Enterprise Software: What can we predict for 2016?

Naveen Gulati, CIO, Ricoh India Ltd. | Tuesday, 22 March 2016, 11:20 IST

Enterprise software has always been an exciting aspect to focus on; but it has never been more so than now. A lot of new ventures are coming up almost every other day that have new ideas to present. As a consequence, the competition between the up-and-coming organizations and the incumbents is gradually intensifying. This, in turn, helps increase the interest in the buyers who are considering cloud options in order to support their business ventures. 

With the increasing popularity of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and the emergence of cloud, there is a chance of getting the enterprise software in a new format. While 2015 was full of signs of progress, let’s expect that 2016 will turn those predictions into reality. But before that, we need to predict how the software will look like in the near future.

• Everyone will face a problem with software failure – Over the past few years, we have witnessed how a software failure can impact the leadership teams. For instance, we can remember the failed rollout of the ObamaCare website. A positive thing is that in 2016, the software will no longer be sole responsibilities of the CTOs and the CIOs. Instead, the accountability for the same will be extended to other professionals like the CMOs, the COOs, the CFOs and the CEOs.

• Business applications will become smarter – Throughout 2016, machine learning will be applied horizontally across the enterprise applications. The concept of machine learning is not new to any of us. In fact, industries like pharmaceuticals, government and finance have already realized the value of using big data when it comes to make smart business decisions. Now is the time when we can see it to gain traction in different domains like HR, sales and marketing. 

• Shortage of software developer will continue – Although it’s unfortunate to point at this, it’s a fact. The shortage of development and engineering talent is hurting the companies and it’s more so for certain organizations. Software engineers and developers fly to tech giants like Uber, Amazon and Google. But there are many traditional industries that have technical development requirements. Quite interestingly, these needs might offer challenges that are simply enticing. It seems that in 2016, organizations that belong to the insurance, finance, retail, agriculture and hospitality industries, will have to struggle a lot to find and recruit great programmers. In fact, they will have to redouble their efforts for establishing themselves as great places to work in and for attracting the talents who can provide them with rewarding outputs. 

• Software will move to automation – With every passing day, the complexity of software is increasing constantly and this will surely need expansive automation. From the old school linear designs, software has evolved to designs that are way more complicated in nature. This transition is highly driven by expansion from single programming language to multiple programming languages, movement from one server to multiple servers to multiple datacentres and movement from a simple 3 tier stack to a distributed micro-services architecture. 

• Use of APIs won’t be restricted to developers – Currently, APIs are at the core of most of the tech-forward and Web 2.0 businesses. This, for sure enables real-time, always-on, transparent and multi-device communication. APIs are also moving offline with the increasing popularity of internet. Since APIs have become more prolific and more prominent, the landscape will gradually evolve in 2016. As soon as the stake-holders will realize that the APIs can improve the scope of data-driven partnerships, broader adoption, enrichment of products and additional revenue streams, the attention from their end, too, will emerge accordingly. 

• Software development will head to the cloud – For the software development domain, cloud will remain as important as it is now, if not more. From the additional services like software patching, maintenance and updates to the basic ones like developing web based applications, the industry has every reason to leverage cloud. In fact, it seems that business owners will be able to minimize their costs from OpEx (operating expenses) and CapEx (capital expenditure). This will enable them to design and deliver web applications that can perform better or at least at the same level as that of a stand-alone app or a desktop app. They will also be able to add improved services like better security, patches and updates. 

While these are the major predictions for enterprise software in 2016, it’s also expected that companies will invest more to minimize the exposure to data breach. The concept of post-breach detection has already grabbed the attention of many of the investors and the market is consolidating constantly. It’s also expected that there will be more campaigns to enlighten the professionals about what to do instantly after a data breach. Initiatives like these will also help them understand when and how to notify the customers, based on the regulatory compliance that they follow.