From mass adoption of social media that opened the door to an everything-social culture to the rise of cloud computing and mobility, a variety of technological advancements and trends have influenced enterprise software.

Within the past decade, enterprise software has undergone an impressive transformation. There are more features, functionality and usability traits than ever before, thanks to a combination of technology and user demand.

Nothing Stays the Same – Especially Software

Change and rapid adaptation are the new norm in enterprise software development, shaped by ten overarching trends.

Is your company embracing change and adopting these practices, or are you being left behind? Has your organization adopted many of these practices?

Embracing a greater number of enterprise software development trends means your company is poised to adapt and evolve with your consumers’ demands and business needs in the coming years.

10 Software Trends

1. Built-in analytics capabilities

The need for users to quickly generate reports and analyze data to gain insights without the need for high-priced analysts provides a competitive advantage for enterprises that capitalize on big data to integrate analytics into enterprise software applications.

2. Integrated security features

As enterprises face increasing, and ever-more serious, security risks from both insider and outsider threats, standard security measures are no longer sufficient to protect an enterprise’s most sensitive data. With many companies opting to run enterprise software on in-house servers in order to have more control over mission-critical processes and data, integrating security in the development process and building features that protect sensitive data from unauthorized access and transfer enables enterprises to create a more robust security posture.

3. Bare-bones software

Many enterprises are moving toward introducing the “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP) or the bare-bones version of software to increase time to market. This is a shift from the former practice of trying to release a perfect product before gaining feedback on the user experience in the real world. This facilitates the frequent change and release cycles outlined in point #4 below.

4. Faster updates and release cycles

Today’s enterprise software users are far less tolerant of bugs and inefficiencies in software applications, expecting that developers rapidly implement fixes and issue improved versions more frequently. As enterprise professionals are under increasing pressure to do more with less and consistently produce better results, the enterprise software systems that support their workflows must adapt in tandem. Frequent changes also reduce the need for substantial re-training when new versions are released. By releasing one or a few new features at a time rather than a release consisting of hundreds of major changes, enterprise software developers enable employees to maintain consistent workflows rather than spend valuable time learning how to navigate new software.

5. Data-driven design

This is a change from relying on feedback from product managers and developers to make product decisions, who are not always in-tune with the needs and usability requirements of the end users who will ultimately be using the software on a day-to-day basis to support their workflows.

6. Generation of vast amounts of data

Enterprises are employing data scientists to implement machine learning and determine the best use for the vast data collected through enterprise software applications. Big data is everywhere, and as enterprises are increasingly relying on built-in analytics to tap into data (as addressed in point #1), sophisticated enterprise software enables the collection of vast amounts of data generated by the enterprise, enterprise customers, partners, and vendors. The most innovative enterprises are hiring data scientists to implement machine-learning capabilities and optimize their use of the data collected through their enterprise apps.

7. Lean and agile

Companies are tightening budgets and vendors are forced to cut costs for complex, expensive upgrade projects to compete, or they risk losing business to their leaner, more agile competitors. This may impact every development aspect from managing remote dev teams to implementing database automation capabilities. Enterprises may turn to third-party maintenance providers to reduce these costs, which means a loss in revenue for vendors and managed services providers (MSPs) unless they adapt with cost-effective offerings.

8. Cloud focused

While some enterprises run enterprise software applications on in-house servers for greater control and security (discussed in point #2), more enterprises are opting for SaaS software thanks to its flexibility and lower TCO. Of course, there are security concerns with cloud deployments, leading some companies to choose private (but outsourced) clouds for mission-critical applications.

9. Mobile-friendly

Bring your own device (BYOD) programs are increasingly common among enterprises, but this rising trend means that enterprise software developers must produce products compatible with a wide range of devices and operating systems. 

10. Built-in collaboration capabilities

Social media use is widespread, but it’s not limited to personal use. Enterprises have found value in social communication methods to improve team collaboration, and enterprise software is now commonly integrating features like social sharing capabilities, discussions, groups, user profiles, file sharing, activity streams, tagging and search functionality, and other features adopted from social platforms that facilitate streamlined team collaboration and enable seamless remote work among geographically dispersed teams.

Because of these trends, today’s enterprise software is dramatically different from applications that were common just ten years ago.

As the evolution is ongoing, innovative development teams embracing agile methodologies that keep their finger on the pulse of their users are a critical element in an enterprise’s ability to maintain a competitive edge moving into the future.

Title image by Daniel Alvarez Sanchez Diaz