While 2019 was defined by rapid change, businesses in 2020 will witness a greater change in pace that keeping up will not be an option anymore. Digital will not be a differentiator. Enterprises will need to stay agile and drive value through digital opportunities. They will need to strengthen their IT and business culture and empower their workforce using a ‘digital-first approach. IT and application leaders will need to transform their organizations to leverage the power of emerging technologies more quickly. You will need to choose the right technologies to drive business outcomes according to their needs and goals.
As enterprises are learning fast how to effectively use technology to respond to the competitive digital environment, digital maturity is reaching a tipping point. They are now focusing on how to deliver, scale, and reap their digital ambitions. Organizations are already well underway in preparing for digital transformation. Gartner in its 2020 CIO Agenda eBook reports more than 40% of businesses already at scale and ready for digital initiatives.
2020 will also continue to witness the evolution of the role of IT and application leaders. You would be expected to strategize on utilizing technologies to enable your workforce to ‘do more with less’. To continue to be successful as an application leader in the future, Gartner highlighted that application leaders need to embrace changes to translate digital strategies into business outcomes. You will need to consider changes such as aligning business models and IT operating models, shifting budgets from IT to business units, and revamping digital infrastructure to support the evolving workforce demographics and culture.
As the role of IT leaders is redefined the role of application teams would also need to be redesigned. To remain relevant beyond 2020, you need to prepare your organizations and teams. Application teams would be expected to have a responsive and fast delivery approach. They will need to adopt a business-centric model and effectively use technology to drive business capabilities. To be prepared for 2020 and beyond, Gartner's Applications 2024 report states that only those application teams that adopt effective ways and tools to connect with business stakeholders can deliver desired business outcomes such as exceptional customer experience and solving customers' issues.
In 2020, IT teams will be expected to adapt and deliver business capabilities more continuously. They would need to drive the adoption of technologies like low-code platforms, predictive analytics, and DevSecOps. Technology adoption for IT teams would need to be a means to solve business issues and deliver business outcomes.
Through the years leading to 2024, the shift to product-centric delivery and digital platforms will continue and a customer-centric mindset will increasingly be desirable. Enterprises in 2020 would have to move towards adopting a customer-centric business model. As this model matures, customer centricity is seeping internally into the organization with teams having their customers. This also includes platform teams that develop and deliver APIs that are consumed by other teams. Product teams would need to do customer research and gain insights into their customers’ needs (internal and external). They also would need to have a clear understanding of the product vision which is critical when making decisions to deliver solutions.
As agility becomes the name of the game and IT leaders give more importance to digital initiatives a major portion of the IT budget will be allocated to application development. Low-code development will become a major element in achieving enterprise agility and development teams would be expected to deliver more. More than 50% of developers according to Forrester plan to use or use low-code products by mid-2020. By the end of 2020, Gartner predicts that 1 out of 3 business users will use low-code tools to create applications and product-centric teams.
2020 will witness enterprise applications being designed around the employee experience. The impact and influence of business users will increase and you would need to democratize the use of technology for business users. By 2023, Gartner predicts that "40% of professional workers will orchestrate their business application experiences and capabilities". Application development will be aligned to business requirements and self-service DevOps will democratize how applications are deployed using low-code platforms.
2020 - The Year of Bridging Gaps and Breaking Silos
The epicenter of digital initiatives is transformation and you as IT or application leaders would need to be equipped to ride the wave. 2020 for you will need to be about bridging the gaps and breaking silos. It will need to be about bridging the IT skills gap, the business, and IT gap, and breaking the organizational, application, and infrastructure silos.
By 2024, application stakeholders will become acutely knowledgeable about IT solutions and technology. Their demand for new capabilities will increase and it will be immediate. To meet such hyper demand, you would have to gear up and would need to do it fast. There must be a revamp of mindsets and changes in traditional practices to leverage the potential of application development. Application architecture must be role-centric and based on business capabilities, software development must shift to a product-centric delivery approach, business users must get democratized access to technology and tools, and the IT and business teams must seamlessly collaborate. Here’s to ushering in another decade of intense innovation, collaboration, and transformation.
“Open standards for information technology” seem to be a new term that everyone is talking about recently. But, as a matter of fact, standards have been here for a long time. The socket and the plug that you use for charging your electronic devices, USB cables that fit perfectly into the given slots, or the WiFi signals that your devices connect to - all of these adhere to open standards.
