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Enterprise applications must be more agile

08 May 2014

Applications are changing dramatically due to mobile and cloud pressures.

In the eyes of analyst firm Gartner, this not only drives the need to change application development practices, but it changes the nature of what is delivered to users.

David Mitchell Smith, vice president and Gartner Fellow, answered questions that are on the mind of IT and business leaders when embracing the Nexus of Forces (cloud, mobile, information and social) and the imperatives that organisations are facing with their application strategy.

Q: How must the architecture of enterprise applications change for organisations to be fully adopting the Nexus of Forces?

A: In order to fully leverage the Nexus of Forces, architectures must be as flexible as possible. The intersections of these disruptive forces catalyse innovations and changes that are difficult or impossible to predict.

Therefore, agility and flexibility should be prized characteristics – more so than traditional focus on stability, reliability and security.

Not that the latter are not important, but they should not be prioritized over the agility because without it, the benefits will be elusive.

Q: What do organisations need to change in their application strategy to become a digital business?

A: Digital business requires new thinking. The resultant application strategies that will enable the transition will rely on four principles: 1) overturn assumptions, 2) bypass everything, 3) be open to serendipity, and 4) use adaptive technologies.

You are going to have to accept some chaos and become more fluid in approaches to address the issues.

Q: What is the future of the Web, and how should organisations respond to the challenges of HTML5?

A: The future of the Web is reaching further into new areas of technology and business. These directions include mobility, programmability, social software, context-aware computing, cloud computing, and improved user experiences.

One thing remains constant in the evolution of the Web and that is its focus on standards. Often the real value in Web technologies and approaches lies more in the standardisation and ubiquity rather than specific capabilities. The next frontier in Web technologies and standards is HTML5.

Much misunderstood, HTML5 is not one thing, but many and needs to be examined as such. Confusion reigns regarding the role of HTML5, especially in the mobile world.

Despite the confusion and myths and misunderstanding, HTML5 will be a key component of mobile solutions but will not by itself deliver all the functionality.

Organisations should not wait for HTML5 or delay implementations but should leverage appropriate components as applicable.