5 Factors Impacting Software Development Businesses in 2021

Your team, software architecture, and the value users place on your products are changing – and your business must evolve as well.


Software developers are approaching 2021 from a different perspective than any year before. In less than a year, the way you work, application architecture, and user demands have all substantially changed. And, continuing to dominate your market – or taking advantage of an opportunity to win new market share – will require new strategies.

Here are insights from industry thought leaders on five factors impacting your business and as well as some advice for how to correct course for your software development businesses, if needed.

1 Remote Work

Software development businesses will likely continue remote work into 2021 or some hybrid model that allows working from home as well as safely working in the office.

Otakar Nieder, Senior Director of BISim, points out, “In 2021, companies will need to consciously spend time on implementing processes that make sure their teams continue to be engaged the same way colocated work allows. New approaches to software development management, including initial onboarding tactics and team meeting schedules, will need to be implemented to support the new way of working that 2020 introduced.”

“Software development will continue to be a very collaborative effort in which architecture, features and progress need to be constantly discussed. With the adoption of work from home, there will need to be a clear effort made by company leaders to ensure people stay efficient and collaboration is not disrupted by remote work and limited personal contact,” Nieder says.

2 Hiring

Nieder adds that software development businesses will begin looking for developers with different skillsets: “The current environment has led companies to spend crucial time training developers how to work and collaborate from their homes. Due to the distributed work environment, there will be an increase in demand for employees with significant prior experience in developing and working with cloud-based solutions moving forward.”

Gleb Polyakov, CEO of Nylas, says software development businesses will also consider candidates from diverse backgrounds. “Given the inequities within our educational systems and institutions, an extreme lack of diversity and inclusion within development teams was the norm. This has changed as companies have revised their hiring criteria to embrace a new generation of developers with a mixture of both formal and informal education. Now that the door has been opened, more young adults entering the job market will decide to pursue low-cost training that is independent of the formal four-year computer science programs. There will also be a trend towards reskilling those that have lost employment due to the global pandemic, so they can get to restart their careers and achieve well-paying jobs without having to spend decades climbing the corporate ladder,” Polyakov says.

3 Security

Brent Schroeder, CTO North America, SUSE, predicts a DevOps will transform into DevSecOps across the entire industry. “As we have seen, edge devices and deployments are becoming ever more interconnected and are processing even more data. That makes them attractive targets, and we are going to see even more attacks. Security will be of paramount consideration from hardware, networking and software infrastructure to application and data security. Automated compliance will become the norm, and comprehensive software supply chains will start to take a foothold outside of strongly regulated domains.”

4 Containers and Microservices

Deepak Verma, director of product strategy at Zerto, comments, “In 2020, IT organizations began adopting containers at a rate we hadn’t seen before. However, this adoption is just the first step. What we’ll see in 2021 will be a noticeable acceleration of how quickly containers are being put into production.”

Verma says this is supported by a recent study on container data protection by ESG in which 67 percent of respondents said they’re running containers for production applications, with the remaining 33  percent planning to do so within the next 12 months.

“This ramp-up is happening quickly, especially when you consider that just a year ago, many large enterprises weren’t doing anything with containers, or they merely had a small stealth DevOps team,” Verma says. “Undoubtedly, this shift will generate new data that needs governance, backup and data protection, and full disaster recovery like we use with VM-based applications.”

Lelah Manz, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Web Performance at Akamai, says the growth of edge computing will result in an increased number of microservice-driven applications. “Compared to old-school monolithic architectures, building individual functional components allows for greater agility, faster times to market and decreased risk from failure. The confluence of edge computing and a microservice-driven application development opens up the next frontier for creating new digital experiences,” she says. 

5 Value Stream Management

Bob Davis, CMO of Plutora, sees changes ahead for value stream management (VSM). “Over recent years, VSM platforms have improved the way organizations develop software, but what is going to really move to the forefront in 2021 is that VSM predictive analytics will shape organizations’ knowledge and foresight of what their customers need.”

“The need for visibility into the software delivery process will enhance the ability to make informed decisions based on that insight and become a differentiator for companies that rely on software,” he says. “As we go forward, companies will have to embrace VSM platforms if they want to become a software player. But it will be the improved visibility and utilization of predictive analytics that VSM provides that will enable companies to understand what technology and products matter most to their customers so they can move in that direction.”

Mike Monocello

The former owner of a software development company and having more than a decade of experience writing for B2B IT solution providers, Mike is co-founder of DevPro Journal.

Mike Monocello

The former owner of a software development company and having more than a decade of experience writing for B2B IT solution providers, Mike is co-founder of DevPro Journal.