Author’s note: This final post in our series on Digital Transformation continues to lay out what a truly modern approach to IT “looks like”—this time with regard to the Modern Applications.
In the last post in this series, we touched on key challenges that can keep organizations from advancing as needed to maintain competitive advantage through the “stickiness” provided by Modern Applications. In this post, we’ll now turn to characteristics of Modern Apps. Each of these characteristics is necessary to ensure relevance to customers, employees and partners.
- Connected - Connected systems provide data delivery or experiences over a wide range of device channels and topologies, such as IoT, Device Integration and Mixed Reality. Applications need to deliver unique and valuable functionality to support the business and drive customer value. It is critical that these applications connect to sensors that can be worn by people, integrated into the manufacturing process or connected to vehicles. Applications today cannot just connect to databases and display information; we live in a fully connected world, and our applications need to connect with everything around us.
- Usable - Usable systems provide adaptive or highly ergonomic interfaces over a variety of form factors and device families. Key factors here include UX, Mobility, and Responsive Design. The good news is that industry standards are available for most applications today; the bad news is the we are constantly adding new features and capabilities to the standards. Industry leaders like Amazon, Uber and Airbnb are great companies to follow today to see where application usability and user experience is going. When building your application architecture and support budget, you must assume annual changes to user experience to keep fresh and current.
- Available - Highly available systems handle unknown scale, viral load, mission-critical workloads with low latency and high SLAs. (Cloud, Distributed, and Scalable/HA are key ideas here.) Very few companies can afford to build and maintain a datacenter today that can compete with the major cloud providers. Constant improvements in computing power, data storage, memory management, backup and recovery, and security have made the public cloud offerings more attractive than ever. Not only are these infrastructures state of the art and always updated, but they also offer the ability to scale up and down based on demand, making them perfect for inconsistent workloads like Dev/Test and seasonality or short-term usage.
- Intelligent - Self-aware solutions capable of proactive alerting, scaling, and notifying human operators of rich forecasts through synthetic intelligence. (Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics are key concepts driving Intelligent solutions.) Application monitoring and support is fully automated and controlled by alerts and workflows. There is no one monitoring and manually responding to application needs and issues today. Datacenters run 24x7 with limited human involvement—but this is only made possible because applications are self-aware and can self-diagnose issues, apply fixes, publish alerts and kickoff workflows for resolution.
- Secure - Application Security and Identity Management solutions consolidate disparate identity management systems, improve the user experience for authentication and security, and build in support for modern security protocols. (Identity and App Security are vital concepts.) Security management has never been talked about, debated and invested in at the level we are seeing today. As we leave the traditional data center and leverage technology to connect everything together in a single application mesh, security is at the heart of every interface, authentication and integration. Your security investments need to be consistent and fully expansive. From the mobile phone your employees use, to your database servers and ERP platforms, security updates need to be current and complete.
Modern Applications are a differentiator for business and an essential component for Digital Transformation. As companies look to expand their marketplace and deliver unique offerings to new and existing clients, many of these offerings will leverage new applications that will be the cornerstone for the future.
Whether these applications are leveraging sensors, collecting information and are integrated with a mobile platform, provide a mixed reality solution to deliver applications, content and digital animations integrated with the physical world or using machine learning to interpret data and enabling new findings, Modern Applications are at the heart of your digital world.