By Chitra Balasubramanian – CFO, CircleCI
If 2021 taught us anything, we learned that the only constant is change.
In 2022 changes will continue to evolve, creating complex challenges that will require software as part of the solution. Rising expectations of technological innovation will require business leaders across industries to tighten and refine their strategies around security and hybrid working environments, collaboration, change validation, among other practices.
Below are five trends that leaders should be thinking about now in order to achieve optimal business success in the new year.
Security and hybrid working improvements across finance and beyond
In the UK alone, the proportion of people working from home has more than doubled since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and it is likely this trend will continue into 2022. Indeed, a recent survey by Virgin Media Business predicted that 60% of employees will regularly work from home by 2022.
What’s more, according to a recent CDW report, six in ten IT workers believe that working remotely has made their organisation more vulnerable to cyber attacks. Cybersecurity mesh – a form of architecture that provides an integrated approach to security IT assets no matter their location – could resolve concerns around the security of hybrid working. By providing a more standardised and responsive approach, cybersecurity mesh is forecasted to reduce the financial implications of cyber incidents by 90% in less than two years.
Why is this important? In today’s digital world, companies need high-performing software development teams and tools to help them build, test, and iterate without clunky legacy technology slowing things down. Investing in the right tools and development techniques will increase developer velocity, shorten build times, reduce maintenance overhead, and lower both infrastructure and development costs. With an increasing percentage of teams adopting a hybrid working approach, this is more critical than ever.
Consumer expectations will rise, requiring more collaboration between finance and engineering teams
We are squarely in the middle of a huge shift in the way software is bought and used. Previously exceptional product experiences are now expected to be more beautiful, intuitive, powerful, and affordable than ever before. With the demand for product quality at an all time high, and customer satisfaction a main driver of business success, finance and engineering teams need to work closer to knowledge share, and empower each to make effective decisions in concert.
The models and strategies that have been rolled out separately, may no longer work in the best interest of the business. The more connected finance and engineering are, the smoother business operating processes will become as the interconnectedness of functions becomes increasingly complex.
Software innovation’s need for more automation and change validation
Automation technologies also have a broader role to play in business and software development from 2022. Most companies work with some form of hybrid or cloud infrastructure, with recent statistics revealing that 92% of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy and 82% have a hybrid cloud strategy. For teams running several different clouds, managing this has become almost impossible without some form of automation as they evolve their DevOps.
Software development will become even more reliant on automation and DevOps best practices like continuous integration and delivery, as the complexity of software dependencies and supply chains becomes an increasingly intricate lacework. The growing adoption of cloud storage, service-oriented architectures, third-party API-based services, and open source code, makes modern software development monumentally complex.
Therefore, continuous validation – that is, constantly validating that all software changes and dependencies are working – will become absolutely critical to how software teams integrate and manage changes before code hits production, ensuring they deliver and maintain high quality software applications.
The DevOps problem set will expand, creating opportunity for many players in the space
Not long ago, DevOps as a concept was much less understood. Today, the public investor market is excited by DevOps, with several record breaking IPOs closing out the year.
This is just the beginning as software innovation continues to pick up speed. Where we once relied only on physical and retail, the interconnectedness of our multi-channeled information world is unfathomable. These complexities, driven by a mountain of dependencies, will require rich, specialised, solutions to manage and validate all of the moving pieces.
The red thread through technology change
Software development infrastructure is the platform ‘machine’ that streamlines the ability to quickly and confidently ship quality software – meaning developers can focus more time on innovating by building core customer-facing products. In addition to streamlining processes and reducing developer toil, the proper software and technology infrastructure will enable data-driven decision-making, using high fidelity real-time data sets and analytics systems. Investment in infrastructure and data systems contributes directly to business results, and companies that invest in these areas will considerably outperform their peers in 2022.
Companies that empower teams to harness technology to automate repetitive, routine tasks, will create an environment where their best and brightest human minds will thrive, create and innovate. These companies will leapfrog those relying on outdated practices, which waste precious time and see skills atrophy. Eventually, every company that puts software expertise, hybrid working and intelligent infrastructure at the centre of its business will win.
Whatever other technologies and practices emerge in 2021, software will be at the heart of faster, stronger, better solutions for business and consumer use. Organisations that double down on their software innovation abilities may be able to go beyond improving their operations or service provision. They may be able to compete in entirely new markets and unlock new revenue streams, and we expect to see leaders showing the way from next year, and for this to become an important trend.