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IT and the future app store

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By Joshua Brusse, Chief Architect, Asia Pacific and Japan, HP Software Professional Services


By now most everyone is familiar with the Apple App Store or Google Play. Many of us use apps in our daily life, to book hotels and flights, rent taxis, and so on. More and more we live our lives with the help of apps from an app store.
In the future it will go much further, and we will do everything through apps. The banks will interact with us through apps. We will interact with businesses through apps and order groceries through apps. What you do during your day is also what you want to do during your work. As I’ve written before, work-life balance slowly disappears and it becomes work-life integration.


As a result the same “app store mentality” that we all have in our private life is what we’ll demand in our work as well. What does this mean for IT, and how should IT prepare?

 

Apps and Bring Your Own Service
The app store mentality hastens the need for IT organizations to transform into service brokers. When you manage an app store, you’re not creating all the applications yourself—you’re sourcing applications from other vendors. If you go to Google Play, the apps are not all from Google. But Google is presenting these apps through its catalog, just as IT presents in-house and third-party services in a service catalog.

 

What’s more, IT must accept the Bring Your Own Service (BYOS) trend. In the past, central IT would kill any deviation. Everyone needed to use the same interface and see the same screen in enterprise applications. That type of standardization is going to disappear simply because people are used to an app store mentality.


For example, many people who travel for business have an app on their smartphones that lets them book a hotel room. I have one on my phone. If I go to someone else’s phone, I may see a different app or a different interface. We’re different people, and we each have features we like, and we have customized our interfaces according to our tastes. But on the back end the difference in interface doesn’t matter. We have access to the same database and could book a room at the same hotel—even the same room—anywhere in the world.


From demand to DevOps
In the service-broker era, IT needs to offer enterprise apps that allow people to choose their own interface. Why? Because allowing them to use their own interface allows them to be more productive. As I’ve written before, happiness leads to productivity. When people can get their own apps and services, they feel more effective, productive, and happy. But to offer the right choices, you have to be much more aware of what demand is going to be. If you fail to understand demand (part of the Requirement to Deploy value stream), your customers and employees may not like your apps. In that case, they might delete the app and go somewhere else. Or, you won’t know how to integrate their chosen apps with your back-end applications and systems. Either case can affect your business.


For instance, it’s in an airline’s interest that customers book flights directly through its app. Because if customers book flights through a service like Expedia, the airline has to pay that third party. What’s more, if you use the airline’s app, the airline now has direct access to you and your behavior. Now they can target advertisements and promotions to you.
You see why it’s so important for businesses to understand customer demand about how they want to engage and to provide apps that their customers use. Businesses need to keep constantly in tune with their customers and with market emotions and trends. Then they need to take that information and develop new apps fast, test them fast, and provide new functionality fast. This is why understanding demand and then having DevOps as the next step is a crucial part of the future app store.


For more information, download the HP DevOps Toolkit, which includes a Gartner report on the seven critical steps to DevOps success (registration required).

 

Joshua headshot.JPGJoshua Brusse is Chief Architect, Asia Pacific and Japan, HP Software Professional Services. He writes frequently about leadership, management of organizational change, cloud, and IT Service Management. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaBrusse.

 

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