Cloud Computing will keep growing in 2021 as companies continue to leverage the economies and services cloud vendors offer. Below is our take on the significant Cloud Computing trends we expect to see in 2021.

Introduction of the Citizen Developer

The first under the Cloud Computing trends is the introduction of the citizen developer. The Citizen Developer concept opens up the power of connected systems to people who can not code. Tools such as If This Then That introduced ways in which ordinary folks (i.e., those of us that have not spent four years getting a Computer Science degree) can connect popular APIs and create customized automation.

Moving through 2021, expect to see Microsoft, AWS, Google, and many other companies release tools that make it easy for developers to create complex apps with a drag and drop interface. Microsoft's Power Platform is arguably the leader in this space with Power Apps, Power Flow, Power AI, and Power Builder. The four tools combined can create complex mobile and web apps that can interact with business tools. AWS is not resting, either, with the introduction of HoneyCode.

We will now look into the next cloud computing trend.

Better AI/ML

As a company, AWS has been building machine learning technology. They have many new integrations in the works with the latest AWS DeepLens camera. 

Google is also heavily invested in machine learning, and they have all kinds of machine learning-based products. We recently saw the rollout of Google Lens, which allows you to point your camera at things in the world to find out more information. I expect we'll see that deployed in other parts of their Google product line this year. They know the importance of machine learning and its significance to their AI roadmap.

IBM is an enterprise leader in this space and is one of the driving forces behind a significant shift in how computing is conducted. Most of their investments have been in AI and machine learning-related initiatives. 

The next under the cloud computing trends is automation.


The secret sauce for Cloud is the potential for automation. When done right, automation can increase your delivery team's efficiency, improve the quality of systems and networks, and reduce the risk associated with slow systems or downtime. The challenge is that automation is not easy. As the investment in citizen developer tools and AI expands, expect to see more devices released to make automation much more comfortable with cloud vendors.

Continued Investment in Data

The Cloud has already extended to helping organizations analyze, store, collate and analyze data. That trend will continue, but data will be stored in much larger databases in a distributed computing environment in the future. 

A big step forward will be to process large volumes of data by storing it not in databases but in graphics processing units (GPUs), which can massively parallelize computing. This trend is already well underway and is likely to continue to grow over the coming years. This change has many ramifications, from how we compute, store and use data to the type of business systems we will develop in the future.

It is also going to increase the need for new computer architectures. As data continues to grow, it will be distributed across many different machines across the data center, and many of these machines will be running traditional and new computing models. The conventional CPU is an example of a system architecture that will be made less relevant in the future, as it cannot perform processing across many nodes.

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On the other hand, GPUs can be configured to perform this processing on clusters of machines and, while they don't have a general-purpose processor like a CPU, they can be programmed to run many types of operations.

Ultimately, all this will result in organizations needing to run a vast number of algorithms parallel to clusters of machines to perform real-time analyses. In this way, the Cloud will enable organizations to acquire computing resources in a flexible, agile manner.

Let's look at the next under the cloud computing trends.


The #1 Cloud computing trend for 2021 is increased competition between AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. The competition will come in three distinct ways:

  • Pricing and Financial Incentives
  • Reliability
  • Other vendors

The fastest way to break down investment barriers is to lower costs. The model that AWS introduces (you pay for what you use) will expand through all services and replace subscription models. Expect to see all cloud companies deliver tools that clearly show resource usage and the service's per-byte cost.

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In addition to greater transparency for services, also expect Cloud companies to offer deals for large commitments. The cloud companies want your business and are willing to pay for it. If you are making any investment into the Cloud, you should be asking the service provider to be clear on what investment they are making into you as a customer.

Reliability is another key differentiator. Early in 2021, Google Cloud Platform suffered a significant service interruption. The interruption impacted many companies and was a black eye for GCP. The reality, however, is that cloud hosting reliability has never been better. With that said, expect all vendors to continue to double down on reliability. 

In many ways, it is early days for the Cloud, and many other companies, such as Alibaba, IBM, and TCS, want you to use their cloud services. More competition equals better choices for customers. There is big money going into Cloud, and you should ask all of your vendors what their Cloud strategy is and where they can provide you the financial incentive to use their Cloud services.

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To position your enterprise to take full advantage of the emerging Cloud trends in 2021, you need to ensure your team has the skills to create and implement a winning cloud strategy.  You’ll want to look into upskilling programs such as the Cloud Architect Master’s Program for your key staff members.

About the Author

Matthew DavidMatthew David

Matt is a Digital Leader at Accenture. His passion is a combination of solving today's problems to run more efficiently, adjusting focus to take advantage of digital tools to improve tomorrow and move organizations to new ways of working that impact the future.

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