4 trends that will influence digital product development in 2022

Digital transformation (DX) is only going to pick up speed this year, as global spending on DX is projected to hit $1.8 trillion USD in 2022. 

From widespread 5G deployment, to the explosion of remote work, the world is demanding that companies embrace more tech-enabled approaches to customer engagement, business management and infrastructure. According to Gartner, 91% of organizations are responding accordingly, investing in at least some form of digital initiative. 

Not surprisingly, mobile apps often play an integral role in the success of DX. And given the number of projects Vog App Developers is working on, we have a good sense of how businesses are investing in technology, software and app development in their digital transformation journeys.

Here are four trends that will be big in 2022:

1. The explosion of on-demand services and on-demand apps

We are experiencing a massive uptick in client requests for on-demand apps. These requests are clearly driven by the overarching on-demand or sharing economy that is set to be worth $335 billion USD by 2025

Examples of on-demand apps include Uber or SkipTheDishes. Essentially, they are applications that connect businesses or consumers with a service that meets an immediate need, or connects people with other people. These are one of the three types of apps we built most often

Some key features of the on-demand economy that tend to be addressed in these applications are:

  • Convenience is enabled by having products delivered to customer doorsteps
  • Contactless delivery manages pandemic concerns 
  • Built-in personalization is facilitated via touch points throughout the app 
  • Behavioural targeting helps to understand and meet the needs of app users

2. A growing need for app rebuilds

Lately we have had an influx of established enterprise clients approach us with an application or IT stack that has run its course and requires a rebuild. 

Digital transformation’s pace of change is incredibly fast, and infrastructure or an app that was built years and years ago can be monolithic today. Even if updates have been made, at some point it no longer makes sense to keep old, outdated IT infrastructure or apps running.

The great thing about rebuilds is that we already have a base platform to work with, and learn from. With the old system as a framework, we can focus on building out a roadmap for the app’s business case going forward. 

We can begin the transition to the cloud, and we can use microservices to transition without taking the business down. Microservices are a huge trend in app development, and will continue to be in 2022.

3. Cryptocurrency is huge, but regulations could change trajectories

We are seeing a lot of companies, especially financial startups, quickly adopt and move into the Decentralized Finance (DeFi) space. A blockchain substitute for traditional financial systems, DeFi is based on open-source technology that allows anyone to offer financial services online. 

So if a company wants to build an app that provides alternative banking solutions for customers, DeFi products and services are accessible and not governed by centralized regulatory bodies. 

Another related trend is when businesses simply want to offer the option to pay with cryptocurrency in their app, rather than develop a full DeFi solution.

While we’re certainly experiencing an increase in demand for DeFi and pay with crypto, we are also witnessing a slowdown in the growth of cryptocurrency exchanges. As new regulatory requirements are implemented by governments, there will likely be a limit to the number of new exchanges that pop up. 

If you’re looking to have crypto apps built, you’ll want to review both the technology needs and the regulatory environment.

4. The Metaverse is intriguing, but won’t explode overnight

We get a lot of questions about the metaverse, largely driven by hype and media attention around Meta (the company formerly known as Facebook). 

The definition of the metaverse is still evolving, but as Wired describes it, “To a certain extent, talking about what ‘the metaverse’ means is a bit like having a discussion about what ‘the internet’ means in the 1970s. The building blocks of a new form of communication were in the process of being built, but no one could really know what the reality would look like.”

For Meta, the company envisions a new online platform powered by virtual and augmented reality. But this is just one company. Microsoft and Amazon also have their visions, as do hundreds of startups. 

Meta will be making big bets on the metaverse but there’s still a lot we don’t know about how its version of the metaverse will function or be monetized. 

We will see increased interest in the metaverse in 2022, but approach with caution as every company will have a different version of what it looks like. We’ve got some time to figure out how to build apps that fit into this new ecosystem — and also gauge how expansive and successful it actually turns out to be.

3 Reasons why businesses are choosing microservices

Like many companies today, you may be thinking about — or perhaps are already in the process of — digital transformation. 

As McKinsey puts it, since the pandemic, every business needs to become a tech company of sorts, embracing (often critical) digital opportunities, while also managing cyber challenges. 

Technical transformation can be a complicated process, and many companies are just starting out. McKinsey reports that 50% of companies it surveyed are still in the pilot phase of transformation, “but too often companies focus on a series of initiatives without accounting for crucial dependencies that need to be in place to enable the change.”

One of the most common steps in transformation is moving legacy systems from on-location servers, into the cloud. At Vog, we view this move to the cloud as an integral first step in tech transformation, as it’s important to move away from legacy, monolithic IT architecture to fully realize a digital transformation.

To transition from a monolithic architecture to one that is cloud-based, many businesses are shifting toward using microservices

With monolithic architecture, all of a system’s processes are interconnected so if you want to make a change to just one feature or application in that system, the rest of the architecture must be updated as well. This is time-consuming, and costly. 

On the flip side, with microservices architecture, each process runs independently, but is still able to communicate with the rest of your system through APIs (Application Programming Interface). So if you want to implement a specific use case or custom application, it’s much easier because system-wide changes aren’t required. 

How does this benefit your business? Here are three reasons why you might want to consider a microservices approach: 

Microservices provide opportunities to save money

With microservices, you don’t have to start up your whole system if you only need to do one task, such as login to a single application. Because you are only accessing the specific service you need, you don’t need to pay for your entire IT infrastructure to run. And once you’re done with that service, it shuts off.

You’ll use a microservice to access a marketplace for instance, but won’t be drawing on — and thus draining — your whole system to engage with that single app. 

On the other hand, with monolithic architecture, you are likely paying for servers that run all the time, even if they’re not being actively used. It makes growth expensive and complicated.

Microservices can enable more innovative growth

As your organization pursues a digital transformation, it’s important that your strategy and budget include innovative digital programs. As McKinsey notes, microservices allow teams to “rapidly create products and services that will drive maximum value.”

It’s hard to rapidly create and test products and services if your business is working with a complex monolithic tech stack that’s consuming a lot of resources. 

Microservices allow you to prioritize areas of growth and develop apps to achieve specific goals. This speeds up the process of getting a new product or service to market, while also reducing the cost of running legacy architecture. 

Businesses that are stuck with old tech stacks end up spending too much time and money on infrastructure and maintenance, and thus can’t allocate budget to innovation. 

As McKinsey notes, 92% of some bank budgets are spent in this way, leaving only 8% to fuel innovation and growth. McKinsey suggests at least 25% should be allocated to growth initiatives, which is made possible when a company replaces outdated systems with microservices.  

Microservices allow you to develop new applications easier and faster 

As a company that builds custom software and applications, we often recommend deployment of microservices because it allows for a transition to the cloud one function at a time, rather than rebuilding an entire IT infrastructure.

With microservices, we can also bring in a team that has different talents, and write code in different programming languages depending on needs. For instance, we don’t have to allocate a PHP developer to work on a large monolithic tech stack and instead we can have a node developer, or a C# programmer, build small services or even elements of services, as required. 

How do you shift from monolithic to microservices?

As mentioned, the first step in moving towards microservices is investing in cloud infrastructure. Your data needs to be stored and accessed via the cloud before you can engage an architecture that is based on digital microservices, rather than legacy servers. 

Then, start small by integrating new features via microservices. Over time you can replace your monolithic infrastructure rather than trying to do it all at once. Then you can grow your network of microservices, access the cost savings they offer and invest your digital budgets in initiatives that fuel growth.