January 5, 2021
3 min read

2021 Predictions: 5 Technology Trends in the Year Ahead


In 2020, the acceleration of digital transformation quickly emerged as a top priority for many organizations as they grappled with the business impacts of an unexpected pandemic and raced to adapt to a new reality. As businesses begin to pivot out of the shadows of COVID-19 in 2021, what will this new reality look like? What new technology trends will emerge? Our executives shared their personal predictions for the year ahead:

1. The End User Era: Architects Will Rise in IT Purchase Power

Architects play a pivotal role in enabling enterprise digital transformations — and the C-suite has taken notice of their expertise. Architects have become trusted advisors to the executive management team, and they will increasingly guide IT purchase decisions in 2021 and beyond. While executives will remain in charge of the overall global budget, more and more of it is being allocated to the architects in such a way that senior leaders do not have to be involved in every tech decision.

2. Service Mesh Will Gain Traction, Not for What it Adds But What it Takes Away

Service mesh is the fabric that connects the distributed infrastructures that companies navigate when modernizing their IT infrastructure and enabling microservices. Service mesh use will dramatically increase through 2021 — not for what it adds but for the complexity it removes. A service mesh enables technology teams to replace all of an organization's ugly, unreliable and non-compliant code, providing infrastructure freedom and cloud connectivity for teams. It is already a must-have for large organizations, and even SMBs will need a service mesh strategy if they plan to deliver stable and reliable services. Eventually, we expect service mesh to permeate every workload that a team runs, and the technology will get better and easier to use the more it matures.

3. Organizations Will Stop Trusting Their People and Services in an IT Environment

Zero-trust security will become the prevailing model for organizations in 2021. With more companies moving to distributed architectures, technology teams need a scalable way to make security fool-proof while managing a growing number of microservices and greater complexity. Companies should act as though every person and service (whether internal or external) could have malicious intent and implement zero-trust security protocols to adequately protect their services, applications and the data that flows through them. Failure to do so will only result in more high-profile data breaches, widespread outages and heightened concerns from customers.

4. WebAssembly Will Rise in 2021 as Serverless Becomes Increasingly Marginalized

WebAssembly, an open standard that defines a portable binary-code format, will take center stage next year because of its portability and the fact that it can be executed to run anywhere and integrated into many environments. By contrast, fewer companies will use serverless computing, leveraging serverless mostly for side projects but nothing mission-critical due to its lack of portability. Serverless technology should make a comeback as we near 2030, when the larger tech ecosystem has evolved.

5. GitOps Will Go Mainstream in the Enterprise

As we transition to infrastructure-as-code and infrastructure-as-declarative-configuration, the benefits of the proven Git workflow will combine with CI/CD automation benefits. This will drive mainstream acceptance of what is called GitOps. Vendors and technologies that can support this workflow will thrive, and those who don't will lose more relevance. Organizations will "Git" healthy in 2021, recognizing that GitOps is the playbook for success in the cloud native era. The guiding principle of GitOps is that Git is the source of truth for an organization's system — reflecting all changes made to both applications and infrastructure — and traceable in great detail.

What are your predictions for 2021 and beyond? We'd love to hear from you!