Apps in business: bandwagon or reality?

These days everyone wants to access the function they need to do their job in the shape of apps for their smartphones and tablets don’t they?  More and more app stores are available whether iTunes, Windows Store, Google Play, IBM PureSystems Centre, and so on.

A conversation I had recently got me thinking more about how we consume IT and the changes IT delivery organisations will experience.  I also wonder about the hype cycle and where we may be on it these days.

Right now an organisation may find that consumers of its IT want access to just one or two functions via an app, and perhaps 10 apps will be created for 10 different functions.  (By function I do mean one type of interaction with some back end technology, whatever that may be, perhaps searching for client information.  I don’t mean the “Sales” function or other such organisation.)  And that sort of thing is proliferating, so perhaps we’re somewhere between the “Technology Trigger” and “Peak of Inflated Expectations” with lots of these new apps being developed.

But where do we draw the line?  That is, is it realistic or unmanageable to have to navigate between 10 or 20 apps to do one’s job?  As we move more and more to this new model driven by the consumerisation of IT I think we will hit that “Trough of Disillusionment” when it starts to get hard.  As it is I have well over 100 apps on my smart phone, and while very few of them are to do my job,  I expect that to change increasingly.  Management of that is going to be very hard.


So, I’m thinking about what is next.   Will we ditch our smartphones, tablets and their apps, and go back to a desktop/laptop world to access enterprise applications?  Back to green-screens anyone?  I seriously doubt it.   There will clearly continue to be a place for both.

We’ll mature into a world with more feature-rich apps to allow us to do more from our smart devices in a sensible manner, and with better models for identifying which instruments are best for which tasks.

So, what changes?  Our architects must be able to design technology which has the flexibility to support a number of interaction models, and a variety of performance models, and our requirements gatherers (business analysts, system analysts, etc.) must understand our companies’ business models to better define who needs access to what function and information in what form.   The “business” must get closer to “IT”, DevOps must become BusDevOps, and whilst a technical person may think their business counterparts need to listen more perhaps technical leaders must learn to become trusted advisors.

Analytics will become increasingly important to allow us to understand the non-functional characteristics and apply that knowledge to future developments.  Is it possible for security to be any more important than it already is?  Perhaps not, but we may see more organisations begin to take it more seriously, and we certainly need to adapt our security measures more quickly.

And as these are just my initial thoughts they’ll evolve and mature themselves!


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