The pandemic has helped to drive a digital transformation all over the world, with work processes migrating online. In a survey conducted by McKinsey last year, a majority of the respondents recognized the need for a technological transformation in order for their companies’ business models to stay economically viable, with 64% saying that their companies need to build new digital businesses to avoid becoming obsolete. With this in mind, it is crucial for businesses to make informed decisions to drive innovative technology strategies.

To help businesses prepare for the stage of digital evolution, we have identified 7 trends that businesses should keep abreast of in order to be better equipped to drive strategies that help them succeed in their digital transformation initiatives.

Businesses will embrace development platforms to increase developer productivity

With more tech firms entering the country, Singapore finds itself in a talent shortage, with tech giants winning the race for scarce developer talent as they offer attractive salaries and benefits. Smaller businesses, on the other hand, may not be able to provide or match the same incentives and have to embrace new ways to attract hires. 

Businesses will soon realize that in order to increase developer productivity and maximize the roles of current engineers, they will have to embrace development platforms. This will allow their development teams to focus on creativity and innovation over the tedious aspect of software development. 

One example of a company that has embraced development platforms is Certis, Singapore’s leading advanced integrated security provider. With the help of development platforms, Certis was able to release a mobile application for its security officers, trainers and assessors. Despite being in its early stages, Certis observed an annual recurring saving of nearly SGD 250,000 during its development phase – a result of productivity improvement across the team.  

Developers to demand a simpler, trustworthy security experience

In light of high profile ransomware attacks in the past year, software developers are facing increasing pressure to create safe and trustworthy programs. A recent case of a ransomware attack in Singapore affected the personal data and clinical information of nearly 73,500 patients, proving that despite subscribing to appropriate anti-virus and other protective software, organizations still face the risk of data breaches. As businesses put their trust in IT service providers, it is critical for developers to build a credible IT ecosystem.

Since most of these developers do not have the expertise in the field of cybersecurity, this heightened pressure they face may hinder development processes and inhibit their ability to create innovative programs. Not only that, they need to assure companies that custom software development provides similar levels of security and compliance as Software as a service (SaaS). As a result, developers will demand development tools that are more reliable and protected against security vulnerabilities, as well as development platforms that provide security and are able to adapt to the constantly evolving businesses and technologies.

Increased focus on DEI initiatives for developer talent 

For many years, organizations, especially in the technology sector, have attempted to implement diversity initiatives. However, according to a report by the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) and Human Resource Consulting firm Kincentric, only six in 10 firms in Singapore have started incorporating diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) in their hiring and promotion processes. This year, we are seeing more IT decision-makers pledging to be held accountable to meet diversity, equity, and inclusion goals when it comes to developer talent. 

While developers focus on building solutions for technology and businesses, companies should also examine their hiring processes to improve the recruitment of diverse candidates in the technology sector. One way that we have committed to support the growth of software developers is through recruiting and supporting talents from diverse communities alongside organizations that support diversity and inclusion. 

Increased demand for DevSecOps raises adoption of app dev platforms

According to Check Point Software’s 2021 Cyber Trends Report, global cyberattacks rose 29% in the first half of 2021. This was largely a result of remote working which created opportunities for hackers to attack servers. As many continue to work from home, executives leading IT and software engineering teams remain concerned about the ability of their organization’s security to resist cybersecurity risks. With data privacy becoming increasingly threatened, it has never been more important for organizations to find an approach that ensures an efficient and secure delivery. As such, instead of relying on the complex nature of multiple teams with different secure software development maturity, CISOs and CIOs are gradually leaning towards adopting platforms that systematically manage all stages of app development and delivery.

Greater use of DesignOps and observability for highly adopted apps

With the employee experience becoming just as critical as customer experience in gaining business agility, this year will mark the first time IT and app development budgets reflect the hybrid work mindset. With new tools allowing a deeper integration between design thinking and front-end web development, DesignOps playbooks can also be used to increase adoption. In addition, open-source projects like Open Telemetry can be used to observe end-user behaviour and provide teams with a new way of measuring performances, allowing data to be collected for better user adoption. 

Managing distributed development teams with modern platforms 

Amid an uptick in resignations during the pandemic, software engineering teams have realized that their software developers are increasingly operating in more distributed locations. This has made it harder to onboard, train, and monitor the quality and the performance of the teams and individuals located at different workspaces. In addition, software engineering leaders often find themselves struggling to ensure the security, compliance and governance of people whom they have never met in person. 

With the development teams facing new challenges in adapting to a new work environment, organizations will prefer operating on platforms that will allow them to closely monitor the entire development lifecycle – from work being done to security being applied. Given that modern app development platforms will grant them the ability to do so, the adoption of these platforms is expected to expand in comparison to conventional development platforms, which are often based on disconnected open source tools that lack a holistic management approach.

Deeper use of cloud-native architecture for custom enterprise systems

As a result of the SaaS sprawl that is not only exploiting original business budgets but becoming another form of technical debt, the “build vs buy” pendulum has been swinging back towards build. To recover business agility with the use of fit-to-purpose enterprise systems among employees, partners and customers will want a new type of cloud-native app development that is highly distributed, scalable and enables the creation of custom enterprise applications will help businesses gain agility. 

According to a recent report, from 2021 to 2027, the need for cloud-native application development services will grow at the highest rate in the Asia-Pacific region. Partnered with the explosive growth of cloud computing services, this increased demand is becoming a massive distraction for regular business developers creating cloud-native applications. However,  exhausting engineering talent solely on infrastructure management should not be the name of the game, as it will soon become critical for development teams to remain focused on the value stream management for their digital products.

This article was contributed by Leonard Tan, Regional Director, Singapore, OutSystems

About the author

This article was contributed by Leonard Tan, Regional Director, Singapore, OutSystems

Leonard has over 8 years of experience in working with enterprise customers in the APAC region, focusing mainly on the IT industry. As a thought leader in leveraging technologies to drive deep culture change in organizations, he takes pride in ensuring he tailor a solution that is relevant and crucial to all clients to help them achieve their business goals. As an advocator in relationship selling, he believes in nurture rather than touch, empathy rather than apathy.

He is currently the country manager for OutSystems in Singapore, where he has helmed projects to drive the adoption of OutSystems in the ecosystem, whilst ensuring he penetrates into the market to ensure customers understand the value of how low code can truly help lower barrier to entry, cost and deployment times and set organizations free from maintenance burdens.