Nichole Kelly, VP of growth, Windward Consulting Group
IT leaders must focus on developing soft skills like compassion, empathy and emotional intelligence when managing teams in a remote infrastructure. Employees are dealing with a vast array of challenges related to the pandemic that require more flexibility and understanding from their leaders. Special considerations should be made not only for parents, but also for caretakers of vulnerable populations and those who have multiple family members working from home in small spaces. 

Franz Aman, CMO, relational database company MariaDB
 Three hundred and sixty. That’s the number of database systems out in the wild. And while choice is good and finding the right tool for the job is smart, it also adds major complexity. As companies move to modernize in the cloud, they will seek simplification, which will lead to massive consolidation in the database market. Database vendors that offer multi-functional capabilities will win, rather than a multitude of niche databases that need to be stitched together and require different ways of accessing data.

David Karandish, CEO, helpdesk solution provider Capacity
2021 will be the death of the point solution. Organizations are exhausted at the prospect of working with yet another vendor to solve yet another business problem with existing tech stacks. Instead, organizations will look to vendors that take a holistic approach to their problem sets.

Tim Armandpour, SVP of engineering, PagerDuty
AI isn’t taking over — it’s getting a new job description: copilot. CIOs looking to AI to run their organizations on autopilot (hoping to improve their bottom line) are doomed to fail. Rather than taking over control, AI is going to take care of day-to-day repetitive tasks and keep the system running so developers can focus on more creative, intangible processes.

Jeff Whalen, VP of product, fuzz testing provider ForAllSecure
Rust will continue to mature and will become a preferred language for new projects. Developers have found that it offers performance without compromising safety. Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Cloudflare, and many others are transitioning projects to Rust, or selecting Rust as the language of choice for new projects. 

Federico Larsen, co-founder and CTO, Copado, a Value Stream platform for Salesforce
Next year’s continuation of a remote work world will encourage businesses to continue improving their ability to coordinate as digital teams. Value stream mapping will be a major focus for software developers and DevOps teams since it provides a way for teams to align around customer value and identify optimizations. Value stream maps will be the anchor for IT teams to not only quantify their performance and visualize the process in real-time, but also allow them to stay competitive. Goals are constantly changing and value stream maps give teams the opportunity to quickly iterate on processes to keep up with the pace of our new normal.

Anupam Singh, chief customer officer, Cloudera 
The public cloud is still Post-It notes and passwords, with no clear-cut answer on who is responsible for cloud security privileges. I predict that next year we’ll see security and governance take center stage. Everyone thinks of the cloud as a cost-effective and efficient solution, but the key that they’re missing is the governance model. 

Monte Zweben, CEO and co-founder, Splice Machine
Feature Stores will be the #1 product used to operationalize Machine Learning in 2021. Ninety percent of the work done by data scientists is boring, monotonous, and repetitive. Feature stores allow data scientists to more efficiently convert raw data into features, by providing a methodology that can be shared within a company.  

Lelah Manz, SVP, GM of web performance, Akamai
Builder culture will continue to drive innovation. As forward-leaning organizations embrace their roles as creators of digital experiences for their end users, the ability for developers to independently innovate becomes tantamount to their competitive differentiation and ultimately their success. 

Michael Beckley, CTO and co-founder, Appian 
BPM is Back (Again).: The death and rebirth of BPM has occurred countless times over the past two decades. COVID-19 proved that fast and powerful process automation is crucial to keep people and enterprise data connected — no matter the circumstances.

Brendan O’Leary, senior developer evangelist, GitLab
CI/CD will be vital for developer recruitment and retention. As more organizations move to working remotely indefinitely and as more initiatives are moved virtually, the demand for developer services will continue to grow. It is key for organizations to adopt continuous integration and delivery models in order to recruit and retain top developer talent. 

Sendur Sellakumar, SVP of cloud, Splunk
Successful organizations will blur (or erase) the line between ITOps and DevOps. People say the DevOps movement is a transformation and a journey; I actually don’t think it’s a journey. Instead, I think it’s a different way of adopting, and it increases the heterogeneity of the operating model for our companies. In other words, for most organizations, DevOps has to coexist with traditional IT operations.

Hans Eckman, principal research director, Info-Tech Research Group
DevOps will follow the path of ‘BADgile,’ becoming Dev-‘Oops.’ Many teams are mistakenly ‘Doing Agile’ rather than ‘Being Agile,’ and have ended up with what I like to call BADgile. The same affliction also impacts teams moving to DevOps, their over-focus on automation tools resulting in missed requirements and defects being pushed into production.  

Reza Shafii, vice president of products, Kong
As we transition to an 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, those who don’t will lose more relevance. 

Antony Edwards, COO, Eggplant
2021 will see a shift from the speed of delivery of software and applications to focusing on the quality of the digital experience. Continuous delivery will no longer be an acceptable excuse for low quality. The approach of ‘just release it, and if there are problems, we’ll fix it in the next release’ will be retired. Users will no longer tolerate this, which will tip the balance towards quality rather than speed of delivery.

Clara Angotti, president of migration automation provider Next Pathway
We predict that cloud services will grow at a rate of 40% as companies will drive to re-platform in order to be more nimble, cost-effective and customer-driven. The movement to the cloud will be seen as a ‘must-have’ for every company. The growth of cloud offerings will make it easier and cheaper for all companies, large and small, to take advantage of the cloud. Companies will evolve from a “cloud-first” strategy to a “cloud-only” strategy, ensuring that operational efficiencies are realized along with better access to information and more meaningful insights to key data.

Alyssa Miller, cybersecurity advocate, Snyk
DevSecOps culture will grow. Developer workloads are exploding, with responsibility for software development, infrastructure, micro services and security. Not only is this unsustainable but it puts applications at risk of being vulnerable, having a poor interface and a delayed roll out. To overcome this, developers need to join forces with security and operations team. Next year, there will be a surge in DevSecOps which will see people, process and culture come together to create stronger, more secure applications while limiting the stress, workload and pressure put on developers.