2022 Predictions: APIs and Automation Will Make the World More Productive

Learn how trends in connectivity, automation, and company culture will shape user productivity and experience in 2022 and beyond.

Gleb Polyakov and Christine Spang | November 29, 2021

After yet another year that redefined normal in our workplaces and personal lives, the future is far from certain. But as we look ahead to the new year, we’ll almost certainly encounter continued business transformation as companies look to deliver even better experiences for their users, customers, and employees. 

Check out our predictions for 2022 below, including our thoughts on how trends and technologies such as APIs, automation, the technical talent shortage, and evolving company culture will impact productivity and user experience worldwide. 

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Connectivity 

The API Economy Will Remain Hot

“After a busy year of acquisitions and funding, including MailChimp being acquired by Intuit for $12M and Nylas’ $120M Series C funding, some might think the API economy will only continue to grow in 2022. As a more diverse range of industries like e-commerce, financial services, healthcare, and more see the value of investing in APIs, such as faster time-to-market and more efficient workflows, the API market will experience even more significant growth than in 2021.” – Gleb Polyakov, Co-Founder and CEO, Nylas 

Solving Channel Fragmentation Becomes a Top Priority

“Modern communication doesn’t happen in one, two, or even three communication channels. It happens across numerous channels, sometimes all within the context of a single conversation. Critical data now lives in multiple email providers like Gmail and Outlook and numerous chat and messaging apps like Slack, SMS, WhatsApp, and more, and building integrations into all these applications requires time and effort from engineering teams that could be spent elsewhere. Facing channel fragmentation head-on will be a top priority in 2022 as engineering teams will look to create a faster and more streamlined process for leveraging all the modern communication channels without having to dedicate countless time and resources to build and maintain them.” – Christine Spang, Co-Founder and CTO, Nylas

Automation and AI

Workflow Automation Goes Company-Wide

“Up until now, some departments have embraced AI and automation more than others. For example, customer-facing teams such as sales and marketing have typically leveraged AI to connect disparate data and create intelligent workflows that empower team members to work smarter and more productively. Heading into 2022 and beyond, we will see workflow automation extend across the entire company. This means HR and People teams can be faster and more efficient in scheduling interviews and updating candidate profiles, finance can automatically update payment records, and customer success teams can be better equipped to respond quickly and efficiently to customer needs.” – Christine Spang, Co-Founder and CTO, Nylas

Robots Will Not Take Over Human Data Analysis

“Advancements in AI combined with the labor shortage and demand for rapid scale have forced companies to automate wherever possible. However, even with continued AI-led innovation, humans will continue playing an essential role in true organizational impact, analysis, and growth. As data becomes more accessible, organizations will rely on humans more and more to build more complex AI and machine learning models that can analyze more data faster and structure it to impact the entire business, not just specific teams or users.” – Gleb Polyakov, Co-Founder and CEO, Nylas  

Technical Talent 

With an Engineering Labor Shortage, Low-Code Development Takes Off

“Businesses are facing increased pressure to rapidly build and deploy products and features that drive ROI and stay ahead of their competitors. At the same time, competition for hiring skilled software engineers has never been higher. As a result, we’ll see the adoption of low-code, no-code tools and applications accelerate in 2022 and beyond. Through the use of low-code tools and workflows, businesses will be able to meet market and customer needs faster by building out products and features faster and do so without compromising on quality or reliability.” – Christine Spang, Co-Founder and CTO, Nylas

Recruiting and Retention Efforts for Software Engineers Will Be Amplified

“The demand for software engineers reached an all-time high in 2021 on the heels of the pandemic, and there are no signs of it letting up heading into 2022. In fact, demand for high-quality engineers will likely continue to increase in 2022 as cutting-edge tools like AI/ML and automation becomes table-stakes features for growing businesses. While compensation and benefits will always be critical components of attracting and retaining talent, companies will need to find other ways to stand out. This means investing in training programs and apprenticeships to give engineers guidance and career growth opportunities and showcasing company culture and innovation.” – Christine Spang, Co-Founder and CTO, Nylas

Diversity and Inclusion Will Help Mitigate the Engineering Shortage

“According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2026, the shortage of engineers in the U.S. will exceed 1.2M, while Gartner’s research indicates that 63% of senior executives admitted that the shortage of software engineers remains an area of great concern. One way businesses will look at navigating this shortage in 2022 is through diversity and inclusion. Computer programming education and training investments in underrepresented people and communities, combined with access to apprenticeships and internships, networking opportunities, and more can fundamentally change the way engineering teams look while also reducing the shortage of engineering and technical talent.” – Christine Spang, Co-Founder and CTO, Nylas

People, Culture, and Leadership

Company Culture Reaches the Boardroom

“Company culture is no longer just the focus of your Head of People or HR department. Culture impacts every part of a company, including its bottom line, and should be discussed regularly by the highest level. The need for this change was evident in 2021 when complex topics related to race, vaccination status, remote work, mental health, and more affected companies’ operations. Heading into 2022, company culture must be a top priority of any company’s boardroom.” – Gleb Polyakov, Co-Founder and CEO, Nylas  

Successful Leaders Will Operate With Emotional Integrity

“Whether your company is struggling with employee burnout or your rapidly growing company is struggling to decide whether you should remain working remotely, 2021 showed us that it is now essential for company leaders to treat growth metrics and people metrics as one and the same. Successful leaders will need to operate with emotional integrity, the control of emotions and an honest acknowledgment of them — which became necessary in the hybrid work environment of the past year. As a result, the entire organization will have a strong culture where everyone can have transparent communication and be their authentic self at work.” – Gleb Polyakov, Co-Founder and CEO, Nylas 

People Will Remain The Top Priority

“Hybrid work has become the new normal, as many companies are rethinking their operational strategies to embrace both remote and in-office work environments. With employees more dispersed and balancing both hectic personal and professional lives, companies have needed to look closer at how they are nurturing and prioritizing their workplace culture and employees’ well-being.

No matter the organization’s size, it simply cannot run without the people — and happier employees allow the company to reach new heights of success. In 2022, we will see more business leaders allowing more flexibility and encouraging employees to stay true to themselves.” – Gleb Polyakov, Co-Founder and CEO, Nylas   

Going Beyond Product-Led Growth to People-Led Growth

“Product-led growth is and always will be a core component of a company’s success. However, as software continues eating the world and becomes more accessible and more competitors enter the market, product-led growth and differentiation become increasingly challenging. To combat this, we will see more investments in other departments, such as sales, marketing, and customer success, where building and nurturing relationships can drive awareness, adoption, and retention.” – Gleb Polyakov, Co-Founder and CEO, Nylas   

Learn More 

For more on how connectivity, automation, and talent will shape the future of work, check out the following resources: 

Gleb Polyakov and Christine Spang