The mobile application revolution has been a powerful catalyst that’s helped propel enterprises into cloud development. When enterprises began creating mobile apps to keep up with the competition, cloud provided a compelling way to scale up, meet dynamic demand and “pay as you go.”
The IBM Center for Applied Insights (@IBMCAI) recently completed a global study on mobile application development, aimed at uncovering some of the key traits of successful mobile development projects. To be considered successful, these projects needed to meet their deadlines, stay within budget and meet or surpass their primary business objectives. One of our notable findings is that taking a platform approach — particularly using platforms that provide cloud services and APIs — is one key ingredient that goes into making a mobile project successful. Indeed, cloud can dramatically accelerate the application development lifecycle. There’s no waiting for hardware and no complex configuration. Developers can choose needed services from the cloud and dive right into development.
Given cloud’s accelerating properties, perhaps it’s not a great surprise that two-thirds of successful mobile projects report using cloud APIs to assemble applications, and more than half use cloud application development services. Successful mobile projects are 35 percent more likely to use cloud-based platforms to develop the mobile application. Cloud platforms also offer flexibility: Developers on successful projects are 33 percent less likely than others to feel “locked into” a particular platform or technology — an important benefit, given the breakneck pace of change in mobile technology.
Besides taking advantage of the speed and flexibility afforded by cloud technologies, there’s the issue of how a team develops. Three-quarters of successful mobile projects use agile software methods, developing in an iterative and incremental way, with high collaboration and continuous planning, testing and integration. Agile development has been called “the world’s most popular innovation engine.”
What about hybrid cloud? The popularity and benefits of cloud don’t mean that enterprises are discarding their traditional IT systems altogether. Organizations are increasingly integrating clouds with their legacy IT, and sometimes clouds with other clouds. Mounting evidence points to a blended future for IT: IDC predicts that over 80 percent of enterprise IT organizations will commit to hybrid cloud architectures by 2017.
The new IBM Center for Applied Insights study “Growing up hybrid: Accelerating digital transformation” showcases findings from a global study of 500 organizations that are integrating cloud resources with existing IT infrastructure. Even with the use of both private and public cloud increasing, these implementers are strong believers in a hybrid future, with 70 percent saying they’ll always have a blend of traditional IT and cloud.
The study focused on a group of hybrid leaders – “Frontrunner” organizations that are gaining competitive advantage through hybrid cloud and are managing their environment in an integrated, comprehensive fashion for high visibility and control. These hybrid leaders are outpacing other organizations in the benefits they realize from their hybrid environments, from foundational benefits like cost reduction and productivity gains, to hybrid as a driver of business growth and digital change.
Frontrunners are very deliberate and strategic about their hybrid environments:
- 9 in 10 Frontrunners report that hybrid cloud is crucial to their business strategy.
- Nearly 6 in 10 Frontrunners have an enterprise-wide strategy for hybrid.
- 83 percent of Frontrunners believe hybrid is essential to their mobile initiatives.
Indeed, hybrid cloud is well suited to mobile: Mobile applications (“systems of engagement”) can run in the cloud and connect to legacy databases (“systems of record”) holding sensitive data, which continue to run on an organization’s traditional infrastructure. In fact, hybrid may be able to help alleviate security concerns: Nearly 8 in 10 hybrid Frontrunners reported that hybrid cloud improves security and reduces risk, and 6 in 10 say that hybrid cloud helps them improve data protection. Hybrid infrastructures can offer the best of both worlds.
As we look to the future, we already see the Frontrunners on the leading edge of using hybrid cloud to innovate in next-generation spaces like cognitive computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) – which some are terming a “world of mobile everything.” In fact, 36 percent of Frontrunners reported they’re already using hybrid cloud to enable IoT initiatives, and another 43 percent plan to use hybrid cloud for IoT in the next three to five years.
Read more on mobile application development
and hybrid cloud on the IBMCAI blog