App development high on Gartner’s strategic technology agenda
As we enter the final weeks of 2013, predictions for 2014 are beginning to pop up everywhere. Not so long ago Gartner announced its top ten strategic technology trends for 2014 at its US Symposium/ IT Expo.
As we enter the final weeks of 2013, predictions for 2014 are beginning to pop up everywhere. Not so long ago Gartner announced its top ten strategic technology trends for 2014 at its US Symposium/ IT Expo. These trends will be further discussed this week at the European version of this event in Barcelona.
Gartner defines a strategic technology as one with the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years. Its 2014 strategic trends range from the ‘happening in businesses now’ – like hybrid cloud and diverse mobile device management – to the ‘more like three years away in terms of business IT’ – like 3D printing. Looking at the more here-and-now trends they fall into two main, but intertwined categories: mobility and the cloud.
Cloud is clearly important to CIOs. Gartner lists ‘hybrid cloud as a IT service broker’, ‘client/cloud architecture’ and ‘the era of personal cloud’ in its top ten. What Gartner means by this last one is a situation where devices are effectively replaced by cloud services, for example Google Drive. Google Drive allows consumers to access files anywhere, from any device, and share them anywhere with anyone. But with the strengthening of EU data protection laws, businesses using the service could face fines in the upcoming year. This is because Google and other cloud providers cannot guarantee that customers’ data is never stored outside of EU countries. What’s more, they cannot guarantee security in the public cloud – as recently revealed NSA activities have shown. So if public cloud causes regulatory difficulties for businesses, we are likely to see greater interest in private cloud solutions where the hosting company can guarantee compliance with such data protection law. It will be interesting to see the European-focused discussion around Gartner’s cloud predictions this week.
Gartner’s second comment on this trend reinforces my point. Gartner says that: “Apps will continue to grow while applications will begin to shrink. Apps are smaller, and more targeted, while a larger application is more comprehensive. Developers should look for ways to snap together apps to create larger applications.” It’s the small apps that are easy for hobbyists to create, while I believe that developing larger applications (which in the B2B space are certainly not shrinking) and snapping together smaller ones will remain mostly the work of professional developers.
The market for tools to create mobile apps remains very diverse and there is a wide (and often confusing) range of products for developers to choose from. This is another health sign for our industry. Gartner estimates that there are over 100 potential tool vendors and consolidation is not likely to happen in earnest for a while.
I think that all this very positive news. Not only are we going to be able to tap into a larger pool of developer literate people, but application development is losing its geeky, niche image and becoming more mainstream, something that is surely good for the industry.