As opposed to this, there are proprietary standards. As the name suggests, proprietary standards are the ones that are “closed” - those which are compatible only with a few specific configurations. The addition of features within the system itself is a cakewalk. But, when it comes to the integration of technologies belonging to a different system, it is either a tedious task or not possible at all.
This turned the attention of business owners to open standard-based technology architecture. The use of open standards fosters innovations resulting in disruptive technologies engulfing the market. At the end, the end-user wins by not getting locked into one large company’s way of conducting business.
In general, open-source refers to any software program that has an editable source code, available for users and developers to modify it as per their requirements. Open-source software is usually developed as a public collaboration and can be used by anyone freely. On the other hand, open standard software is defined as software that follows the guidelines laid down to keep technologies “open”. These guidelines allow free sharing of all data types with perfect fidelity. Open standards help avoid vendor lock-in and thereby, enhance interoperability.
Concept-wise, open-source and open standards groups are alike in more ways than they are different. The goal of both groups is to create an immense amount of shared value that can be used by anyone freely. Both open source and open standards advocates have similar ideas about governing an open project, but their approaches to it are different.
Application development can gain a lot more by collaborating both open source and open standard software. In the technical sphere, open-source projects based on open standards stand better chances to receive access and support on governance matters and other industry acceptable documentation. It can open funding opportunities that can impact the enterprise’s goals.
Now, let’s look at some business benefits of adopting open standards.
In the present scenario, for enterprise applications to offer a complete service, it needs to have several third-party integrations. Let’s consider a taxi booking application that people access from their smartphones. The app needs to track the phone’s GPS to detect its location and then give this information to the driver so that it can reach the user at the exact location. This functionality of navigation is added to the application by integrating a mapping service - say, Google maps. For successful integration of separate applications, the software and the data must be made to work together without any miscommunication. This is possible only with open standards which enable different software systems to share data easily with speed and reliability.
So, now when one application needs to work with diverse systems having services distributed across multiple domains, there is a need to have a connecting link for the swift transfer of data. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) make this connecting link possible. Here is where interoperability steps in. If your business application adheres to open standards, there are standard-based APIs that one can use to connect with any system. But, if your application follows proprietary standards, the choices are limited, and one needs to develop custom APIs for the same. This leads to vendor lock-in. You are stuck with using a system owned by a specific vendor. Due to this, the shortcomings of those systems affect the efficiency of your application as well. Instead, building an application with open standards, you are not tied down by any vendor or its shortcomings.
A business application generally needs to be so designed that it is compatible across various systems and varied screens. If the application follows closed standards, this is only possible when each compatibility is individually addressed. One may need to design extensive proprietary interfaces for enabling compatibility with each system thus, limiting interoperability. On the other hand, open standards will pave the way for a fully interoperable business application that has a simple plug-and-play set up for all systems across all devices. Thus, you save a lot of man-hours spent on developing custom interfaces or offering extensive integration services to customers.
It is extremely difficult to convert the data if an application, which is becoming obsolete, supports proprietary files. With open standards, however, file types and data are protected against applications becoming obsolete. If a file type follows open standards, the new application can easily use the data or convert it.
It is easier to port one application across multiple platforms if the implementation follows standardized rules and guidelines. Further, it requires less training to develop the application on different platforms as well. In contrast, proprietary applications typically require more training and knowledge as information is not publicly available about them.
By saving man-hours, you reduce the time to market. Again, when your application is up and ready in a short time span and integration service needs are non-existent, you also save a lot on development costs. With low development costs and no vendor lock-in, the total cost of ownership of the application is low as well.
In the present-day world, there are new technologies emerging at a very fast pace. Taking this into consideration, it would be preferable to have an application that can readily catch up with all the advancements in technology. Looking from a business point of view, open standards are a necessity while open source is a choice. By choosing software frameworks that are open standards-compliant, the resulting business applications will adhere to the accepted levels of security and modes of data interchange and exchange. It also improves the accessibility and quality of your business application. Whereas, you may choose an open-source or proprietary software for building your applications purely based on your needs and preferences.
Why is it that 75% of the business and IT executives anticipate their software projects will fail? Why is failure rate often a planned expense that is written off long before development ever begins? Here's a fun infographic to not only understand the major friction points in delivering successful enterprise applications but also learn how to tackle these monsters and speed custom app creation.
Do tell us about the monsters that scare you the most and any other ghouls we may have missed. Happy Halloween!