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IT Priorities 2022: Software development

As organisations rebuild after the Covid-19 pandemic, strategic software projects will help them become more effective

The TechTarget/Computer Weekly IT Priorities 2022 survey has found that budgets are increasing. Among the largest organisations, there is a growing emphasis on the use of application programming interfaces (APIs). This offers a way for businesses to derive a positive business outcome by developing a value chain through an ecosystem of partners and strategic use of third-party services.

The survey of more than 265 IT decision-makers reported that, while the pandemic had delayed or disrupted many projects, especially “on-premise” projects, plans for 2022 point to a recovery at or above pre-pandemic levels.

Only 9% of firms expect a budget decrease from 2021 levels, down from 38% during the pandemic; 46% say they plan to increase their IT budget by 5% or more; while 45% say their IT budget for 2022 has remained pretty much the same.

API approach

For the large organisations that took part in the TechTarget/Computer Weekly IT Priorities 2022 survey, API management tops the agenda for 2022. API management also shared the top spot with automation of business processes in terms of application integration initiatives for 2022.

Almost a quarter (24%) of IT decision-makers have hybrid integration as a top priority for 2022, which suggests that hybrid integration platforms are also gaining steam as IT environments become increasingly complex.

Analyst Gartner recently forecast that full lifecycle API management technologies and practices are enabling all organisations – regardless of size, region or industry – to accelerate their growth. Among the leading companies offering API management tools are Google, IBM, Kong, Microsoft and Mulesoft.

Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant for full lifecycle API management report, published in September, found that the market for these products grew by 24% in 2020, expanding to $2.1bn, despite a challenging year.

It is no surprise the largest businesses see a benefit in making APIs a top priority. In April 2021, Harvard Business Review published an article discussing the benefits for businesses of having a post-pandemic API strategy. Covid-19 forced every business to reevaluate their priorities and digitise inefficient business processes.

Point-to-point integration between back-end IT systems does not scale, which means businesses are held back when they want to do something new.

For instance, Crown Agents Bank used API management, from MuleSoft, to achieve a level of agility that would have been impossible with its previous architecture, which was based on point-to-point integration. Describing the software it used in its foreign exchange processing system, Osita Ngene, enterprise architect lead at Crown Agents Bank, said the bank uses the Oracle IF agent on Oracle Forms to pick up transactions.

The bank developed a wrapper around Oracle Forms to transform it into seven published web services. These are routed through MuleSoft’s API management to provide the APIs for the bank’s screening software, which is used to reduce fraud. The new API-based approach has enabled the bank to increase the number of payments it can process from 1,500 per day to 50,000.

While packaged software applications – such as integration platform as a service (iPaaS), low-code application platforms and application security products – may offer capabilities for creating and exposing APIs, Gartner notes that these capabilities are often limited to enabling a specific set of APIs and are not suitable for managing a comprehensive API strategy.

The TechTarget/Computer Weekly IT Priorities 2022 survey also found that almost a fifth (20%) of IT decision-makers say their organisations are leveraging automation to optimise business process workflows. One in six say they will launch first-time automation projects in the coming year.

Looking at broad software development priorities, security and testing remain the highest priority for 2022 (39%). Clearly, poor software quality hampers an organisation’s ability to deliver new business functionality rapidly and consistently. As Computer Weekly has previously reported, the number of elite-performing software engineering teams is growing, while the proportion of low-performing teams is falling.

According to software engineering mentor Junade Ali, organisations are using more metrics to measure the effectiveness of DevOps teams. But metrics are not the only consideration for IT leaders. For software engineers to produce reliable software, Ali recommended that they engender a software development environment which correctly balances the competing forces of risk and reward.

Read more about software-driven businesses

  • Carmaker General Motors has divided its IT function, one part focusing on the back office, the other on its software-defined business opportunity.
  • Companies must balance customer needs against potential risks during software development to ensure they aren’t ignoring security but not falling behind competitors at the same time.

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