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If you’re in enterprise IT management, this may sound like old news: in most companies, line of business (LOB) executives now have the power of the purse strings over IT budgets. It’s one of the biggest shifts in enterprise application development and deployment.

The shift toward LOB decision-makers taking control of enterprise applications has been gradual, but almost inevitable. It started as soon as desktop PCs allowed individual departments (or individual users) to purchase and install their own applications, and it has only increased as BYOD policies allowed tablets and smart phones to take over many of the functions formerly performed solely on company-controlled desktops.

It’s obvious to everyone involved in enterprise application development or enterprise application management that cloud consolidation and virtualization have had a huge impact on how enterprise applications are developed, deployed, and supported. One of the biggest changes, though, isn’t happening in the applications themselves – it’s taking place in the way traditional IT roles are blurring and changing. Nearly 80% of IT departments now use IT staffing firms to provide specialized enterprise application development talent, and nearly half of all IT departments have used an off-site software development center.

It’s not just enterprise applications that are being redefined – it’s the expectations of employees, customers, partners, and vendors that are changing as the influence of consumer technology takes over.

In the area of enterprise application management, traditional enterprise applications are being redefined as cloud services, for a more modular and granular way to deploy and configure business processes.

 

The Rise of the Corporate Consumer

Over the past five years, as enterprise IT departments and vendors have struggled with budget and staff cuts, developers in the highly competitive consumer market have used new development tools and platforms to create mobile apps that changed the definition of “ease of use” and “easy to learn”. As that happened, they changed the focus of UX (user interface) forever. It’s not about enterprise users or consumers any more – it’s simply about people.

Smart developers now talk about corporate consumers, not end users. Employees now expect that business applications will have the same high level of functionality and ease of use as the apps they can download from any app store. LOB managers are demanding that new business applications deliver real business benefits, plus reduced training costs and improved productivity.

It’s been proven time and again is that employees will struggle to adapt to new tools – or circumvent processes and security measures – if enterprise applications don’t offer a high level of usability. It’s not enough to look good, or offer enterprise application management features in the dashboard that IT uses. Today’s new apps have to be intuitive, powerful, and work the way users expect them to work from the moment they open the new application.

Catering to the user’s needs and wants means:

  • Thinking “light and fast” – give users tools that let them complete a business process in a single app rather than a monolithic application that tries to do too much.
  • Remembering that mobile users have a shorter attention span than desktop users – give users access to data quickly, no matter where it resides. This means building backend systems that do all the heavy lifting, so the application delivers only the relevant information.
  • Avoiding the trap of focusing only on digital natives – an increasing part of the workforce consists of “digital natives”, those under 30 who don’t remember a time when they weren’t constantly connected to the online world. But not everyone in any organization can master new mobile apps at a glance. So make sure that your entire workforce can understand the apps you develop, and plan for some training even on apps that seem “foolproof”.

Rock star enterprise application developers are always in demand. At InfoVision, we’ve built a global team that knows how to build on the experiences of the consumer marketplace to provide better tools that improve the way companies do business. If you’re looking for help streamlining your processes and creating a happy and productive mobile and enterprise workforce, let us show you how we’ve helped hundreds of clients do just that!

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