Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Paul Simmons, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White

Blog Feed Post

Digital Transformation's Impact on Enterprise Mobility and App Design Strategies

Peter Rogers
My friend and colleague, the Chief Technologist of Studio 13 at Cognizant, Peter Rogers, shares his insights on digital transformation and mobile strategies in this guest post.  He digs deep into the technologies involved in a digital transformation and the role of mobility?  This article is a real geekfest so be prepared to think and learn!

There is something strange in the air...like that feeling before a storm. You can feel the electric charge in the atmosphere and that anticipation of the mother of all storms, but, nothing comes. Instead there is just a prolonged feeling of anticipation of something coming down the line that will change everything. This is how it feels with "digital transformation" in the vast majority of companies across Europe today.

The first problem is what exactly is "digital."  For all intents and purposes a company has to define their own meaning for "digital." Most of the definitions I have found seem to hinge around the core concepts of Multi-Channel or even Omni-Channel support for emerging business and technology interfaces. This definition seems to go in a few different directions which may sound familiar:

  • Responsive Web Design being used to hit every channel possible
  • Mobile-First approach being used to target the mobile device demographic first
  • Something called 'Beyond-Mobile-First', which seems to end up in a debate about Internet of Things and touching on Google Glass

Let's now take a look at a few of the trends in mobility today and how they relate to digital transformation.  There are strong movements in mobility towards the concepts of backbone and angular due to the fact they are HTML5 frameworks that offer built in governance. Certainly there is a growing realization that the "30 second App" market is dead and we should instead be focusing on what happens 6 months down the line. Life cycle management is the new "30 second App" and that means frameworks need to support built in governance.

Architecturally speaking, best practices are an API driven approach with a 4-tier architecture supporting data transformation and high end scalability. Whilst many people are looking at accelerators for both the client tier and the service tier (cross platform code, design time APIs, App Factories, templates, Cloud Build farms, intelligent next generation scripting languages and Cloud cross-compilation), we often forget about the data itself.

Angular teaches us not only about Test Driven Development but also of the importance of Data Driven Development which means a data model is agreed upfront and then a globalized development team can work independently against the same data contract. Just as important is the data transformation tier, as championed by companies like MoovWeb with their Responsive Delivery solution powered by Tritium.

End-to-end holistic JavaScript solutions are certainly starting to become commonplace, with embedded JavaScript offering the same stack for implicit wearable devices. An often forgotten factor is mobile data virtualization as championed by companies like KidoZen. Particularly relevant in business verticals with many duplicate and disparate backend systems is the ability to virtualize and abstract data sources along with integrate into complex legacy Enterprise backends using transformational logic on complex system responses. WOW!  What a mouthful!

I often talk about Mobile Backend as a Service as a Cloud technology but I realized I have been underselling it from a business potential. Digital Transformation will need to be enacted through an actualization of Omni-Channel that strongly takes into account the socialization and connectedness of people, powered by a duology of API Gateways and Mobile Backend as a Service.

I have identified three key factors in a digital practice:

  1. Firstly the biggest challenge is the organizational, political and human effects of a digital transformation. 
  2. Secondly, you have to find the right experts in the field (Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud, Business Process Management, Technology, Strategy, Data Transformation) and elevate your current thought process up. The easy solution is of course just to downscale your thoughts and pick anti-expert generalists who view everything on a lower level of cognitive reasoning. I can see lots of organizations sadly settling for this approach and getting average results. 
  3. Thirdly you need to define the channels that you are actually targeting and the love you wish to give them.

Does this sound like your definition of a Digital Transformation and Mobile Strategy, "Multi-channel powered by Responsive Web Design (RWD) or Responsive Design with Server Side Components (RESS) for all the different channel end points. This is achieved by pushing a common presentational layer to all the clients and then allowing the client to adapt it using media queries. RESS allows for a mixture of adaptive and responsive behavior by adding in device families and adaptive knowledge which is shared between the client and the server." If this is your definition, then there is more work to do. Here are some reasons.

Mobile-First made people optimize for the mobile end point first, which had the tangible benefit that the other endpoints are all optimized as a result. However, with the advent of the Internet of Things people are already thinking about "next channels."

The Internet of Things is about the ambient quantification and associated predictive analytics applied to the Big Data models that will couple Artificial Intelligence systems to subsequently guide your life choices. If you think that sounds like mumbo jumbo then just wait till your watch warns you of your blood sugar level.

Beyond-Mobile-First and Omni-Channel means we need to think about all of our channel endpoints and give them all the optimal experience. This pretty much necessitates a client-side rendering approach with (adaptive) Responsive Delivery Cloud Transformation solutions as a fallback for dumb clients (no offense intended). I certainly see cross-compiled JavaScript and JSON as a viable Omni-channel solution and most IoT hardware vendors actually have chipsets that can run embedded JavaScript now.

Future channels include: automobiles; implicit wearable devices; explicit wearable devices; virtual reality devices; TVs; game consoles; eReaders; low end tablets; advertising boards; and even clothing. I actually had a programmable T-Shirt from CyberPunk 15 years ago - you could program different sequences which looked amazing in nightclubs (at least to me).

