Ever since I started working in the technology industry, I recall that the most popular and successful keyword in the enterprise software world has been ‘Packaged Solutions’ for the enterprise — ERP packages, CRM packages, SCM packages, HCM packages, Procurement, and the list goes on and on. As technology consultants, one of the most common and obvious design principles we have been emphasising to enterprise clients has been:
Buy, don’t build!
Well, the principle still holds true to some extent and some core business needs, but with a slight twist!
Look at what Gartner predicts (http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3119717) for the Enterprise application software market:
Application Purchases Will Increasingly Be “Build,” Not “Buy”
Gartner predicts that by 2020, 75 percent of application purchases supporting digital business will be “build,” not “buy.” Gartner’s research shows that many organizations already favor a new kind of “build” that does not include out-of-the-box solutions, but instead is a combination of application components that are differentiated, innovative and not standard software or software with professional services (for customization and integration requirements), or solutions that are increasingly sourced from startups, disrupters or specialized local providers.
Wow! That’s a disruptive shift, kind of upside-down 😊.
And what are the drivers for this disruption?
well here are some of the usual suspects:
- Cloud and servitization of everything — the adoption of subsciption based models (Everything as a Service). Cloud has given super powers of agility, scalability, self service on-demand computing capabilities to innovative start ups and developers — and the results have begun to show!
- Low-code Platforms — a term coined by Forrester — platforms that enable rapid application delivery with a minimum of hand-coding, and quick setup and deployment, for systems of engagement. Platforms like Force.com and ServiceNow are like Apple App store and Google Play Store — they provide developer tools for anyone to quickly build and deploy modern intuitive mobile ready apps — and upload on their enterprise app stores! Such platforms are more adept at catering to the ‘consumer technology’ demands of business users, that traditional heavyweights find difficult to fulfill.
- Opening up of the eco-system — The biggest companies of the world are opening up their advanced technology capabilities for tech professionals and developers. IBM’s amazing cognitive computing technology is now available to startups through their accelerator program. Similarly,Microsoft and Google are encouraging startups through similar accelerator programs, focusing on emerging technologies like machine learning, Internet of Things, etc.
- Emergence of advanced frameworks and methodologies for agile, lean, nimble, continuous delivery, devops giving amazing speed to application ‘build’. This is also partly because of acceptance by end users of concepts like Minimum Viable Products (MVP), again thanks to the adoption of consumer mobile apps where new application releases are not an event, but just an automatic update running in the background!
With great disruptions, come great challenges!
Biggest challenge: The open ecosystems, the low-code platform landscape, the frameworks and methodologies are all growing at breakneck speed, which means there is increasing complexity in the technology framework landscape and users may be more confused than spoilt for choice.
For e.g, this one 15 mins article on top web application frameworks names more frameworks/ languages/ standards than what I would have read in my 4 year engineering course! And this is just about web applications! (Awesome job there Francois Ward )
All said and done, speed of change is increasing by seconds, and never know when the world turns upside-down again! Be a part of this exciting change!