What's In Store

Look ahead to 2021's tech trends with Deloitte's experts

Nothing like a global pandemic to make everyone refocus. Photo by Colin Anderson Productions/Getty

As poet Robert Burns mused, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. In January 2020, most of us had plans —thoughtful road maps to guide our organizations, our technology, and our lives through the months to follow.

And then COVID-19 punched the entire world in the mouth, rendering useless many of these best-laid plans.

Seemingly overnight, a strange, historic event disrupted our assumptions and forced us, with a shocking degree of urgency, to become more adaptable and responsive than we had thought possible.

Mindful that the pandemic's impact continues to ripple across societies, markets, and lives, we present Tech Trends 2021. The theme of this year's report is resilience. To Deloitte, this means a stubborn determination to adapt and thrive in the face of change.

We have seen countless, inspiring examples of resilience this past year as organizations and entire sectors assessed their circumstances, revised their strategic plans, and marched toward the future. We anticipate that for most, the future they find will differ markedly from the realities of January 2020.

The COVID-19 crisis has driven change in an important and unexpected way. A growing number of organizations across sectors are accelerating their digital transformation efforts not only to make their operations nimbler and more efficient, but to respond to dramatic fluctuations in demand and customer expectation.

For example, while many supply chain leaders were confident of their ability to function during disruptions, we found out, as Warren Buffett once quipped, who was swimming naked when the tide went out.

Likewise, executive-level planning discussions about the future of work had been just that: about the future. The pandemic crashed comfortable schedules from years into weeks.

Continue reading this year's Tech Trends report on Deloitte's website to explore the opportunities, strategies, and technologies that will drive new plans during the next 18 to 24 months and beyond.

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Building Houston

 
 

This health tech company has made some significant changes in order to keep up with its growth. Photo via Getty Images

With a new CEO and chief operating officer aboard, Houston-based DataJoint is thinking small in order to go big.

Looking ahead to 2022, DataJoint aims to enable hundreds of smaller projects rather than a handful of mega-projects, CEO Dimitri Yatsenko says. DataJoint develops data management software that empowers collaboration in the neuroscience and artificial intelligence sectors.

"Our strategy is to take the lessons that we have learned over the past four years working with major projects with multi-institutional consortia," Yatsenko says, "and translate them into a platform that thousands of labs can use efficiently to accelerate their research and make it more open and rigorous."

Ahead of that shift, the startup has undergone some significant changes, including two moves in the C-suite.

Yatsenko became CEO in February after stints as vice president of R&D and as president. He co-founded the company as Vathes LLC in 2016. Yatsenko succeeded co-founder Edgar Walker, who had been CEO since May 2020 and was vice president of engineering before that.

In tandem with Yatsenko's ascent to CEO, the company brought aboard Jason Kirkpatrick as COO. Kirkpatrick previously was chief financial officer of Houston-based Darcy Partners, an energy industry advisory firm; chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Houston-based Solid Systems CAD Services (SSCS), an IT services company; and senior vice president of finance and general manager of operations at Houston-based SmartVault Corp., a cloud-based document management company.

"Most of our team are scientists and engineers. Recruiting an experienced business leader was a timely step for us, and Jason's vast leadership experience in the software industry and recurring revenue models added a new dimension to our team," Yatsenko says.

Other recent changes include:

  • Converting from an LLC structure to a C corporation structure to enable founders, employees, and future investors to be granted shares of the company's stock.
  • Shortening the business' name to DataJoint from DataJoint Neuro and recently launching its rebranded website.
  • Moving the company's office from the Texas Medical Center Innovation Institute (TMCx) to the Galleria area. The new space will make room for more employees. Yatsenko says the 12-employee startup plans to increase its headcount to 15 to 20 by the end of this year.

Over the past five years, the company's customer base has expanded to include neuroscience institutions such as Princeton University's Princeton Neuroscience Institute and Columbia University's Zuckerman Institute for Brain Science, as well as University College London and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. DataJoint's growth has been fueled in large part by grants from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

"The work we are tackling has our team truly excited about the future, particularly the capabilities being offered to the neuroscience community to understand how the brain forms perceptions and generates behavior," Yatsenko says.

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