4 application development resolutions for 2019

  • Posted on January 20, 2019
  • Estimated reading time 4 minutes
app dev tips

Question: What’s Uber without the software?

Answer: A taxi company.

Disrupters like Uber exist in industries as diverse as commercial real estate, entertainment, hospitality, and more. Some are already household names and no doubt a dozen companies you’ve never heard of (yet) will become household names within a few years—maybe over just this next year. You may not know who tomorrow’s disrupters will be, but you can be confident they’ll have one thing in common: custom software. It’s the strategic asset they’ll use to unlock enormous business value that allows them to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

You don’t have to be a hotshot startup to use custom software as a strategic business asset. As a matter of fact, it might be even more important for well-established players to do so to disrupt their industry before they are disrupted themselves. Moreover, established enterprises are finding that their digital transformations can’t truly be undertaken without custom software. If companies are embarking on digital transformations at an accelerating rate—and they are—it’s partly because they’re finding it easier than ever to create the custom software solutions they need.

It’s never too soon for you to get started with your own innovation powered by custom software development. With the new calendar year upon us, now is a great time to make a resolution to get your enterprise in order. In fact, here are four resolutions we suggest:

Resolution #1: Bring innovation into your software development mindset. Traditional companies think of software as a tool. Change your way of thinking! Whether you offer financial services or transcontinental transportation, think of software as your product and treat it that way. That means applying the same innovative processes around your software development that you’d expect from a world class product company. One such process is design-lead thinking, a comprehensive approach to innovation through active techniques including rapid designing and prototyping.

Resolution #2: Go cloud native for new development and “decouple” your legacy. It’s easy for startups to be 100% born-in-the-cloud natives, since they’re not starting with significant investments in datacenter infrastructure or dependencies on legacy applications. Companies that have been around a while often do have those challenges. Don’t worry. Despite the hype, you needn’t move all your software to the cloud immediately, especially the legacy software that runs basic back-office operations. Instead, your digital transformation and biggest strategic gains will come from the new software you create for innovative customer and employee experiences. “Decouple” from your legacy systems, which often provide critical functionality behind the scenes of these new innovative experiences, by building a microservice-based architecture for your new custom software to communicate to these legacy systems. Resolve to make the cloud the destination for all of your new innovative software, the software on which you build your market differentiation, while continuing to get the most out of your current investments in a “decoupled” way.

Resolution #3: Learn and leverage Platform-as-a-Service. Not all cloud platforms are alike. A lift-and-shift to an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform may not deliver the results you want and could end up increasing costs—the opposite of what you look to the cloud for. Instead, look to Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) to drive real innovation in your business. You can use the power of the platform to rapidly create and manage microservices as part of your process of digitally decoupling from legacy systems, embrace application modernization, and rapidly drive new innovation with little or no infrastructure investment. You can even leverage a “serverless” architecture to take advantage of “pay per use” models to significantly reduce costs while at the same time supporting significant scale! And in a PaaS environment, you can take advantage of advanced cybersecurity, proactive monitoring, and other tools you could never afford to create and implement on your own in the same well integrated way.

Resolution #4: Use the five R’s and modern software engineering practices on your cloud journey. If the cloud is a journey, you’ll need some tools to guide you through it. Modern engineering practices, such as DevOps and Agile are essential, including the tooling to support those practices. These practices enable companies to innovate many times a day with their custom software rather than a few times a year. Also essential are the five R’s: rehost, refactor, rearchitect, rebuild and replace. They represent key solutions that fit reside between legacy datacenter and cloud-native. For the most part, they require increasing investment and deliver increasing benefit. You should assess your current apps to determine how far along this journey to take each one.

There’s much more to keep in mind as you create business value—and perhaps entirely new business models—through custom software. But these four resolutions are stars to steer by as you chart the course of your digital transformation.

Of course, new year’s resolutions are sometimes difficult to maintain come summer. Or even February.

To boost the likelihood that you’ll succeed with your own custom software and cloud-native approach, check out our CIO Guide: Cloud Native Applications.

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