The Outsell Information Industry Outlook 2021

The Outsell Information Industry Outlook 2021 is reserved for clients only. We are making this annual must-have analysis available for licensing until January 31, 2021. Please contact us to order your copy.

Author: Ned May

Date: October 29, 2020



For most businesses, 2020 has been akin to the Titanic’s maiden voyage: What started as a journey full of promise and good cheer rapidly fell into scenes of chaos.

The Methodology of last year’s Outlook closed with a simple statement: “In our industry, the more things stay the same, the more they are about to change.” We had no idea how dramatically this sentiment was about to take hold. Analyzing the current state of our industry in the context of longer historical trends, we believe this year — the year of the pandemic — will mark a pivot point in our economic and societal development. Our industry has changed forever, and we are not going back.

Something bigger than all of us happened this year. We’ve seen pandemics before, but never in the digital age. Suddenly the changes that were unfolding at a manageable pace got catapulted into real time, compressing decade-long transformations into movements happening literally overnight. In short, we just experienced The Digital Revolution.

Read on to make plans for the coming years.


Market Definition and Methodology

Outsell invests millions of dollars each year in analyzing all sectors of the industry. We cover the sectors and players that drive growth in the business of data, information, and analytics and the metrics needed to run these businesses. In doing so, we track the convergence of all forms of content, data, software, services, and platforms in 30 segments and cover over 12,500 firms within these segments (and increasing daily). We provide coverage of major announcements, and we benchmark growth, revenue, market share, business model mix, and a host of other important operating metrics.

We couple our supply-side analysis with a demand-side perspective, conducting original research among marketers, advertisers, enterprise information buyers, and both professional and consumer end-users, so we can follow the money and thereby track and forecast spending trends. We survey CEOs in the industry and members of the Outsell Leadership Community to measure sentiment on an array of topics. We combine this fact-based underpinning with our daily dialogue with decisionmakers and our 23+ years of tracking and analyzing the industry. Finally, our analytical team convenes to discuss and debate the forecasts, trends, and leading firms to watch.

We developed our Outsell 50 Emerging Companies to Watch with a rigorous methodology. We scored these emerging companies on criteria that include uniqueness of approach, alignment with market need, ability to scale, and overall growth potential.

This year, amid the pandemic, we also aggressively built out a new platform bringing together participants in our communities of practitioners alongside our market insight and expert partner network.

This year’s meta-theme — Radical Reinvention — follows directly from the one we chose last year while acknowledging the rapid acceleration of changes that took on unprecedented urgency as the pandemic took hold. It represents both a continuation of our coverage and the summation of a pivotal moment that we believe will markthe point when everything changed.


Table of Contents

Why This Topic


Outsell’s 2021 Meta-Theme: Radical Reinvention

Critical Trends Across Data, Information, and Analytics

The Future of Work and Knowledge Workers

CEO Sentiment

Industry Growth and Performance

Media, Marketing, and Analytics

Education, Training, and Human Capital Management

Financial, Credit, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), and Tax & Accounting

Legal & Regulatory Solutions

Science, Technology, and Healthcare

50 Companies to Watch

Essential Actions

Meet the Outsell Team

About Outsell

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