2016 is a stake-in-the-ground year in the age of the customer, a 20-year business cycle in which the most successful enterprises will reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers. Customer-obsessed leaders will see tangible business growth from their strategy shift, while laggards will spiral down the slow path of mediocrity.
Firms’ insatiable focus on the customer makes it an opportune year for software developers. Companies can’t just buy great customer experiences from ISVs, or else everyone would. Modern app development techniques will become more important than ever in 2016, as companies hustle to improve their customer-facing systems of engagement. As a result…
In 2016, software developers will move to new frameworks and languages (in particular, those that span both mobile and Web development fields, such as Facebook’s React and React Native) in parallel with a transition from pure HTML and JS to a combined JSX. They will also allow for some shared code across both.
Companies won’t develop what they can buy instead, driving SaaS revenue growth. A thoughtful coexistence of buy and build is emerging, with custom development largely focused on differentiation, while packaged software is focused on economies of scale. Developers will need to selectively boost business flexibility by leveraging Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and cloud-based application service provider offerings. In 2016, this will result in multiple software vendors with SaaS- or cloud-based software revenue exceeding US$1 billion. It will be up to developers to set the boundary of build vs. buy. Architecture changes, governance changes, and sourcing and vendor management changes accompany this dual strategy. The rate of value change fragmentation will vary by industry, but application architectures will need to support custom-built systems of engagement linked to SaaS-based systems for behind-the-scenes workloads.
Supply-chain-management principles will help govern open-source implementation. Ninety percent of applications use open-source software (OSS), and 80% of developers have deployed it in their apps in the past 12 months. But many organizations have limited visibility into the composition of their software, as well as the quality or vulnerabilities of open-source components that are included. In 2016, organizations will wake up and realize that they have a serious management problem that needs to be solved. Developers will borrow practices from lean manufacturing and supply-chain management to gain control over the proliferation of OSS components in their applications and their overall software portfolios.
Agile and Continuous Delivery will finally meet architecture. Mobile, APIs, Internet of Things, predictive analytics, and other application styles are proliferating, delivery cycles get shorter, and microservices decrease the size of each deployment while increasing the number of components deployed. These trends mean that development organizations run greater risks that solutions delivered by different dev teams won’t play well together.
2016 will see growing adoption of what Forrester calls agile-plus architecture. Developers will need to work with their architecture teams to develop organizational structures and processes that bring streamlined, collaborative architecture practices into their agile and Continuous Delivery streams. This requires a culture change for both developers and architects.
Of course, implementing these changes will not be a simple task, but, by following the trends and practices identified in this article, customer-obsessed developers and development teams will have a clear picture on the coming challenges in 2016.