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Application Transformation Defined

Mobile integration with context-based collaboration

Application Transformation, as an industry term, is all very well and good; but it begs the inquisitive reader to question its deeper meaning and gain a little extra perspective. After all, most of us would naturally expect all applications to undergo a certain amount of "transformation" over the passage of time - and yes I am even including legacy apps in that statement.

Transform to Mobile
The reality we face in terms of application transformation today is our journey to mobile. Mobile-based enterprise applications are the new norm and secure migration to mobile platforms is (or at least should be) close to the top of every CIO's to-do list.

At the risk of straying into industry marketing terminology, much of the rationale for this application transformation journey is found in the desire to engender greater employee productivity and "enhance the user engagement experience" - between users and applications and also between the users and the enterprise.

CIOs see this holy grail (if it is executed effectively) as an opportunity to capitalize on existing IT investments and also optimize the usage environment in each application.

How Do We Make This Transformation Happen?
The execution details here look remarkably similar to the procedural steps we might have to take when designing and deploying any application from scratch. It's a question of gathering requirements from users and then ensuring we follow a conscientious path of debugging, testing and subsequent integration into the wider enterprise technology stack.

Hang on, I thought we mentioned context-based collaboration in the title to this piece? Ah yes sorry, you are quite right. We also need tools to build new (mobile empowered of course) socially collaborative work environments where so-called "real-time context-based" conversations can take place.

This is not as "lightweight" a requirement as it might sound. The top ten big IT vendors (you can easily make up your own list of the usual suspects if you start with HP & IBM, etc., and work your way out) are all aligning to provide these tools at the business level, and also at the technology level so that programmers can benefit from socially collaborative engagement with each other (and users too!) as they build the next generation of applications that we need.

Assess, Modernize and Manage
HP for its part summarizes the three core elements of application transformation as the need to Assess, Modernize and Manage. According to the company, "Mobility and cloud computing place new demands on legacy applications and their integration; this means that applications must be transformed to new architectures and technologies that better meet the needs of today's enterprise.

The question is no longer whether to transform aging applications and infrastructure, but how to also develop new applications and integrate them into the overall environment."

Creative Intellect Consulting's Bola Rotibi, Paul Herzlich and Ian Murphy write in a recent piece entitled "Application transformation the HP way" that the company is heralding an enterprise approach to finally accepting mobile devices as part of the core development platforms. "By bringing together significant testing tools and adding those to secure delivery and management solutions, HP is advancing the case for the mobile device in the enterprise. Better still, the range of professional services on offer will help uplift the complexity of understanding the development and testing of mobile devices away from customers."

This subject is a close first cousin with the practice of both Application Lifecycle Intelligence (ALI) and Application Lifecycle Management (ALM), so it should be no surprise to see ALI and ALM layers overseeing the transformation of applications in this context.

"The direction HP has taken with its portfolio is obvious when one considers the impacting factors. These range from widespread mobile device usage; the uptake of tablet devices like the iPad within the workplace; the influence of consumerization on user expectations; the success and prevalence of social media and applications and the desire by many organizations to replicate their value and employ their tactics," write Rotibi, Herzlich and Murphy.

Can we really distill application transformation down to a straight definition of mobile integration processes with context-based collaborative tools? The answer is no, not really - but it's a step in the right direction and it's a start.

•   •   •

This post was first published on the Enterprise CIO Forum.

More Stories By Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

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