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Our App-Free Future: Takeaways from the Gartner Summit

Fundamental market shifts are coming, including a move beyond what we call mobility today. Read our takeaways on these insights from the recent Gartner Summit.

If you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind—in business it’s critical for the long term health of an organization to think ahead. It’s something we are constantly doing here at Progress. Changes to existing technologies, like monolithic platforms and what it means to be mobile, and advances in emerging technologies like the IoT and chatbots, are all essential food for thought and action.

To help us understand market trends, we collaborate regularly with other forward-thinking individuals and organizations, including analysts like Gartner. We recently attended Gartner’s Application Strategies and Solutions Summit, where there was a lot of fascinating discussion on the future of application development. The topics covered there are the same ones that are top of mind for almost every business in the industry, and we wanted to share our takes with you. We’d love to hear your own thoughts in the comments too.

Refactoring Monoliths

A major topic of conversation was what to do with older monolithic platforms. Certainly, when planning your next software architecture you need to remember that this is no longer the kind of platform you should build, but many organizations are already heavily invested in them. One analyst said he had not had an inquiry call in the last six months that didn’t touch on the need to move/modernize existing applications to the cloud.

Key to addressing this topic was an embrace of serverless architecture and micro-services, and of MASA (Mesh App and Service Architecture). The need to treat APIs as a product got a lot of time as well. The overall idea of creating flexible, easily accessed and disruptive services is central to the future of application development. It will require a new model—how do you monetize, how do you add value, how do you handle updates?

This is probably the largest application development challenge facing many organizations today.

Beyond Mobility

Mobility was once a hot topic, but there were very few sessions dedicated to mobile—or at least mobile alone. Having a mobile app and a responsive website is now simply table stakes.

However, Jason Wong’s session on the Mobile Application Development Platform was very well attended. The key takeaway here is that while the idea of “mobile” as a standalone innovative topic is diminishing, the development platform for easily and effectively creating mobile solutions is still a huge market factor. This is certainly an aspect of mobile development that we take very seriously and where we continue to innovate and lead.

If you’re looking for a development solution that combines cross-platform native app development with a world-class serverless backend, check out our mobility solution.

The Chatbot Experience and IoT

Chatbots, on the other hand, is a very buzzy topic in the industry. While chat and voice were major draws, it was interesting to observe that the presentations weren’t about chatbots per se—the focus was on a seamless cross-channel user experience, of which chatbots were a part.

Chatbots are important and can definitely improve the user experience—but ultimately Chatbots should be just another way that users can get the information they need, whenever and wherever they need it.

IoT is also a huge topic today. One big takeaway was a strong opinion by Massimo Pezzini that most IoT related processing will occur on the edge—either on the device or on the device gateway. It will be interesting to see how this emerging field develops over time.

The World After Apps

The boundaries of an app are fading, and Mark Driver led a fascinating session on what we can expect in the post-app world that’s coming. In tech support, for example, work is being done to create a digital twin of the human support agent, so that the user can begin with a bot that sounds like a human and then pass to a real person with the same voice.

In this world, there will be no monoliths, and the UI will not be not hard-coded. The advent of voice and natural language processing, along with microservices, means that the user experience will shift naturally along with the user. As Mark put it, we need to flip from humans adapting to technology, to technology adapting to humans. To achieve this, we believe businesses need a flexible and intelligent platform that enables rapid development—a cognitive-first platform.

Gartner has spoken about the importance of the versatilist to the modern tech workforce—about how critical it is to be able to apply a depth of experience to a wider scope of situations. At Progress, we empower developers to do this with our full-stack solution that allows both Web and JavaScript developers to build mobile apps and work across the entire stack without the need for expensive designers. Our approach to analytics is that it should be accessible and democratized for all. We proudly enable and empower versatilists every day, and believe it is the future of technology.

I’m excited to watch these trends develop as we get further into 2018. What do you think we’ll see this year? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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