Software is an expression of the business. To achieve this expression, developers face a sea of constant opportunities — and challenges. For every API champion coming out of the business, there’s a security threat to citizen development at the permitter. For all the progress in value stream management, there is little progress being made in metaverse API standards. Software development is a continuous set of ups and downs that people must navigate, whether they are professional or citizen developers.

In 2022, we predicted that event-driven architecture would take hold, mobile development environments would increasingly support web runtimes, development teams would shift to consolidated DevOps toolchains, development tools would be enhanced by AI, and collaborative work management would overtake strategic portfolio management. These predictions largely held true.

In 2023 software development, we’re predicting a more tumultuous sea. Waves will crash high (business objectives will drive API efforts) and low (for all the effort to create standards, some areas of development will be just too nascent). In particular, we’re predicting the following:

  • Citizen development will lead to a headline security breach. Citizen development has gone from experimentation to replacing core applications, with 39% of firms currently using low-code to empower developers outside of IT, and 27% planning to do so in the next 12 months. However, this influx of new developers has led to a critical mass of business professionals just coming to grips on application security, secure coding, and data sensitivity. Because of this, we expect a widely reported security breach to be borne from citizen development in 2023. To avoid this, low-code platform and security teams must work together to review roles, configure security guardrails, and implement a governance policy specifically built around citizen development.
  • More than 40% of API strategies will be driven by enterprise business leaders vs. IT. APIs are the interconnects for digital business and yet, until recently, they’ve largely been driven by IT concerns instead of the businesses that depend on them most. Fortunately, this is changing as businesses recognize that APIs’ greatest value comes in creating new products, business models, and channels. We predict that in 2023, instead of CIOs or IT leaders, champions for API strategy will form out of enterprise business leaders like CEOs and boards of directors. Although it won’t quite be a majority, we expect leaders in industries including manufacturing, retail, automotive, energy, and others to recognize that they require a cohesive API strategy driven not by technology, but by their business needs.

Predictions 2023 Software Development: Enterprise business leaders will drive more than 40% of API strategies

  • API standards will remain a mess despite Metaverse Standards Forum’s best efforts. The metaverse promises to change how customers engage with digital business. However, we’re still in the very early days of its development, and it relies on proprietary precursors that don’t talk to one another readily. The Metaverse Standards Forum, formed in 2022, is trying to facilitate this. Although they won’t implement any standards themselves, they’ll rely on more than 500 principal and 1,000 participant members to submit standards for adoption. Unfortunately, without consistency — and with a notable lack of Apple in the Forum (expected to release its XR device in 2023) — things will continue to rely more on de facto standards like the Unity and Unreal engines.

Excited to learn what 2023 holds for all kinds of developers — traditional, citizen, and otherwise? Read our full 2023 software development Predictions report to get more details about each of these predictions, plus two more bonus predictions. Set up a Forrester guidance session to discuss these predictions or plan out your 2023 development strategy.

If you aren’t yet a client, you can download our complimentary Predictions guide, which covers our top predictions for 2023. Get additional complimentary resources, including webinars, on the Predictions 2023 hub.