These Are the Tech Trends Boston Tech Is Betting on in 2021

by Michael Hines
December 14, 2020
The Boston Skyline
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No tech company has been successful simply based on its ability to spot trends. Yes, recognizing trends early is important, but being first means little if leaders aren’t also able to analyze a trend and forecast its potential impact on their company and industry.

Boston tech is full of leaders who’ve honed that skill, and we spoke with three of them to learn what tech trends they’re bullish on in 2021 and why.

 

formlabs
formlabs
Chris Ledoux
Chief Information Officer

Chris Ledoux, the chief information officer at Formlabs, acknowledges that zero trust cybersecurity isn’t exactly a new trend. According to security and risk management outlet CSO, the idea that everyone and everything trying to connect to a company’s systems should be verified first has been around since 2010. However, Ledoux believes the pandemic and the subsequent changes in work it’s ushered in will make zero trust worth keeping a close eye on in 2021.

 

What’s the number one tech trend you’ll be watching in 2021?

Zero trust cybersecurity. This trend is a carryover from prior years and will take on increased importance in 2021, especially given the workplace and business changes driven by the pandemic. Increased work from home, for example, puts additional pressure on the security of our network perimeter, and in-office work has required some redesigned physical controls to ensure employee safety and facilitate effective contact tracing. 
 

A zero trust approach provides a model for enhancing our overall security posture.”



How do you plan to incorporate this technology into your work in 2021 or beyond?

A zero-trust approach provides a model for enhancing our overall security posture while reducing some of the overhead of security management and improving the end-user experience. We will continue to evolve our security program aggressively toward this modern architecture in 2021 as we design and deploy new or revised controls and systems throughout the business.

 

Bob Howland
Chief Digital Officer

Tech is full of acronyms, and Bob Howland, the chief digital officer at bakery ingredient manufacturer and supply company Dawn Foods, believes “MACH” could be the industry’s next big one. Howland is one of the leaders of the company’s Digital Innovation Hub, an independent team within Dawn dedicated to digital transformation. One of the hub’s biggest projects of 2020 leveraged MACH architecture, and Howland told Built In Boston why he believes this approach is key to helping companies maintain their edge over the competition.

 

What’s the number one tech trend you’ll be watching in 2021?

Composable architecture, and more specifically, composable commerce. In order to future-proof technology, more and more leaders are moving to a modular or ecosystem approach where they select and assemble solutions from multiple providers. In this approach, the focus is on “fit for purpose” solutions that bring together “best of breed” provider platforms. 

To make this happen, leaders need to adopt an architecture based on microservices, API-first or API-led, cloud-first SaaS and headless, or “MACH,” for their solution delivery. If one of the modules does not fit, you simply swap it out for a different solution as opposed to being handcuffed by a long-term contract with a bundled solution provider. Teams who adopt a composable approach and a MACH architecture enable their business to be agile, flexible, scalable and ahead of the pack.
 

Teams who adopt a composable approach and a MACH architecture enable their business to be agile, flexible, scalable and ahead of the pack.”


How do you plan to incorporate this technology into your work in 2021 or beyond?

We launched our first-ever e-commerce solution in 2020 using this composable approach and MACH architecture. In 2021, we’ll continue to roll out new features every two weeks while we optimize our composable tools. The team is using site analytics and business intelligence to identify where we’ll get the biggest lift and prioritize our development work accordingly. We are just beginning to realize the really big benefits around composable commerce, and 2021 should be a lot of fun for the team. 

Another benefit around composable commerce is the ability to test and learn on a macro scale with solutions such as search, CMS, PIM and more. We are not only doing A/B testing on homepages but also testing and evaluating our search quality. The team truly is able to own the online customer experience at every level. But don’t take my word for it: Gartner predicts that by 2023, “organizations that have adopted a composable commerce approach will outpace the competition by 80 percent in the speed of new feature implementation.”

 

Isaiah Bollinger
CEO

Trellis is an e-commerce agency dedicated to helping brands achieve online sales success. According to CEO Isaiah Bollinger, headless commerce is a must-watch tech trend in 2021. However, Bollinger believes headless commerce’s impact will be felt not just in the e-commerce sector but throughout the tech industry.

 

What’s the number one tech trend you’ll be watching in 2021?

Headless commerce, which is the concept of using progressive web application technologies like React to decouple your back-office systems from your front-end user experience. This is a game-changer for e-commerce because you can use many systems for operations that can roll up to one unified front-end experience versus relying on one system to try and do it all. We believe 2021 is going to be a big year for the adoption of headless commerce.
 

I believe this will completely change the technology landscape and what technologies people will use.”


What impact do you think this trend will have on your industry in particular?

I believe this will completely change the technology landscape and what technologies people will use. It will also change the way that agencies and companies have to build websites. They will need new skill sets and processes for using this technology.

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