The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

Solutions of the future – systems of action?

applications.pngI was in a discussion today where someone asked: “Won’t applications in the future be like the ones that are delivered today?” I had to pause for a moment, since the thought behind the question itself made me second guess my assumptions.

 

When I think back on the way we wrote applications when I started in this industry, there are definitely some similarities with the solutions of today, but there are also some radical differences. We tried to write very focused and standalone solutions, generally written in 3rd generation languages that lived in systems that were constrained by memory, storage and access to data.

 

The use of automation tools (CASE) to perform the grunt coding has definitely not progressed as quickly as I’d hoped. I personally blame the whole .COM era for slowing down the industries progress on that one, since the focus moved back to hand crafted 3G coding techniques, probably because most of those are free.

 

On the other hand, the depth and breadth of application capabilities and the integration required for the Internet based applications (to add value) is very different than the applications created previously – let alone the diversity of coding languages and techniques that are applied to meet the changing environment where the enterprise and the consumers live.

 

As I think to the future and how scarcity that shaped how the applications are written, it seems that changes are in the offing. Data, computational power and access to storage are virtually unlimited when compared to the past. With the analytical capabilities available, we can recognize the intent or likelihood a decision is being made and act upon it, rather than just validating the decision after the fact. This by itself, will shift how we think of value generation. Our expectations can shift to a negative response time rather than having the goal of near zero-response time to events.

Another issue is the fact that “applications” are turning into aggregations of functionality. The standalone application that has generated value for so long, is likely dead. Today we pull data from one spot, process it with services from another and display it with yet another set of services. This is very different from the application of the past.

Having said that new devices (like the smart phones) have revitalized the small standalone application. Even if they don’t generate much value, there are many mobile applications and they are personalized so they don’t really target the masses in the same way. This approach to application development and design is actually closer to the way applications were developed in the past than the integrated, higher volume solutions used in the enterprise (e.g., ERP and the various mobile enterprise approaches).

 

There has been quite a bit of discussion about systems of record and systems of engagement on this blog and many others, but with more intelligent software and automation techniques, a whole new range of “systems of action” are developing for the enterprise -- with the goal of taking latency out of the enterprise response and focusing people on where their skills are really needed. Do you see this shift too? How do you see the market or development efforts responding??

Comments
Parminder | ‎05-04-2014 12:59 PM

This is a great article, as IOT becomes a norm in the future.... I also feel focus will shift to System of Actions which are prioritise on end user KPI....

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