Jason Smith
Chief User Experience Officer

DXP Tech Trends to Watch For In 2021

Mar 17, 2021
By: Jason Smith

Technology has evolved at such a rapid pace that many things that were cutting edge ten years ago seem like ancient history today. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum, we're using five times more technology than we did in 2010. This means that if you have been working for ten years or longer, your job has probably changed drastically from when you first started. The rate of change will only continue to accelerate as time goes on and new developments come up every day.

The year 2020 brought massive changes to the way we do things and how we work, and technology has done its best to adapt to the changing ecosystem. Digitalization and its many advancements have empowered businesses to achieve much more. As a result, software vendors have had to become more imaginative and innovative to stay ahead of the competition.

The headless CMS and DXP industry isn’t impervious to that disruption and new software architectures, among other disruptions, have changed the game, confirming that traditional CMSs aren’t cut for the challenge.

The tech industry is evolving every year, and it's difficult to predict what will happen in the future, but we can make educated guesses about it. With that in mind, we uncovered the latest tech trends for 2021 to see how they might impact the future of DXPs and content management.

Data Protection Becomes Even More Important

While many companies have neglected their data management and protection, digital experience platforms have been doing everything in their power to prevent data breach and protect their customers' data.

The untapped value of data makes comprehensive protection a necessity, and it's safe to assume that in 2021, with the rise of omnichannel marketing and behavioral advertising, the value of data as a currency will increase. For digital experience platforms, that means becoming more attuned to data protection policies to offer both backend users and the visitors that interact with the digital experience, greater privacy and more control over what kind of information they are sharing.

More Customers Demand Omnichannel Customer Experiences

According to Digital Commerce 360, there was a 43% increase in online shopping in Q4 2020 compared to last year. That's not a surprise due to the circumstances, but it's a signal that customers are looking for different channels and ways of purchasing products.

Omnichannel marketing is slowly becoming the norm, and 2021 will see that trend solidify into a new reality. Thus, with the rise of omnichannel, marketers need to verify whether or not their campaigns are resulting in sales and assess which channels are more lucrative and why. An omnichannel-ready DXP can provide them with the analytical tools to inform them about their customer journeys across devices.

Edge Computing Sees Exponential Growth

Edge computing is part of most CDNs, and it's been widely used over the past years, but with the rise of connected vehicles, IoT-powered devices, and 5G networks, edge computing might see a surge in 2021. Edge computing networks help with the already low latency speeds of 5G networks. Edge computing has the potential to help digital experience platforms address the increasing consumption of data and add resiliency and content delivery speed by leveraging the distributed computing capabilities of an edge computing network. Plus, as edge computing progresses towards open standards and vendor neutrality, it seems that the trend is gaining more momentum.

Companies Begin Moving To Multi-Cloud Environments

A multi-cloud strategy distributes cloud assets, software tools, and apps across different cloud environments to prevent incidents and minimize downtime. Until recently, most companies simply chose one cloud provider and stuck with it, but by following a multi-cloud approach, companies can break vendor lock-in and gain different tools, which results in more autonomy for businesses.

From the DXP standpoint, being multi-cloud enhances the platform's flexibility and capacity to face issues. Similarly, it enables a true best of breed approach and helps platforms push the limits of technology by fostering an environment of innovation that's not vendor-dependent.

Microservices Architecture Is Booming

The microservices architecture is slowly replacing the traditional, monolithic architecture, especially in large scale software development. Despite being a tad more complex than the traditional approach, microservices architecture is easier to maintain, build, and deploy, enabling greater flexibility and quicker software changes.

In the microservices architecture, developers can build modular software with interchangeable parts. In 2021, thanks to the MACH Alliance initiatives, we will see how microservices architecture becomes simpler as more software vendors and developers start to adopt it in their projects.

React Will Continue Growing

Frontend frameworks and libraries like React help solve development problems when building maintainable and modular applications. React simplifies the creation of interactive user interfaces. It allows developers to build UI components and complete user interfaces, including all the visual elements and the logic governing these elements. According to both npm Trends and StackOverflow Developer Survey, React is the most liked, and fastest-growing library. That growth is expected to continue fueled by the large community of developers that compose it.

