7 cloud priorities for 2021

7 cloud priorities for 2021

Frédéric Cruchet, Global Head of Cloud Services at Sogeti, outlines the seven key cloud development priorities for 2021.

Disruption was the hallmark of 2020. COVID 19 impacted the world in ways no one could have predicted. As organizations continue to respond to the crisis, those prepared to pivot and adapt will weather all types of disruption better than others. It is all about business resilience — and cloud is an enabler for that.

Cloud also has a role to play in bringing to fruition the expected technology trends for 2021. How? By enabling fast, agile, and scalable implementation. The most relevant of these trends, as described by Gartner[1], are:

  • Distributed cloud - here we will see enterprises leveraging public cloud providers’ datacenters to deal with issues around latency, as well as around data privacy and data location in terms of in-country datacenters for compliance purposes. This will lead to organizations operating with multiple public clouds sourced from different providers distributed across different locations, especially as the big tech players are opening datacenters in new locations every year.
  • Anywhere operation - this model of operation for everywhere customer experience and everywhere employee enablement is about ensuring secure access to enterprise assets from anywhere. It presupposes a "Digital First & Remote First" approach, whereby a physical presence is no longer the priority.
  • AI engineering and Internet of Behaviors - these will require three main pillars DataOps (2), MLOps (3) and DevOps, with cloud providing the scalability, agility and reliability required for each of those operating models.
  • Hyperautomation - this is the key to both digital operation excellence and operational resiliency. Hyperautomation leveraging public cloud orchestration and DevOps is a key success factor in ensuring efficient operation and processes in the cloud.

Cloud is clearly a factor in all these trends, so what do the next twelve months look like for cloud? While it is always a challenge to predict any trends, and especially so in today’s disrupted environment, we found considerable consensus around our 7 priorities for cloud in 2021.




#1 - Public cloud will be central to the post pandemic ‘new normal’

The aggressive move to public cloud, already proceeding at a healthy pace before the pandemic, will spike in 2021, yielding even greater enterprise adoption, cloud provider revenue, and business value.

This is borne out by Forrester[4], who previously predicted that the public cloud infrastructure market would grow 28% to reach $113.1 billion in 2021. The analyst firm has since predicted that even with a surge in edge computing spending, the global public cloud infrastructure market will grow 35% to $120 billion in 2021.

The tech vendors who stand to gain the most are the big players, such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, who provide full, cloud-to-edge ecosystems that enable seamless new normal lifestyles.




#2 - Cloud-native tech consumption will continue to grow

Cloud-native technologies (e.g., containers, Kubernetes, and serverless) help companies build, migrate, and modernize customer-facing apps more easily, at scale — from the datacenter to the cloud to the edge.

According to Forrester[5], prior to the pandemic, 19% of developers regularly used serverless functions and 22% regularly used containers to build and run application software on public clouds. Pandemic recovery will dramatically accelerate this consumption as companies look to quickly develop new apps and adopt a “public cloud-native-first” strategy, preferring to consume rather than build cloud-native platforms on-premises.

The analyst further expects that 25% of developers will regularly use serverless and regular container usage will hit 28% by the end of 2021.

These solutions and associated low-code platforms will be essential ingredients in more and more enterprise strategies for application modernization, digital transformation, and business continuity.

To gain business agility, enterprises will commit to modernizing over half of their existing applications by 2022 through the use of turnkey cloud-native development and deployment services.




#3 - Enterprises will mitigate cloud lock-in through hybrid and multi-cloud strategies

In 2020, the growing dominance of public clouds compelled traditional enterprise computing companies to set their strategic focus on hybrid and multi-clouds. In 2021, enterprises will become more uneasy with their reliance on the top tier providers as cloud increasingly becomes a commodity. IT professionals will seek out hybrid and multi-cloud tools to reduce their risk of being locked-in to specific providers. This is already a mainstream tactic, with Flexera[6] estimating that 93 percent of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy and 87 percent have a hybrid cloud strategy.

In 2021, Forrester[7] predicts that regulations will present a challenge as enterprises are forced to look carefully at different public cloud partners in order to ensure the providers they choose are compliant with local regulation in each business region of operation.

Governments will further limit choice of public cloud in 2021. For example, in Europe, the idea of a sovereign cloud — GAIA-X — is gaining momentum.




#4 - Orchestration is at the center of the hybrid/multi-cloud storm

The winning trio for cloud success comprises orchestration, DevOps, and automation. With this in mind, developing knowledge and capacity in orchestration for hybrid/multi-cloud environments will be critical.

