Path to recovery

The Top 3 Software Solution Trends to Impact 2021

Max de Lavenne
© Shutterstock / Shyamalamuralinath

In 2021, as the economy recovers, custom software will play the biggest role it’s played to date and any company looking to get ahead would be remiss not to explore this as an option. The trends that will dictate what those solutions look like may surprise you.

The year 2020 will go down in history as one of the most exhausting years on record. In this century, anyway. While this year has battered many industries, the enterprise technology market was uniquely positioned to experience growth one could only dream of. Custom software solutions, in particular, were called on to quickly meet some of the most dire needs of businesses and governments alike. From COVID-19 tracking and analysis software to new customer service portals — software had a shining moment. And while Gartner predicts this sector will experience a deficit growth in spending, it’s also expected to have the strongest rebound in 2021.

Looking ahead to next year, what’s certain is custom software will remain a prominent resource for enterprises as they find their footing in this “new” world. The trends that will dictate what those solutions look like may surprise you. Let’s dig in.

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Web apps with desktop features

Despite the shortcomings of some mobile-only platforms, many American’s today use their smartphones as their primary means for online access at home. As a 2019 Pew Research survey points out, one-in-five American adults are smartphone-only internet users. While those numbers have probably shifted slightly as a large portion of the workforce moved their work from office to home, it’s clear smartphone internet usage is prominent.

What consumers want now, and will continue demanding next year, is a seamless transition from their desktop to their phone. We will also see an accelerated trend towards modifying web apps to exhibit mobile app-like functionality, and bring rich desktop features to the phone. Take for example how a consumer navigates a retail website on their laptop and then moves to their phone. More often than not the mobile app isn’t as user-friendly as the website. We’ve all experienced how frustrating that can be, especially when our phone is all that’s available.

To have an app that functions nearly the same as it does on a desktop means the customer will likely spend more time shopping and with that retailer more often. Not to mention, building and updating a web app is far easier, quicker, has less overhead, and is more cost-effective for the brand than building and updating a mobile app.

Addressing system-switching fatigue

Enterprise technology is evolving every day with the intent to make companies function smarter, not harder. What’s tough is simultaneously running the many software applications businesses rely on to operate smoothly. This year saw a growing demand in developing more integrated systems. By next year, custom software vendors can expect a higher emphasis on building these solutions to reduce what’s called “system-switching fatigue.”

This type of weariness centers on users who must log in to multiple platforms to accomplish their work. At Buildable, we’ve worked with clients that ask users to log in to five or six different portals all day long. That’s exhausting, especially when you consider each has different capabilities, interfaces, and training costs. Going forward, enterprises will pursue a solution that unifies and simplifies this process. By doing so, it will ensure less time is spent dancing between programs which can squander employee motivation and production.

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Robust, long-term pandemic solutions

Simply put, spending on digital transformation projects is up with no sign of it slowing down. This is in large part due to the pandemic. However, for many companies, the process and speed at which they enacted such projects made for shortcomings in their capabilities. In 2021, as the economy recovers, temporary systems will see a significant overhaul for a long-term solution instead. The industries most ripe for this type of work include law, insurance, finance, counseling services — virtually all markets that require some face-to-face interaction and transfer of documents.

In fact, here at Buildable, we’re hearing from clients who cobbled together new systems out of necessity that now want something permanent. And, one that offers a more robust answer to customer needs like appointment setting, file sharing, and virtual meeting.

This year was filled with wild and albeit uncertain moments that historians will relish in dissecting in the years to come. While the path to recovery is not entirely clear, what’s certain is enterprise software solutions will remain a constant in both business recovery and continuity. What’s more, is custom software will play the biggest role it’s played to date and any company looking to get ahead would be remiss not to explore this as an option.


Max de Lavenne

Senior software architect and CEO Max de Lavenne has been solving complex problems with cutting-edge technologies for 25 years. Max earned an electronics and software engineering degree at ISEP, in France, followed by an MBA at Pepperdine University and has lead engineering teams for several corporations in a variety of markets. In 2008, Max founded Buildable, a custom software development company near Portland, Oregon, focused on delivering mobile, web and cloud apps across a wide range of industries. As an adjunct professor at Linfield University and the CTO at Buildable, Max continues to mold and mentor today’s engineers in their pursuit of building tomorrow’s innovations

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