Last week our “2013 Planning Guide for Application Delivery Strategies: Mobile, Cloud, Social, and Information” was published on Gartner.com . It discusses the Nexus of Forces — the convergence and mutual reinforcement of social, mobile, cloud and information trends — and the profound implications for all of IT. Our planning guide describes how application development and delivery organizations should react to these trends in 2013.
The theme of our planning guide this year is “Enterprise IT is drinking in Last Chance Saloon”. Many Gartner clients are directing their net new IT investments into innovative mobile, social, big data and cloud initiatives. Such initiatives are an opportunity (perhaps the last) for enterprise application delivery organizations to prove they can deliver strategic value. Sometimes this means IT is the application solution provider of choice for business value-creating initiatives. Other times, it means IT becomes a broker of commodity IT services.
A parallel imperative for 2013 must be delivering efficiently on legacy modernization and reducing technical debt in order to free up budget, people and social capital to direct toward these more innovative projects. Application delivery teams are seriously hampered by maintaining legacy applications, point-to-point integrations, inflexible systems and low-quality data sources.
Application delivery teams we speak to every week know that delivering innovative mobile and cloud solutions requires changes to architectures, skills and mindsets. The considerations we provide in the planning guide will put you on the right track to make those changes. For example, in the planning considerations for mobile app development, I recommend:
Architecture: Mobilize Use Cases, Not Applications
“Mobile-enabling” an application is rarely sufficient to give mobile users a valuable experience. Building a mobile app is not just a matter of taking a system you have and making it available through a mobile interface. Certainly, new design patterns are required for app development, but don’t think of the device as simply another channel on which you are displaying the same interface. You need to think in terms of ” I’m building an application to deliver a business process to a mobile user. What does the mobile user want to do? And how do I deliver that workflow?”
Consider good mobile application development as “mobilizing use cases” rather than “mobilizing applications.” Shipping an application with a new template or style sheet to give a new skin to a system is lazy. Go one or two layers deeper and redesign. You can reuse existing capabilities, but don’t just slap new lipstick on them.
My entire team will be presenting and consulting with clients at Gartner’s Application Architecture, Development and Integration (AADI) summit in Las Vegas, 27-29 Nov. Hope to see you there to discuss your plans for delivering applications in 2013.
 For subscribers only. Non-subscribers scroll past the login form to view the table of contents – it’s a list of the key challenges for each of mobile, cloud, social and information and recommendations I provide.