You need to choose the channel end points which are of interest to you and not all will be initially successful which is why you need to employ the guidance of technology strategists. Explicit wearable devices like Google Glass are financially prohibitive and the implicit wearable device market is fragmented without a clear leader. The automotive market for apps is not in a good shape due to the financial cost of getting an application released due to security sign-offs. Smart TVs seem to offer a bad form of widgets which you cannot interact with very well and the Angry Birds TV App looks quite prohibitive to one's health.

The future architecture looks to be client controlled rendering with JavaScript based frameworks (Angular, Embedded JavaScript, Cross-Compilation through Hyperloop) that pull the JSON data models they need through a combination of Mobile Backend as a Service and API Gateways. The allows a down-scaling of the traditionally heavy Java EE middle tier and a movement away from the expensive and monolithic server frameworks of yesteryear. Node scales far better than anything other than Scala/Lift and that is just the way the market is going.  We also have to consider the real wow factor of iOS 8 was transient channels which can maintain state between different user channel interactions. We will also see a shift from Customer Relationship Management software to Customer Experience Management software and Digital Enterprise Platforms, of which Adobe is leading the way in terms of mindshare.

I therefore propose the following definition of an effective digital strategy:

"Transient Omni-channel with dedicated channels for most of the following: desktop; mobile; tablets; eReaders; wearables; TVs; automobiles; and PoS. The correct channels are chosen by a business consultant who can accurately map your business model with appropriate technology predication. Builds on top of Cloud-First, Mobile-First, but adds in optimized end-point specific rendering for new channels like small screen wearables. This is achieved by the client pulling data through APIs to offer the very best experience; as opposed to the server pushing non-optimized presentational layers. Powered by a 4-tier architecture that utilizes API Gateways, Mobile Backend as a Service, data transformation and data virtualization. Customer Experience Management works in tandem with Customer Relationship Management to deliver Digital Enterprise Platforms. A focus on connected people and the new business models associated with that brave new world. The experience of the people is key and the way you connect to them and gauge their reactions should shape your business if you are to be successful"

~Peter Rogers, Chief Technologist, Studio 13, Cognizant

************************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Editor
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies
Recommended Strategy Book Code Halos
Recommended iPad App Code Halos for iPads

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Kevin Benedict

Kevin Benedict serves as the Senior Vice President, Solutions Strategy, at Regalix, a Silicon Valley based company, focused on bringing the best strategies, digital technologies, processes and people together to deliver improved customer experiences, journeys and success through the combination of intelligent solutions, analytics, automation and services. He is a popular writer, speaker and futurist, and in the past 8 years he has taught workshops for large enterprises and government agencies in 18 different countries. He has over 32 years of experience working with strategic enterprise IT solutions and business processes, and he is also a veteran executive working with both solution and services companies. He has written dozens of technology and strategy reports, over a thousand articles, interviewed hundreds of technology experts, and produced videos on the future of digital technologies and their impact on industries.

@ThingsExpo Stories
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICC-USA, a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of ...
Michael Maximilien, better known as max or Dr. Max, is a computer scientist with IBM. At IBM Research Triangle Park, he was a principal engineer for the worldwide industry point-of-sale standard: JavaPOS. At IBM Research, some highlights include pioneering research on semantic Web services, mashups, and cloud computing, and platform-as-a-service. He joined the IBM Cloud Labs in 2014 and works closely with Pivotal Inc., to help make the Cloud Found the best PaaS.
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...
Founded in 2000, Chetu Inc. is a global provider of customized software development solutions and IT staff augmentation services for software technology providers. By providing clients with unparalleled niche technology expertise and industry experience, Chetu has become the premiere long-term, back-end software development partner for start-ups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies. Chetu is headquartered in Plantation, Florida, with thirteen offices throughout the U.S. and abroad.
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
From 2013, NTT Communications has been providing cPaaS service, SkyWay. Its customer’s expectations for leveraging WebRTC technology are not only typical real-time communication use cases such as Web conference, remote education, but also IoT use cases such as remote camera monitoring, smart-glass, and robotic. Because of this, NTT Communications has numerous IoT business use-cases that its customers are developing on top of PaaS. WebRTC will lead IoT businesses to be more innovative and address...
Rodrigo Coutinho is part of OutSystems' founders' team and currently the Head of Product Design. He provides a cross-functional role where he supports Product Management in defining the positioning and direction of the Agile Platform, while at the same time promoting model-based development and new techniques to deliver applications in the cloud.
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to maximize project result...
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abilit...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Robert Cohen, an economist and senior fellow at the Economic Strategy Institute, presented the findings of a series of six detailed case studies of how large corporations are implementing IoT. The session explored how IoT has improved their economic performance, had major impacts on business models and resulted in impressive ROIs. The companies covered span manufacturing and services firms. He also explored servicification, how manufacturing firms shift from se...
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.