IT continues its drive to add value by enabling the businesses and co creating business. It is one of the important enablers of competitive strategy for businesses. The traditional application development and lifecycle management still continues amidst approx 10 to 20% applications are taken and used standard out of the box. There are around 1 to 3% applications moving in direction of “Software as a Service”, pay for use.
While all of the above is evolving we have seen that our so called Smart Phones are becoming more and more powerful with ability to run most of the internet browsing capabilities as well as mobile platform for application development.
With iOS and Android’s ease of use to create mobile applications, we have seen a very high rise in individual mobile applications enabling us in all areas of life. Apple has millions of these appls sold and these come for as low as 1USD per user. Android based applications are increasing as well and used on various mobile platforms.
This is the start of applications becoming commodity / utility and it means that for all day 2 day applications as well as collaboration applications will move towards mobile platform and available on internet round the clock at very low cost and used in very high volumes.
On the other hand the business specific applications are moving towards pay for use “Software as a Service” model. A few examples of the same are, Concur for expense management, Salesforce.com for order management. SAP, Microsoft and Google are also working on creating Pay for use applications which are low cost, transaction driven applications. In conjunction providers are also working on leveraging Cloud Computing and Service Oriented Architecture for creating mobile applications.
Google has launched Google Appls Store which is not just for mobile appls but appls that can be accessed and used using browser online. Microsoft is in process of launching Office 365 online for working virtually from anywhere.
All of the above are showing the signs that we are on the journey towards creating and using Pay for use as well as mobile applications more and more. In coming years this would lead to a utility model of using applications based on the needs and opening a new way of using applications from an appstore provider instead of making a new one ourselves every year.
On one side this will give more agility to the business to choose the solutions off the shelf while on the other end it will create more flexibility and control issues to ensure we choose the right appls throughout the company for effective use. This is more important for MNCs adapting the out of box applications then for individuals/small/medium enterprises.
IT is increasingly seen as an essential business enabler as well as value creator + competitive advantage creator. In doing so one of the most important service blocks of IT is applications life cycle management. Within application life cycle management the IT divisions generally use various frameworks and technology platforms to achieve the desired results. The well known ones are,
- Rational Unified Process (RUP) for requirements management
- PRINCE2 / PM BOK for project management
- ITIL for service management
- Waterfall method for application SDLC
- Agile development for agile way of applications management
- SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) for modular/component development and making them available as loosely coupled to be used as service
In the area of technology platform there is a vast list. Some of the heavily used ones are,
- Microsoft .Net
- Apple iOS
- MS SQL/MY SQL
- Many more…
On the other side we have seen the increase is standard out of box applications that we use day in and day out to get our daily activities done. A few examples of the same are,
- Microsoft Office Suite
- SAP (with needed customizations)
- Microsoft Sharepoint
- CA Clarity Tool
- HP Open View Service Desk Tool
- Many more…
The latest trend shows a start in applications turning more and more out of the box for day 2 day activities and collaboration needs. More and more business starting with individuals, small & medium enterprises are going towards using standard out of the box applications to keep their appls maintenance and development costs under control. The MNCs (Multi Nationals) have started moving towards the same for the so called Utility applications.
The advantages seen in using standard out of the box applications are,
- No internal development and maintenance team required
- The standard functionality ensures easy upgrades and updates
- Market standards are adhered to much easily
- License costs benefits due to volume
- Easier user training with standard vendor provided training materials
- Easier acquisition on boarding to One company standard appls
The disadvantages to be handled are,
- The standard appls vendor’s existence in market. If the vendor is small can be easily take over/go bankrupt
- No control over how fast the issues & changes reported will be resolved and in which release
- Very tight control on changes/customizations, all has to be within the boundary of what the standard appls environment allows
- License costs year over year can increase/ License model can change for major releases
- Data migration from other systems to standard systems could be very time consuming, complex and costly
The applications future continues to evolve and we already see many businesses moving in the standard out of the box applications for their day to day activities and collaboration needs. It is slowly moving towards adaptation of “Software as a Service”, pay for use model.