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2014 Predictions for Cloud and Application Development

January 15, 2014 No Comments

Featured article by By Johan Den Haan, CTO, Mendix

Within enterprise IT, 2014 is shaping up to be the year of the app.  Forward-thinking CIOs and IT leaders are embracing app-fueled innovation as a driver of business growth and differentiation.  What they’re realizing, though, is that not all apps are created equal.  Moreover, responding to pressing business needs, new market opportunities, and the overall accelerating pace of change requires a new app delivery approach built on speed, agility, and collaboration.  Otherwise, they’ll  only fall further behind—and sink further into “debt”.

With that in mind, here are a few predictions for 2014 from app development platform company Mendix:

1. Companies will focus on reducing their “IT debts” – Gartner projected that the nation’s “IT debt” – defined as the cost of dealing with delayed and deferred maintenance of the application portfolio – will grow to one trillion dollars by 2015. With this as a backdrop, 2014 will be the year IT departments get serious about resolving their own debts. They will do this by replacing traditional coding with more visual, collaborative approaches like model-driven development that speed up the app development process dramatically, allowing IT to increase their output and resolve their debt crisis.

2. More CIOs will act as “trend-setters” – Software is disrupting industries. For proof, look no farther than the impact that Netflix is having on entertainment, Uber on transportation, and Square on the finance industry.  All of these examples are new players that disrupted the status quo with new, app-driven approaches.  In order for CIOs to drive similar types of disruptive innovation in their own industries, they must act as trendsetters – not trend watchers – and embrace a mindset that allows them to get to market quickly, release software continuously, and stay ahead of the pace of change.  If they don’t act, their businesses will be left behind.

3. The “Citizen Developer” will take on a larger role – Simply improving developer efficiency is not sufficient to help IT departments stay ahead of business demands and growing backlogs. Radical changes are needed to accelerate the development process. Organizations will adopt visual, model-driven development techniques and tap the large pool of Citizen Developers (or business engineers) within their organizations to collaborate and co-create with IT.  Development speed and capacity is vastly increased; IT maintains control; and because the business is more involved, projects are more successful.

4. IaaS will continue to become a commodity – With a market leader like Amazon, upcoming “proprietary” clouds from Microsoft and Google, and other big IT vendors building clouds using open source platforms, the IaaS market will become like electricity: a commodity sold at the cheapest price. As Google shows with their R&D-driven approach we are not there yet; they still innovate a lot on the status quo. However, very soon the focus will shift to “operational excellence” and innovation will mainly shift to higher-level cloud layers.

5. The “Internet of Things” will drive the need for business apps – Mobile and the internet-of-things (glasses, watches, cars, medical devices, etc., all connected to the internet) will drive the need for apps and a way to handle and make sense of all the data coming from these devices. As new devices and technologies are being released quicker and quicker, the need for speed in application development will only increase.

With all of these changes in IT, development and the surging need for apps, organizations will demand apps faster than ever.  Businesses that used to wait months (or years) for apps will turn down development projects that take too long to generate a release. They will no longer wait for IT to “consolidate” the app landscape, and  instead, turn to cloud platforms to do it themselves. To grow along with the industry, IT will need to change its role to handle these changes in 2014.

 john mendix

Johan Den Haan is CTO of Mendix, a provider of an enterprise app platform for rapidly delivering web and mobile applications.

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