At the heart of any Technology Business is its applications portfolio. A thriving heartbeat of the organization – part of the business, responsive to every demand. These applications mirror the new business dynamics, built and continuously changed at high speed, to a high quality, and in whatever incarnation necessary. Yet, changes are afoot, dear Watson. Many applications no longer look like the ones we used to know, as they morph into a connected mesh of microservices. And where is that old-fashioned user interface again? With agility and minimum viable products no longer the “new normal,” but the “well and truly established,” the quality of application services needs to be at enterprise level – with the trust balance of the organization secured by design, and a continuous, flawless deployment throughout all business operations.

The applications portfolio of a Technology Business is lightweight, free of corporate boundaries, easy to connect to, and built on cloud-native and microservice-based capabilities – all the while adapting to ever-changing needs. But achieving such a contemporary portfolio is far from easy, and several aspects need to be considered. Simplifying, rationalizing, and ultimately decommissioning inflexible, aging applications is a daunting task that no IT expert learns in school. Yet, it is key to levelling the playing field for the next generation of application services, and as latest Digital Mastery research shows, 64% of organizations are well on their way to migrating their legacy applications to cloud-based replacements. When new application services are built, they must be done in an agile, continuously deliverable way – where business and IT people are in integrated teams,

perfectly in sync with the actual operations. Exactly what we’d expect from a Technology Business. And, to add even more decisiveness and transparency to the mix, adopting open source principles within the organization can be a phenomenal culture-building tool too. Having said that, why build at all if you don’t have to? Building applications is a challenging, complex undertaking – and the scarcity of skilled experts doesn’t help. Low-code tools provide high productivity and enable more people to develop the apps, increasingly on the business side of the wonderwall. Even more so, reusing and buying off-the-shelf apps is preferable to custom-built: it saves time, money, resources, and – yes – even energy.

The resulting assortment of application services should be a finely tuned portfolio; highly accessible and easy

to connect to other services, both inside and out of the organization. Then there’s the emerging concepts of the applications service mesh as an enabler to similar models in the business, where it’s only a matter making secure and easy connections – in countless ways and in rapidly changing constellations. Still, have more ambitions: look to upcycle and augment applications by adding touches of “smart” through increasingly powerful AI services to significantly prolong the life of application services, eradicating the need to rebuild or replace them. Your very own Philosopher’s Stone for your applications portfolio, there to serve you – if you use it for good. They’re eagerly waiting to be uncaged. Unleash your applications!

Gunnar Menzel Expert in Residence

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