Tips for navigating the application economy


It’s a jungle out there. Our handy hints will help guide you through this fast-evolving landscape.

LittleBlogAuthorGraphic  David Hodgson, June 9, 2014

Commuting in Manhattan can be disastrous. I do it daily. On an average day by the time I get to 35th street I have avoided five cyclists, maneuvered around at least 10 slow pedestrians and raced in front of a few cars! The funny thing is, I feel like I am in control, and yet when I think about it, I know there is potential peril at every turn. This is very similar to how most IT executives feel about navigating the Application Economy. To help you better understand, I’d like to invite you to join me on a metaphorical walk.

First, let’s clarify what the ‘Application Economy’ is. At its core the term refers to the effect the digital era has on business with ever-increasing leverage coming from the use of software and applications. Now, with virtualization and the cloud driving the expansion of compute power, storage and all forms of commoditized infrastructure, much of this leverage now rests on apps.

When you walk you have time to think, and I’ve been thinking about four huge implications the Application Economy has for business, the IT org, and the business of IT. Here’s the first:

Every business is in the software business

Between 35th and 53rd streets—my destination—I will pass hundreds of people tethered to their phones by headphones, with many accessing the Internet as they walk. An app is delivering the music to those tiny speakers. An app is sending that text message. An app is making that lunch reservation. These apps, and countless more like them, are constant reminders of how technology has changed everything. Apps let us live in a digital age.

Your business has opportunities that could be enabled or improved by leveraging the app-based world sitting in the palm of your customers’ hands. The challenge is to plan for and create the experiences that engage your customers through mobile devices, and to tap into that growth potential for your business.

Increased connectedness means ever-increasing transactions hitting application servers and mainframes for queries or reconciliation. Delivering experiences through apps means that even your mainframe business needs to be re-examined.

Three things to think about

The next three points will get you thinking while you plan how you will derive value for your business from the Application Economy.

  • Your infrastructure is your greatest advantage and your legacy systems are your secret weapon
  • Make DevOps the newest best practice in your organization
  • Security must enable your business not restrict it

There’s a blog post wrapped around each of these points, but I don’t want this to be a walk I take alone. Do any of these points resonate with you? Have you seen other significant issues around a shift to the Application Economy? Let me know in the comments – and I’ll let you know my thinking in my upcoming blog posts.

Dealing with the Application Economy is not a walk in the park

One of my favorite places in New York is Central Park. In the park a walk is calming, restorative, non-urgent and a chance to disconnect.

Dealing with the Application Economy as an IT department is nothing like a walk in the park – it’s energized, urgent, and completely connected. And it’s as critical to the success of your business as my daily walk is to my personal success.

Let’s keep walking: A whole new economy is waiting.

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