Application Services provides a platform for IT Development and Maintenance professionals to discuss and gain insights into best practices, process innovations and emerging technologies that will shape the future of this profession.

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October 29, 2012

The Best is Yet to Come - Revolutionizing Application Services

Applications - The pride of every IT department and the lifeline of every enterprise. Over the last three decades, applications have evolved tremendously. They have transformed themselves from batch to online to on-demand. The hosting platforms have changed from mainframe to client server to web and now, cloud....

To this, I am asked very often: "Cloud, mobile and social are going to be the game changers but what is the future of the trustworthy, robust applications which cater to my day-to-day operations? Will they all become obsolete?
The answer for this lies in the ongoing transition, especially with the influence of Consumer Applications. Few organizations have realized this and have been quick in adopting innovations to transform their entire model of traditional Application Services. These are the ones leading the marketplace today. What is common to these players? What has gotten them the lead in the market? Though it is in no way comprehensive, I feel that these leaders have looked at 4 specific areas to transform their traditional Application Services Arena

• Automation ++: The world around is evolving to adopt higher standards of automation. It's no more about automating few steps in the task flow to make it shorter and faster. This is old and really archaic. Automating tasks that get accomplished without any kind of manual intervention, that's the whole new level being looked at today.

• Application Lifecycle Management Platforms: Everyone is aware of the frustration of design/build/test/release tools not talking to each other and the time wasted in managing redundant information. But, today, with concepts like Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration (OSLC), the sharing of data across different tools adopting OSLC standards is becoming seamless. This enhances the possibilities of automation across the entire lifecycle. Organizations can now create a platform to help them in rapid provisioning of tools and attain lesser maintenance and licensing costs. Who would not like that, consider the capital amount that gets locked in the entire process of procuring and maintaining licenses today? 

• Agile the "New Normal" in Development: Waterfall was the mantra for delivering applications for the last two decades. Rightly so. It delivered predictability and quality. However, Agile is fast emerging as the "New Normal". As per leading industry sources, Agile usage is on track to become the  mainstay for developing applications worldwide.  By 2015, nearly one-third of all application development will happen with Agile. Organizations will look at combining Development and Operations to amplify the synergy between the App Development and Operation teams.

• New Technologies knocking at Your Door:  Talk about getting a facelift done at a Spa or a Saloon. This is what Rich internet applications (RIA) are doing to the entire Application Services space. Mobile and social media are helping organizations engage with their consumers like never before. 'As-a-service' offerings, enabled by the Cloud, are changing the underlying paradigm of shared services itself.

The traditional portfolio of applications is poised for a whole new facelift, tricks and much more. Are you ready for the next Avataar?

October 10, 2012

Is your apps ecosystem an elephantine challenge?

Created By Suryaprakash K.

Vice President, Head - Retail, CPG, Logistics and Life Sciences (IT Services), Infosys Limited


In the wild, elephants play a critical role - come floods or drought.  When there is excessive rainfall,  elephant-paths create drainage trenches for the gushing waters. During dry summers, these same elephants dig up much-needed waterholes in dry riverbeds. Those leading the technology organization, for global enterprises, often subscribe to this "elephant philosophy"; Even as they maintain a vast and varied portfolio of applications, running seamlessly, they look to create 'trenches' to divert technology support exactly into those areas that business needs it most.On the other hand, when the application environment is fragmented - not unlike a drought situation - they seek to dig-up 'common reservoirs of resources'  to leverage savings....

To read more please visit InfyTalk

Next Generation ADM: The Case for Advisory Services

The buying of Application Development and Maintenance (ADM) Services is an involved process, despite the fact that it is more or less commoditized. Given that delivery excellence on the core execution is pretty much a given today, a sizeable number of organizations are still looking for delivered value beyond just the core offering or promise.... 

This is definitely a natural progression for a mature service offering like ADM, where the focus is increasingly shifting from reactive, run-off-the-mill results to a more enhanced value delivered and preventive oriented mindset.

Given this, I strongly believe that for organizations to achieve an enhanced value state, they will need to invest in two primary areas viz. ensuring internal maturity improvements and establishing the right-fit operating model. Internal maturity improvements try to answer questions like, "What changes do I need to make in my retained organization to make this engagement successful?". The answer to these types of questions could lie in process and tools standardization and deployment (e.g. Agile), all the way to setting up of a Quality assurance function in the retained organization. As for establishing the right-fit operating model, this is not just limited to the present context or needs, but also about how organizations can mature on the outsourcing continuum (from capacity based models all the way up to outcome based models) to better support future business requirements.

Organizations do try to answer needs of this nature by embarking on consulting engagements, either individual or with service providers. However, most of the consulting engagements, aimed at really enhancing the value being extracted from mature services like ADM, tend to be taken up separately, without a clear relationship with the core services. The question organizations need to ask is whether this is best way to address the optimization opportunities across their large scale ADM programs? Well, I think not.

I believe that it is in the best interest of both the organization, as well as service provider, to work on roadmaps and requirements to optimize the process, tools and engagement models well before the start of the actual engagement. This ensures that key stakeholders on both sides are committed to bring in the change in the retained organization and create a roadmap for the same. There are some proof points pointing to such an increasing trend, where consulting or advisory services, especially assessment pieces, are being bundled with large deals. Organizations have started to view such combinations as pivotal points in ensuring greater value for themselves. More organizations will definitely  gravitate towards using consultative or advisory services to layout clearly the roadmap of Next generation Application Services.