to mature.

In the thirty years I’ve been in the software business, I’ve seen many technologies suddenly become important only to have every company fight over the small number of developers that can be productive in the new space.
In the past, it normally takes 2-3 years for the tools to catch up and make what used to require a developer with a complex combination of skills, morph into something that can be accomplished by any seasoned engineer. For the past 2 years - dev-ops has been that area of focus. With cloud cost and cloud management becoming more important to every SAAS company, this discipline is both hard to define and hard to staff. 2021 is where tools will catch up and start to make this area accessible to every engineer and become the latest club that every senior needs in their bag.

Clouds continue to commoditize.

The question of which cloud is right for my application will be a less stressful decision. This far into the cloud computing transition, the core services that every modern application requires are well represented on all of the major clouds. That’s not to say there won’t be lock-in, but with costs converging on the clouds - it will be something we worry about less. In the next wave, we will see the cloud vendors competing on value-added services to onboard projects - knowing that once they get a project embedded - it will persist for years.

Business travel does not recover.

One of the bright spots in a dismal year was that the 2-hour business meeting that we used to fly across the country to attend is officially dead. I can recall multiple meetings, where I traveled across the country, only to get 2 hours (or sometimes 1 hour) to talk to a client or vendor. 2020 gifted us with the permanent ability to say “no” to this request.

Privacy gets regulated, but won’t be achieved until it's built into the OS

We will see the majority of states adopt California style privacy regulations, but the companies whose business model depends on user tracking will find ways to still capture everything we do online. We will see Apple continue to taunt Facebook and Google over how they monetize their users and attempt to make their life harder inside their ecosystem. Microsoft will also start to build similar features first into their browser, then eventually their OS. This fight still has a few years left in it.

Telemedicine is here to stay.

The other gift of 2020 is that telemedicine is now a service that every medical practice has to embrace. The change in the CMS rules allowing physicians to charge correctly for telemedicine is being made permanent. No longer will we take 4 hours off of work to leave the office – go to the doctors – fill out a 7th generation xerox of a patient history form (don’t they have this info?) wait around for 40 minutes to get 11 minutes with a physician. Doctors can be more efficient and get paid for their time, our time is less wasted – for 2021 who knows – email?