SPAs and PWAs Gain Prominence

Thanks to the Jamstack architecture, single-page applications and progressive web apps are becoming the norm. In 2021, as Jamstack establishes itself as a popular architecture, SPAs, due to their simplicity and benefits such as quicker content hydration and improved website speeds.

As search engines become more supportive of SPAs, developers are starting to invest themselves more in building them. Similarly, PWAs are becoming more common, as they enable an app-like experience without adding extra tools to your tech stack. They can interact with the visitors as apps, providing a seamless experience in both desktop and mobile.

Docker Loses Terrain Against Kubernetes In the Containerization Space

In December 2020, Kubernetes announced that it was going to deprecate Docker in favor of CRI (Container Runtime Interface). While this doesn't spell doom for Docker, Kubernetes has been establishing itself as the leading container orchestration and management technology.It’s now ruling the public and private cloud landscapes, to the point where every major cloud provider now offers managed Kubernetes services along with their containerization services. That means that we will see more adoption of Kubernetes in hybrid and multi-cloud environments and data platforms and possibly even AI and ML initiatives.

Jamstack Achieves Maturity

Netlify's State of The Jamstack Survey demonstrated that Jamstack isn't the new kid on the block anymore. In fact, it has become increasingly popular and is not a fringe development architecture anymore. In fact, Jamstack has become increasingly mainstream, with 35% of the surveyed developers stating that they develop enterprise software using the Jamstack architecture.

Similarly, the survey showed that 71% of the respondents used the Jamstack approach for two years or less. Only 16% of respondents were novice software engineers, which means that most of the community developers are experienced and pushing towards maturity.

AI-based Personalization Sees Widespread Adoption

Personalization has come a long way. Rule-based personalization has been around for years now. While it works just fine, AI has become increasingly successful in delivering personalized product recommendations and content and directing users to digital experiences based on their actions better than its rule-based counterpart.

In 2021, personalization will become less daunting and more mainstream and widespread as online retail becomes more prominent in the shoppers' lives. DXPs have already begun leveraging AI's power to personalize offers by giving users granular offers such as improved 'shop the look' options based on data the platform has gathered.

More Vendors Embrace GraphQL and Move Away from REST

GraphQL and REST are two of the most popular API design standards on the web these days. REST has been the standard for a long time, while GraphQL is fairly new. The truth is that there are many good reasons for developers to move away from REST and embrace GraphQL.

The language excels in complex, microservices-based architectures and is designed to take full advantage of the potential the latest devices and new technologies bring. Plus, GraphQL resolvers allow processing multiple fields in one request. Plus, developers can call the same field multiple times within a query.

Collaboration Reaches An All-Time High

2020 brought a surge in collaboration and DXPs and CMSs have had to adapt to the new ecosystem. Software vendors are paving the way for enhanced collaboration and are creating features meant for improving cross-team collaboration. Also, modern platforms are emphasizing their position as employee experience hubs with intranets and social networking tools to help remote and distributed teams connect.

NoCode and LowCode Will Expand

The rapid pace of the digital transformation has created an enormous demand for software developers, and even though new developers have quenched the demand from emerging countries, it's still not enough. Recently, NoCode and LowCode tooling have gained traction, enabling non-technical users to build digital experiences with less effort and significantly less knowledge of programming languages. For DXP and CMS users, a LowCode platform means fewer weeks of planning and development, resulting in additional testing deployment time.

dotCMS: A DXP Prepared for The Future

Unlike most pure headless CMS, as a hybrid DXP, dotCMS provides users with access to intuitive authing features like drag and drop, layout design, and personalization. dotCMS' NoCode/LowCode capabilities give non-technical users the tools they need to create layouts, templates, and content workflows.

With our Edit Mode Anywhere SPA editor, marketing teams gain a superior editor experience that transcends the traditional delivery models as well as greater flexibility to create content without having to rely on an IT team to publish and edit content for them. The future is hybrid, and a platform like dotCMS that's capable of giving both developers and marketers the best of traditional and headless CMS will be pivotal for companies who want to survive in the digital ecosystem of the future.

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