The Apps rEVOLUTION… drastic times call for drastic measures

Apps Revolution Report

A really cogent position piece has been developed by a number of technical leaders within CSC.  Lead by Dr.Erika Olimpiew, but also Nabil Fanaian, Henry “Hank” Liang, and a cast of over 20 others, this piece positions the new requirements around mobility, architecture, delivery, economy and other key contributors to leading developers to “storm the gates.”

Below, the prologue…

Applications are the way we put information into action, and shifts in the what, where, how and who of doing this have manifestly shifted the “apps” landscape.

We have seen the movement from general to specific application scopes. In effect, the context of the individ- ual is being brought into the presentation, transaction and securing of information, which is both coming from and flowing through an ever-extending set of channels. From appliances and vehicles to smartphones and TVs, the acceleration of network-attached devices is forcing easy-to-use, easy-to-program, easy-to-integrate strate- gies, with the Internet taking the dominant position as the network of choice.

Consumerization across this expanding set of endpoint technologies, combined with cloud computing on the Internet as the default service provider, have made tech- nologies like HTML5, JavaScript and HTTP the starting point for consumers and enterprises alike. Employees become “customers” of IT, and IT becomes an informa- tion service provider in a landscape where every con- sumer has the control to tune his or her experience to maximize productivity.

As everyone jumps to “mobile first” as a mantra, and HTTP as the connection, enterprises must shift their service delivery strategies to wrap and extend traditional appli- cations and, moreover, integrate with external services that have become ubiquitous in the landscape. From news feeds to social media, from Google to enterprise knowledge repositories, and from Salesforce to produc- tivity applications, there are Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for everything. The new disciplines of API management and promotion are becoming critical strategic discussions for businesses.

Another critical discussion is the experience. In the past, the user experience (UX) came very late in the design process, often being “designed” by program- mers or engineers. Today, we are seeing a new empha- sis on the experience; in fact, the UX is designed, mocked up and built first. The UX designer is a key member of the agile development team. Likewise,

the API developer, a somewhat new role, is working to provide a set of programmer interfaces that maxi- mize a correct and complete interface to underlying services and data. These APIs have moved from chatty sequences of messages to a single document that is transacted. These APIs must support constant change, with backward compatibility, to maximize value for the broad new ecosystem of developers.

But who is the developer? With new frameworks and tools, not to mention web technologies, it’s everyone. Do- it-yourself (DIY) apps are starting to flourish. Instead of one fat-client application with hundreds of tabs serving a broad set of jobs and roles, we are seeing function-specific apps created by business people and consumers (in addi- tion to IT). These apps use data not just from one system, but mashed up from news feeds, maps and other services to enable one to make more informed decisions. There are over 1 million apps in the Apple App Store, including over 1,500 calendar apps alone. This creates choice for con- sumers, and since employees are also consumers, there is a new expectation for IT to become more like the Internet — offering choice, openness, flexibility and speed.

This revolution in technologies and the open passing of information through communities is accelerating a new revolution in applications, explored in the Apps rEvolution report. We are all consumers. We value choice, and we expect enterprise technologies to be as good as their consumer counterparts. With the advance of Internet- connected devices, we expect to constantly create, interact with, and integrate information from everywhere. We are just beginning to see the value that the apps revolu- tion is ushering in as our enterprises continue to embrace the consumerization of IT.

Apps rEVOLUTION report

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One comment

  1. I don’t think these are drastic times. Those of us with long-term memory can recognize this as history repeating itself: Mobile devices are simply following the same arc that desktop devices followed almost 20 years ago.

    Before the maturation of the desktop browser, all programs were delivered as standalone “Apps” – each with their own custom data utilization and dedicated client interface. Today’s robust browsers and SaaS platforms have all but eliminated the need to install dedicated Apps on DESKTOP devices in order to run business applications.

    Enter the MOBILE device. Lacking any robust browser technology and screen real-estate at the time, providers turned to the dedicated App in order to serve a computing a goal (a process which Apple in particular endorsed to a profitable end).

    Today’s mobile browsers are now quite capable, and so we are seeing a migratory shift back to this “universal client” as the preferred computing platform. Indeed, many launching tiles are just links to http/html/js services – that are just styled to look like “Apps”.

    Thankfully, the role of API’s and a service-oriented architecture will not change much depening on the client.

    So, while I applaud your recognition of the impact mobile devices will make in the workplace, your perceived concentration on the dedicated “App” as a new initiative already seems a little outdated.

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