Rapid enterprise application development for the post-app world

Enterprises are increasingly seeking new ways to deliver immersive and seamless digital experiences to today’s always connected consumer. Gartner’s May 2017 report1 titled, Preparing for a World Beyond Mobile Apps, anticipates a post-app world where personalised and proactive customer service will have to extend beyond mobile and include a wide variety of interfaces such as wearables, bots, voice interfaces, IoT devices and AR/VR. The successful provision of immersive experiences, however, will hinge on one vital requirement—rapid app development.  And with rapid app development becoming the key differentiator, enterprises operating in a post-app world will require a complete rethink on application development.

The current state of enterprise application development—fast but not fast enough

Agile development, which brings down the time for development from 9-12 months to 4-12 weeks, has now become the preferred method for software application development. A study2 of software developers and IT professionals reported only 9% of organisations still using the pure waterfall method. The speed gained has resulted in increased productivity within software development teams, and facilitated better customer experiences with faster release of digital products.

Another contributor to speed in the development process is the rise of cloud based software development. Research by IDC, estimates 60–70% of all software, services and technology spending to be cloud-based by 2020.3 This surge has made it possible for IT to move to an on-demand model, shrinking the development time. The increased adoption of cutting-edge technologies like Microservices, Containers, and DevOps that natively leverage the benefits of the cloud have further contributed to speeding up the application development process. There has been momentous growth in the use of containers like Docker and Kubernetes, especially Docker, which has registered a growth rate of 40% during the past year.4 DevOps has now become an essential element in the software development process with 74% of development teams adopting DevOps processes.5 So has the use of microservices, with 60% of enterprises adopting the use of microservice architecture.6

However, there still exists a degree of complexity in the development cycle, and this complexity is hindering rapid application development.  A majority of IT professionals, nearly 76%, report the time taken to develop an app taking an average of at least three months.7 This significant time delay boils down to the burden of IT having to set up the app development infrastructure, which included ensuring uptime, availability, security and scalability for every application that is being built. The time spent in setting up of the infrastructure is compounded with other issues such as developer shortages, with 37% of organisations report facing a shortage of mobile developers, and a knowledge gap, with 44% of enterprises identifying a gap in the necessary development skills needed for successful software application development. Such challenges are causing backlogs of development projects, with 62% of IT professionals who develop apps reporting a delay in enterprise application development.

Accelerating development speed with an enterprise application development platform

For enterprise application development to match the speed that will be required in the post-app era, application development will have to be devoid of any complexity in the configuring, deploying, securing, scaling and managing of the development cycle. The answer lies in an enterprise application development platform, which increases speed by reducing complexity in the setting up and management of the development cycle. The time to set up the entire development cycle which on an average takes a couple of months is brought down to a few minutes—resulting in agility rates increasing by 30X.

An enterprise application development platform enables easy creation, development and deployment of cloud native applications with microservices using container support. Platforms are built to enable one-click DevOps automation and integration along with multi-cloud application management. Governance standards become easy to set and monitor. Team leads can determine the use of specific cloud providers and cloud-based tools with the curated catalogue of application stacks and micro services, and include the required build and test automation process.  

For enterprises to innovate business practices, differentiate within competitive market environments, and streamline operational workflows in a post-app world, it is imperative that they start evaluating application development platforms as their ticket to rapid enterprise app development.

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Sivarama Krishnan

Sivarama Krishnan

Partner, Leader - PwC's Technology Solutions, PwC India

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