We are entering the third decade of the 21st century, and it is full of possibilities for companies who choose to embrace and leverage an open, modern technology landscape. What will we see from product teams creating new software for the enterprise and how will they prioritize what to build?

Here are three critical areas developers need to pay attention to for 2020 and beyond.

Partnerships will proliferate
In the next ten years, enterprise players will need to recognize the power of product partnerships. Strategic integration and interoperability between best-of-breed applications will be one of the keys to winning in the era of the digital and connected workplace. Rather than designing and building every aspect of the user experience, developers should focus on building products that only they can uniquely deliver. This requires intense focus and thoughtfulness to understand what you should build into your experience first-hand versus where partnerships expand market reach, bringing existing solutions to your customers.

Gartner’s top 10 technology trends for 2020
Software predictions for 2020 from around the industry

Employees of the next decade will continue to demand connected, end-to-end experiences that allow them to work when and where they want. Remote workers will become an increasingly large portion of future workforces, so building a seamless product that meets these requirements outside of the traditional office will be a crucial element in a software provider’s success. What will also be different in the coming decade is the expectation on SaaS companies to extend smooth integration and seamlessness to peer, external partner products.

What will really matter is not only what you build, but who you build with. Choosing the right partners involves evaluating both their capabilities, what they uniquely deliver, and the larger ecosystem that the partnership creates to provide your customers with value.

As we enter 2020, deeply integrating and streamlining cross-app experiences will be a skill and principle not to be underestimated.

Security is non-negotiable 
It goes without saying that security will play an enormous and vital role in future working environments, where the constant exchange of digital information between internal and external parties will be a rule, not an exception. Protecting your customer’s data above all else must be a guiding principle for all product design decisions. Security should be built in, not bolted on, and should permeate every level of a customers’ IT stack.

Earning and maintaining the trust of customers should be such a high priority that it goes hand in hand with adhering to compliance in today’s increasingly complicated and ever-changing regulatory environment. As we saw with GDPR and will see soon with the California Consumer Privacy Act, new sets of regulations are appearing on a constant basis. But security professionals should not only be concerned with addressing and maintaining compliance, but also with the products they choose to adopt.

Security breaches and lack of conformance to compliance can be business ending events for companies. Companies in the SaaS market have the responsibility and privilege to think deeply about building frictionless security into their products, while also being a custodian of their customers’ critical data and information. Going forward, the best security products will unlock instead of lock down information for the right people. Efforts to achieve security protection and compliance should not prevent effective and efficient collaboration and communication.

Simplicity breeds success
There is a natural tendency to add more and more features to a product as it evolves over time.

Often, these additional features are unnecessary, inserting complexity and potentially diminish the overall user experience. More than ever, development and product teams need to fight their impulses to keep building. As workforces become more integrated and the speed of information increases, it will be important to build products that remove steps, fight complexity and operate intuitively to meet end user needs. While insanely simple and functional may sound easy, this requires an immense amount of prioritization.

The most talented product teams simplify tasks for customers. These teams obsess over the question, could we make it any simpler? Their success is not about how many features they add to a product to deliver the desired result. It’s about how much is removed to make it still work.

Partner deeply, make it secure and simple
As we enter 2020, software that is built to extend and partner, secures mission critical information and enhances a simple user experience will empower and enable the enterprise workforces of tomorrow. Upholding these principles will surely be crucial not only to market differentiation, but to market success. And while these three key principles are not always easy to achieve, the effort you put into shaping and deciding what to build will be your biggest differentiator.