Application development – when it’s time to “GO Cloud”
Software experts and business analysts estimate that approximately 85% of IT budgets go to maintaining, updating and fixing business applications, and only 15% of their resources are dedicated to creating new applications that drive business value. So if you need a new mobile application built quickly to support a sales requirement, you’d better get in line and hope for the best, or better yet, “GO Cloud”!
Before examining the benefits of cloud-based application development, it’s important to understand the core features needed in a strong application development and delivery platform. And by that I mean platforms that can be used to build applications ranging from internally focused web and mobile-based portals for human resources to powerful, customized business-critical apps that represent corporate systems of record.
So, regardless of whether the platform is managed on-premises or in the cloud, a full-featured application development platform should provide the following functionality:
- Open standards – Developers require flexibility to develop in the languages and stacks in which the enterprise has elected to invest (e.g., Java, .NET).
- Integration – Any new, custom application is most likely going to need integration with existing systems. Some of the most commonly used adapters connect to SAP, salesforce.com and popular databases, so developers require flexibility to build integration workflows that minimize performance impact and security threats when connecting to back-end systems.
- Rapid iteration – Business users need to be able to provide quick feedback on features and functionality, so close collaboration between IT and end users is imperative to getting custom applications deployed quickly, and ensuring that they actually meet business users’ requirements.
- DevOps automation – Developers need the ability to confirm the application model’s integrity and generate and deploy the application with a single click. This is why the platform must track dependencies and isolate the impact of any change across a given application, and visual debugging should be in place to identify needed fixes.
To go cloud or not to go cloud?
There is nothing more frustrating to a business executive than having a business opportunity that requires a custom application but not being able to get the app built quickly enough. This is why it’s time to weigh the benefits of the cloud for application development: flexible deployment models, quick time to launch, no need to deploy lots of on-premises infrastructure. Basically, cloud-based development platforms can change the game for highly constrained development organizations.
Often times, the problem with building new apps is the uncertainty over whether the promised revenue or potential benefits are real. Of course, no one can guarantee a new app will deliver the expected advantages until it is in production, but a cloud-based development approach enables organizations to quickly seize on business opportunities without putting off the overall IT agenda.
At the same time, with the cloud, development professionals no longer have to wait for the infrastructure to be in place. Instead, all of the infrastructure elements (network and server provisioning, database management and administration, security policies, disaster recovery planning and backup) are in the cloud. So the development objective will be building a great app quickly, focusing on business needs and user experience instead of foundations and resources.
Additionally, the cloud model aligns closely with mobile applications in terms of addressing scale, performance, availability and access. The flexibility and capacity of the on-demand cloud make it an ideal platform on which to build and deploy these applications.
In conclusion, what we have to remember is that cloud affords significant flexibility to perform rapid development, testing and application viability analysis. Also, the IT team needs the ability to migrate to an on-premises, private cloud or hybrid model if application or business requirements dictate.
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