It’s that time of year again; as the temperature dips, the crystal balls come out and the predictions begin. As we gaze ahead toward 2024, several trends on the horizon are set to reshape the software development landscape. From the continued dominance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to the shifting dynamics of Business Intelligence (BI), these trends will have a definite impact on how applications are designed, developed, and deployed.
Where will software and tech take us in the year ahead and beyond? Let’s dig in — here are the Top 5 software development trends for 2024 that we are seeing.
Trend 1: AI
Not surprisingly, AI stands tall as a frontrunner in the list of 2024 software development trends. Gartner’s identification of AI as one of the top tech trends for the year solidifies its significance, with Gartner’s VP Analyst, Bart Willemsen going on the record to say, “IT leaders are in a unique position to strategically lay down a roadmap where technology investments help their business’s sustenance of success amidst these uncertainties and pressures.” Beyond the broader implications of the technology, the integration of AI into application development will ramp up in the year (and years) ahead. Organizations of all sizes and their various departments stand to benefit immensely from AI integration, from enhancing customer experiences to streamlining and improving decision-making.
The challenge can be knowing where to start. To embark on the AI journey, businesses can leverage existing generative AI tools like ChatGPT, Dall-E, and Midjourney, or explore the realm of Microsoft Copilot. Dipping your toe in the AI waters with inexpensive tools for tasks like customer service, chatbots, and sentiment analysis can be a pragmatic approach.
Pro Tip: Not sure you’re prepared to incorporate AI into your business applications? Discover our guide Artificial Intelligence is Here: Are you Ready? If you’re looking for professional advice and guidance, check out how we can help.
Trend 2: Cloud
In a world where “cloud” seems to have been on tech trend lists for the last two decades, 2024 brings a distinctive shift in the conversation. Contrary to the notion that cloud adoption peaked in the early 2000s, the reality is that many companies are just beginning to migrate workloads from on-premises servers to the cloud. Microsoft’s recent revelation at Inspire about the prevalence of on-prem SQL servers underlines the ongoing transformation. However, cloud adoption is not without its challenges.
A conflicting narrative is emerging regarding the cost-effectiveness of public clouds. While Azure, AWS, and GCP once lured customers with cheaper economies-of-scale solutions, the costs have been steadily rising over the last few years, with additional charges for activities like data storage and data transfer. Organizations that migrated large estates to the public cloud are now spending far more than they anticipated. To wrangle in costs, some companies are switching over to private cloud options.
On-prem computing does offer more flexibility, but the reality is that until organizations move to the cloud, they won’t be able to tap into the many benefits of the cloud, which include scalability, infrastructure management, security, remote connectivity, and disaster recovery to name a few.
Cloud-native app development and platform development (trends 3 and 5 below, also require being in the cloud).
Pro Tip: If you’re planning on modernizing your on-prem applications, consider if a move to the cloud is the right option for you. Many of our clients are migrating to Power Platform Applications (low code no code), Dynamics 365 and SharePoint online to take advantage of the benefits of the cloud. It’s worth the time and effort to conduct a needs analysis, revisit your requirements, review current usage models and map out feature enhancements. Read about the challenges and opportunities of migrating to Dynamics 365 here and modernizing SharePoint here.
Trend 3: Microservices
Monolithic architecture is neither agile nor scalable. In 2024, we will continue to see the breaking down of the monolith as we dive deeper into cloud-native app development. And, unlike monolith applications which work as single, huge bits of code, microservices architecture is structured and functions as autonomous independent services. This allows developers to react quickly to business or customer needs by updating and redeploying within the single service. In the year ahead, microservices architecture will continue to move onto centre stage, as more and more software developers leverage its flexibility and faster development time.
As we’ve reported on previously, 85% of companies are modernizing with microservices. Why? Because microservices architecture vastly improves resilience while helping organizations to cut downtime, optimize resources, and decrease infrastructure costs. Expect to hear more and more about microservices in the year ahead.
Pro Tip: While microservices have been on the scene for a while now, we will see an even more rapid adoption in the year ahead. Microservices help future-proof businesses as they are perfectly suited for developing applications that take advantage of emerging technologies such as IoT, edge computing, and blockchain. See how we leveraged microservices for our client Easylease to ensure scalable growth.
Trend 4: Business Intelligence
Companies around the world are sitting on mountains of information. As data continues to multiply, extracting it and making it useful is the ever-present challenge. Due to its pivotal role in decision-making, Business Intelligence (BI) will continue to play an integral role in helping companies create a data-driven culture in order to execute on strategy. At Whitecap, we’re seeing ongoing BI development and improvement by all the major players. For example, Microsoft is doubling down on their Power BI investment with Microsoft Fabric and all the new data services within it.
Clients often grapple with harnessing the full potential of tools like Power BI. In today’s turbulent global marketplace, a rear-view mirror approach to business intelligence won’t cut it. Forward-thinking companies not only want to know why something happened in the past, they also want to harness more robust BI like prescriptive and predictive analytics that provide a look into possible future events.
Pro Tip: As natural language processing (NLP), AI, and data visualization and storytelling continue to advance BI, organizations that can extract the insights they need to innovate and thrive will be leaders in their industry. For those that can’t, they could be relegated to the role of laggards. Explore our Business Intelligence Primer for more insights.
Trend 5: Platform Development
Recently, Forrester reported that “84% of enterprises have turned toward low-code for its ability to reduce strain on IT resources, increase speed-to-market, and involve the business in digital asset development.” We are seeing this play out across multiple industries with the eager adoption of platforms like the Microsoft Power Platform.
Moving forward, this ongoing democratization of platform development will continue to grow, making it more accessible to non-technical users such as business analysts, citizen developers and other stakeholders. But before you empower your employees with the ability to build their own apps, consider some of the opportunities and risks.
Pro Tip: Low code development has a lot of benefits, and we often see customers coming to us specifically asking for a Power Platform app. However, it’s not always the right solution to the problem and there are situations where a fully custom app will be more suitable. You really need to take a good look at your business goals and needs to determine if low code is right for you. We share common scenarios where a Power Platform solution makes sense here.
The Future Is Now
These trends not only offer a glimpse into the future but also present opportunities for developers and businesses alike to integrate tomorrow’s tech today. Whether it’s navigating the complexities of AI integration, grappling with cloud adoption dilemmas, embracing microservices, harnessing the power of business intelligence or adopting low-code platform development models, the key lies in adaptability and a forward-thinking approach. It’s an exciting time, as we step into 2024; the software development landscape promises innovation, growth, and transformation.
Are You Looking for a Partner?
In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, staying ahead of the curve is crucial for both IT departments and their organizations. If you’ve got a software development project you’re considering, you need a partner who can help. Whitecap has a proven approach and the expertise that leading businesses depend on to develop custom software applications. Let’s chat.