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Be like water – The key IT trends for 2021

Gunnar Menzel

2020 was a challenging year for us all. The crisis left businesses without a market, people without jobs, children without education, and families without their loved ones. The pandemic impacted everything – from how we socialize, to how we work, and how our businesses operate. Yet, while organizations struggled to establish new ways of working, people increasingly came together virtually, both in their personal and in their business lives. Throughout these turbulent times, the only savior to shine its effervescent blue light over a confused, dramatically altered world has been technology.

As governments enforced social distancing to halt the spread of the virus, technology brought us closer together, facilitating collaboration, creativity, and community. The number of people using video-conferencing and collaboration applications boomed overnight. Companies migrated quickly to cloud-based platforms, allowing employees to work remotely without the need for travel. Technology allowed businesses to operate, retailers to sell, and companies to deliver. Payments firms provided speedy, safe, and convenient services to millions of consumers worldwide. What once might have seemed a trickle of tech adoption by the few became a flurry of tech absorption by the many.

Technology will be more pivotal still in dealing with the flurry of unpredictable events, challenges, and opportunities that are bound to arise in 2021. We believe the best way to tackle this uncertainty is by crafting technology strategies, architectures, and solutions that are shapeless and formless, yet always flowing – like water. And like water, businesses can go beyond being “simply” being agile, speedy, and responsive. They can literally envelop the cases at hand, assuming these will instantiate, and break and reform themselves over and over again in an infinite number of ways.

To thrive in these uncertain times, we believe that every organization must embrace the following design principles:

  • Adapt First
    • Since time immemorial we design and implement systems for speed, efficiency, and user-friendliness – but not for coping with inevitable failures and unexpected change. Adapt First proposes building adaptability into each and every development, from the very start.
  • With Open Arms
    • In today’s marketplace, having an open technology platform is a necessity. But when everything else is open as well, you have to unleash a charm offensive to attract the right clients and partners. In this guise, With Open Arms helps you create a business magnet
  • Technology Business
    • Technology Business stems from the observation that simply aligning business and technology is not enough. Technology Businesses will only work when all involved consider themselves part of the same team.
    • IQ EQ CQ UP combines the three dimensions of brain and heart power: intelligence, emotional intelligence, and creativity. With a premium on creativity, you can use your corporate brain and your corporate heart for creation.
  • Trust
    • Trust is the headwater stream for Technology Business. But its flow is under attack. As such our Trust Thrust principle has never been of greater importance. Proactive trust secures the foundations for a Technology Business and provides a differentiating face to the market.
  • No Hands
    • No Hands on Deck is quite the challenging ambition: providing autonomy to automated processes. More systems already create, manage, and adapt themselves. A reduced number of hands on deck guarantees the smoothest sailing under the roughest conditions.
  • What’s our story
    • Finally, the mantra of What’s Our Story always has promoted dialogue as a key driver for change. But with today’s companies committed to growing their own, refreshed sense of purpose, this dialogue has a new and compelling sense.

Next to these design principles we see 37 key trends related to six main containers:

  1. Invisible Infostructure : This is about evolving the IT infrastructure into a simple, pluggable utility service that is invisible
  2. Applications Unleashed : Is all about liberating the legacy application landscape and unleashing the next generation of powerful, agile, api- and cloud-based apps.
  3. Thriving on Data: Leveraging data and algorithms as an asset to increase the “corporate IQ.”
  4. Process on The Fly: Building, managing, and running processes that match the dynamics of the digital world.
  5. You Experience: Creating seamless user experiences for decisive and engaging moments.
  6. We Collaborate: Tapping into the power of the connected and collaborative “everything.”

2021 promises to be a transformative year. Even if these days it seems difficult to predict what will happen next week let alone next year, we like to think that many technology businesses will see a renaissance; one that will leverage the breakneck speed of innovation that all businesses have seen, that yet again – but more successfully this time – focuses on its purpose, its corporate raison d’être. As the excellent, highly relevant report by the Capgemini Research Institute shows, AI provides many ways to drive climate action. And that is just one example.

There is an ocean of similar opportunities out there when it comes to the application of technology for a better and more sustainable, more inclusive world. Hopefully, TechnoVision will inspire you to sail these waters – with or without all hands on deck. Bon voyage!


Gunnar Menzel

Expert in Infrastucture Transformation Services