The COVID-19 pandemic permanently shifted the landscape of work. It highlighted the need for data accessibility in the cloud as people work remotely. And organizations without a digital infrastructure previously in place were hit the hardest, forcing them to accelerate digital transformation strategies. Looking forward, we’ll see businesses continue to digitize as many aspects of their business as possible. Below are a few other predictions for the year ahead.

Companies are shifting from “Big Data” to “Massive Data”

Companies and organizations everywhere have access to tons of unstructured data – nearly 90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years and the volume of data across the world doubles in size every four years. And this is only accelerating as companies continue to shift to the cloud.

This explosion of unstructured data is being led by applications and IoT devices. There are IoT devices now in nearly every corner of the market – including smart homes, connected cars and even ‘smart city’ concepts. As a result we have created an enormous digital fabric comprising billions of sensors, all making the world smarter and more connected. It’s big and getting bigger, connecting appliances to autonomous equipment across every industry.

Simply put, “big data” is becoming “massive data,” and companies need to prepare their infrastructure, storage and management systems accordingly.

Everything that can move to flash, will

Flash became the dominant storage solution over the past decade, largely driven by the boom in popularity of mobile devices and smartphones. Its use cases today range across general enterprise workloads to mission-critical applications as businesses recognize its high performance and low-latency benefits.

NVMe offers faster access to data at lower costs all while using less power. This is future-proof infrastructure, and over the next year we will see even wider adoption of flash storage.

If it’s not bolted down, it will live in the cloud

The “remote workforce” will soon just become the “workforce,” and it will be characterized by the cloud. Traditionally, remote work has been enabled by creating a tunnel through the public internet, from a data center to our laptops. However, this is cumbersome, slow, and complex to manage.

The public cloud makes remote work simple. It is elastic, global, and easy for companies to implement. In 2021, we’ll see an increase in companies moving information to the cloud or watch them fall behind the competition.

All companies will eventually become data companies

Every company is becoming a digital company, because every process is becoming a digital process. For example, movies today are not made on film — they are made with data. Vaccines are made using genomic sequencing data. Companies everywhere will be tasked with redesigning how data is captured, managed and transformed by their organization – and data will ultimately become the center of their business.

(Editor’s Note: This content was originally published in VMblog on January 13, 2020).