The growing maturity of hybrid/multi-cloud offerings from AWS (Outposts), Microsoft (ARC), and Google (Anthos) will tempt enterprise cloud managers into increasing their spending with these providers. At the same time, private-cloud stalwarts IBM, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Cisco, Dell EMC, VMware, and others will continue to beef up their hybrid/multi-cloud integrations with the dominant public cloud services in order to defend their enterprise IT market shares.

We can already see this reflected in the OpenShift open hybrid cloud platform, which IBM acquired as the foundation for its Cloud Paks software offerings. Integrated containerized software, Cloud Paks is infused with Artificial Intelligence and addresses particular needs for multi-cloud management, as well as the automation of application migration, data, and integration.




#5 - Cloud & data are the main enablers for digital transformation at scale

Through 2021, all enterprises will struggle with app modernization and data integration across cloud silos; 20% (Forrester[8]) will adopt connected cloud architectures as a priority to overcome these concerns.

Complexity of data platform integration in distributed cloud, hybrid/multi- public cloud environments will increase even more with deployment of AI at enterprise scale.




#6 - Cloud economics and cost optimization will drive cloud adoption

A focus on cloud economics will be a growing trend in 2021 as organizations endeavor to derive more value form their cloud choices. By 2024 nearly all legacy applications migrated to public cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) will require optimization to become more cost-effective. Cloud providers will continue to strengthen their native optimization capabilities to help organizations select the most cost-effective architecture for delivering the required performance.

Millions of cloud spending is being wasted as a result of inefficiency. Gartner[9] predicts that by 2022 overall cloud spend will reach more than $330 billion, with current estimates suggesting that billions of this is already the result of needless and wasted outlay. Why? Because resources are being over-provisioned in order to buy peace of mind. Further, performance tuning is only occurring in scenarios when an SLA isn't met, instead of continuously as new code is released.

This situation cannot continue. Indeed, as predicted by IDC[10], I expect to see a change taking place by 2022 as enterprises come to the realization that they are wasting at least 20% of their public cloud spending. This will drive them to invest in public cloud cost management, with the goal of cutting cloud waste in half.

Cloud cost management and optimization (CCMO) will be a key success factor for organizations keen to close the gap between expectations and reality. It will drive cloud adoption. Further, it will limit cloud repatriation where, driven by a mix of security, performance and cost issues, enterprises move back to an on-premises solution.




#7 - Apps modernization will be the first approach for most enterprises moving to cloud

As remote work remains a mainstream approach, SaaS providers of all sorts will be poised for runaway growth. In 2021, Gartner[11] envisions SaaS to remain the largest cloud market segment by revenues, growing to $117.7 billion by year end. However, PaaS-based application services will grow even faster, driven by enterprise customers’ increasing emphasis on cloud-native, containerized, and serverless cloud platforms.

Instead of following advice from public cloud providers to move fast to the cloud through a lift and shift approach, many organizations are modernizing their applications first while moving to cloud to secure their respective business cases. According to Verified Market Research[12], the application modernization market was valued at USD 7.74 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 30.59 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 18.7 % from 2019 to 2026.

One of the biggest PaaS growth segments in 2021 will be multi-cloud serverless offerings from Microsoft, Red Hat, and others. These solutions and associated low-code platforms will be essential ingredients in a growing number of enterprise strategies for application modernization, digital transformation, and business continuity.





I have always enjoyed the quote ‘never make predictions, especially about the future.’ Nevertheless, as we all look for ways to bring about the important change of moving to the ‘new normal’, I believe the priorities identified above are fairly safe bets. They are also well supported by predictions provided by market analysts. Equally, it is highly likely that the speed and scale of change will be faster than predicted due to the agility and flexibility required by all organizations in their response to the current pandemic.



[1] Gartner: Top strategic technology trends for 2021
[2] DataOps is an automated, process-oriented methodology used by analytics and data teams to improve quality and reduce cycle time in data analysis.
[3] MLOps (a compound of “machine learning” and “operations”) is a practice for collaboration and communication between data scientists and operations professionals to help manage production ML (or deep learning) lifecycle. MLOps looks to increase automation and improve the quality of production ML while also focusing on business and regulatory requirements.
[4] Forrester: Cloud Predictions 2021
[5] Forrester: Cloud Predictions 2021
[6] Flexterra:Cloud Computing Trends: 2020 State of the Cloud Report
[7] Forrester: Cloud Predictions 2021
[8] Forrester: Cloud Predictions 2021
[9] Gartner: Top strategic technology trends for 2021
[10] IDC: Cloud 2021 Predictions
[11] Gartner: Top strategic technology trends for 2021
[12] Verified Market Research: https://www.verifiedmarketresearch.com/product/application-modernization-market/


For a chat about Sogeti’s approach to cloud, please get in touch:


Frederic Cruchet
Frederic Cruchet
VP & Global Head of Cloud Services, Sogeti