The Gartner Application Strategies and Solutions Summit in Las Vegas in December 2019 presented several key takeaways that I wanted to pass along. If you are not familiar with Gartner events, they typically have a number of main stage presentations along with breakout sessions that are organized into different tracks.
“The Application Strategies and Solutions Summit is designed to help empower your entire enterprise to address digital business opportunities and use leading technologies to create and deploy business-critical solutions,” Gartner said.
This year’s theme was appropriately named: “Leading Your Enterprise Applications into the Next Decade”. For those of you who weren’t able to make it to the event, here are my top 8 takeaways:
1. Native cloud architecture
As more organizations move to the cloud and vendor offerings continue to change, Gartner recognizes that in order to keep up their categorization systems must also evolve. New concepts such as multi-cloud, distributed cloud and hybrid cloud have all been introduced to help clarify what public, private and hybrid truly mean. Regardless of the cloud deployment model your organization chooses to adopt, the key architecture principles should not change. A couple of things to consider:
- Proper abstraction of capabilities that can be developed, deployed and managed independently
- API support that backs both outer-APIs for external access and inner-APIs for service to service communication
2. Integration challenges
Organizations continue to cite integrations as one of the biggest challenges application development continues to face. Gartner recommends that developers move from integration as a coping mechanism to managing integration as the “heart of differentiation via innovation,” which indicates the strategic value that integration provides.
Though this sounds like a tall task, having a native cloud architecture such as the one noted above can help support an integration infrastructure that reinforces a hybrid cloud model. Instead of attempting to create a single, master data repository, one can use a high-performance intermediate data store that can be used to support multi-channel experiences.
3. Customer experience
Two-thirds of marketers report that they compete on customer experience, according to Gartner research that is in line with a recent study we conducted here at Progress. I felt that Gartner was stronger in outlining what companies should do to perfect customer experiences, rather than providing organizations with practical advice about how to do go about that.
I would advise companies to take a user-centric approach to customer experience that relies heavily on UX expertise by using technology that bridges the gap between the designer and the developer, as well as by utilizing DesignOps principles that extend beyond straight design management.
4. No-code and low code
In Gartner’s quest to define the future, they have gone all-in on no-code and low code. During my time at the Gartner Summit, I had several discussions with fellow attendees about Gartner’s shift towards no-code and low code, with many of them feeling that the futuristic view did not provide them with practical advice or best practices of what they and organizations need to do in the short term.
Gartner espouses the view that our industry is facing a big shift from “everyone is a developer” to “no one is a developer.” What’s more, Gartner predicts that we will see this change occur as soon as the end of 2020 based on the prominence of citizen developers, which will be augmented by AI and turn professional developers into mere application orchestrators.
5. A fresh approach to application development
During the summit, Gartner introduced a new concept, known as composable applications. Composable applications combine API-based architecture principles with agile concepts to support a continuous build pipeline.
This, in turn, complements what is known as a capabilities economy, which promotes the idea of monetizing data and services via an API. Though I can get behind the concepts, I am not entirely sure — as an industry — that we need to create new terminology, which only further complicates the discussion.
6. Analytics and cybersecurity
AI and machine learning are certainly top of mind for organizations looking to get and stay ahead. The Gartner Summit was packed full of sessions that addressed topics such as digital twins, AI transparency and traceability, as well as how analytics impacts profit margin, efficiency, customer service and employee efficiency.
The concept that I found most interesting was the need to protect analytical models from cyberattacks based on poisoning training data. Admittedly, it was not something I ever considered to be an attack vector.
7. Robotics process automation
This might be a new concept for some of you, but robotics process automation (RPA) is now being used to automate manual processes across organizations. While the name implies robots running around magically automating things, RPA is more focused on using technology to automate manual data entry.
Nevertheless, there is real value in using a record and playback approach for automation as a starting point to complement existing business process management efforts and set the stage for more intelligent approaches based on AI.
In hopes of improving collaboration between developers and IT, many have moved toward DevOps in order to ensure the move to agile is successful. However, DevSecOps adds another layer to this approach by bringing security into the mix and ensuring that security is no longer an afterthought.
Not only does this promote the concept of integrating security into every sprint, but it also highlights the need for the developer to understand the basics of secure code. I am all in on this approach.
Looking forward to the next Gartner event; hope to see you all there!
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