Key ingredients for a software engineering leaders’ technology stack

Grid of technology over a globe
(Image credit: / Fit Ztudio)

In today's ever-evolving technology landscape, software engineering leaders are tasked with selecting the right technology products to help their organization stay competitive and efficient and provide cost-effective solutions.

With a wide range of platforms, tools, and products available, they must educate themselves and other stakeholders, to ensure collaboration between business, user experience and software engineering experts, to deliver efficient applications aligned with business goals.

Gartner has identified four software engineering areas which include essential ingredients to develop and modernize an organization’s technology stack.

1. Technology options for front ends and user experience

The first domain is front ends and user experience, which includes UX design and UI frameworks, digital experience platforms (DXPs), and design-to-code tools. Ensuring efficient collaboration between business, UX, and software engineering experts is essential. Look to define application experience standards and reusable assets with best-in-class and innovative technologies and tools, a critical component of delivering front-end experiences as designed.

DXPs extend the scope of digital experience beyond application front ends and software engineering. They enable composition at the business level, where business technologists develop and operate digital experiences without the complexities of software engineering.

Implement application front ends, including browser-based and native apps and continuously evaluate and adjust implementation to maintain alignment with business goals.

Oleksandr Matvitskyy

Oleksandr Matvitskyy is a Senior Director Analyst at Gartner.

2. Technology options for business logic and automation

The second domain is business logic and automation, which includes integration and APIs, business logic and workflow, and process automation platforms. The integration platform as a service (iPaaS) market offers a wide range of frameworks and platforms available for building custom APIs.

API management solutions maximize the value of internal and external APIs and ensure that these APIs' technology and business capabilities are not forgotten, misunderstood, or misused.

According to Gartner, API management remains the third-fastest-growing segment of the application infrastructure and middleware market. Additionally, it predicts that this market will continue to register strong double-digit growth for at least the next five years.

Business process management (BPM) functionality that used to be implemented by specialized platforms has become standard for application architectures. Modern custom-built or commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) applications and platforms include a workflow engine with tools and integration APIs for implementing and maintaining stateful business workflows.

3. Technology options for data

The third domain of essential ingredients for an organization's technology stack is data, which includes data management and analytics, machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), and blockchain. Data management and analytics are critical components of a modern business technology stack, enabling organizations to manage and analyze data from various sources to gain insights that support business decisions.

AI can transform business operations, enabling organizations to automate processes, improve productivity, and enhance customer experiences. Assess all options to decide whether to adopt, explore, or prioritize the leading innovations related to AI.

Blockchain is an emerging technology that offers several benefits, including decentralization, transparency, and security, and should also be considered for distributed, scalable business solutions where trust is at the top of the agenda.

Operating environment tools for application delivery and maintenance

The fourth domain is the operating environment that runs the platforms and tools for application delivery and maintenance. It includes containers and orchestration, cloud computing, and DevOps.

Formerly referred to as a value stream delivery platform, a DevOps platform provides automation and essential tools for all application delivery stages. The benefits of a DevOps platform are evident early in the software design phase when ideas are captured and triaged, and then at every step until the application “sunset”.

Containers and orchestration offer several benefits, including significant opportunities for deployment controls and scaling, portability, and increased flexibility. Meanwhile, cloud computing is a critical component of a modern business technology stack, enabling organizations to deliver applications faster and more efficiently, reduce costs, and improve business agility.

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Oleksandr Matvitskyy is a Senior Director Analyst at Garter, in the Software Design and Development team helping CxOs and Software Engineering Leaders to tackle modern-day challenges and develop successful technology and people strategies.