It’s hard to find a more hyped market than enterprise mobility. Enterprise technology analysts have rightfully been excited about enterprise mobility since 2011, but only recently has it actually found its way into enterprise IT budgets. Most of these budgets, up to this point, have been allocated for Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) and the “locking down” of devices to protect corporate network assets.
So what about enterprise apps? Vendors will tell you that they’re at the top of IT’s budget. Analysts will say that adoption is behind the curve, but “it’s happening.” The reality is most likely more nuanced: it’s a priority, but the biggest firms are still trying out many different approaches. The rise of Rapid Mobile App Development (RMAD) platforms is providing enterprise IT with additional tools to more quickly and efficiently tackle business user app requests. Sometimes, these tools don’t even require the hands of developers. For many underserved IT organizations, this amounts to a major advantage in a competitive software development labor market.
Realistically, however, the largest IT organizations still have significant developer resources. Prominent analysts are already predicting that large enterprise IT departments are beginning a momentous shift into software companies themselves. So while many RMAD vendors pitch “no-code” or “low-code” environments, it’s clear that large IT organizations want the “you-code” option to take advantage of their in-house developer talent.
So what’s the best way for developers to make beautiful, functional and productivity-generating enterprise apps? Developers should focus on collaborating with business users and developing a top-notch user experience. What will allow them to do this? Cloud services, which offload the integration and security work required to tie apps into an organization’s architecture.
Cloud services are nothing new, especially those used for storage and API management. But the methods by which they are being implemented is changing, and that’s due to an enterprise technology development called “microservices.”
Microservices is a recently coined term, and is best summarized by enterprise development thought leader Martin Fowler as “a particular way of designing software applications as suites of independently deployable services.” A simple way Fowler illustrates this is to consider the difference between traditional applications and apps delivered through a microservices-friendly architecture: When you change a small part of a traditionally compiled application, the entire application must be rebuilt and redeployed. With apps delivered to users as a suite of microservices, each “app service” can be developed and maintained by a different team. App services can even be created in different languages. Microservices architecture allows for the creation of modularized app services with clear boundaries, that can be mixed and matched to the needs of each user.
What does this all mean for developers? It means they get to focus on the fun stuff: developing helpful apps that delight business users. Without microservice-friendly cloud architecture in place, large enterprises can be prepared to spend significant developer time and resources on wrapping integration and security features around each app. Microservices are large enterprises’ best opportunity to reduce the overhead of modernizing enterprise architecture for mobility.
The more time developers can spend understanding business users and the processes they deal with every day will contribute to better-informed, more satisfying and overall more productive enterprise apps for users.