Fast, Faster, Fastest: Getting to Systems of Innovation

Fast, Faster, Fastest: Getting to Systems of Innovation

Posted on June 18, 2014 0 Comments

Systems of Record word cloud

Systems of Record have powerful attributes--and downsides.

When I’m on the road either talking with customers or fellow Progress employees the question often arises, “What does contemporary application development look like, and how are enterprises managing change?” Today I’d like to address both of these topics.

Modern enterprises have IT systems and applications which mirror the core capabilities of the enterprise—business processes and data. Let’s call these Systems of Record. Typical Systems of Record are IBM CICS, SAP R/3 and MFG/Pro.

Systems of Record have a number of very powerful attributes:

  • Bullet-proof
  • Tried and tested
  • Highly resilient

They also have some downsides:

  • Big, complex and monolithic
  • Often rigid and brittle
  • And most importantly, they‘re difficult to evolve

Systems of Record aren’t going away anytime soon, so how can we leverage their value and integrate them with newer, more agile approaches to application development? Well, we can expose those business processes and data by wrapping the access to the capabilities as a “business entity” and enabling read/write access to those entities via industry-standard protocols and formats—typically REST/JSON. This “API-centric” approach ensures that maximum value can be derived from Systems of Record and it provides the underpinnings for developing Systems of Differentiation and ultimately Systems of Innovation.

In an increasingly competitive business environment, differentiation is key to improving both top and bottom line results. IT plays a major role here. A swift and timely response to a changing business climate places new demands on application development and deployment.

No longer can updates to applications be delivered on a yearly basis—the new norm is to push new versions on a monthly schedule. This degree of agility demands an application development platform which is typically model-driven in nature and cloud-based, like a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). Developers are no longer only “professionals” with deep training in traditional programming languages such as Java and C++. A productivity PaaS such as Progress® Pacific™, with its core application development tool Progress Rollbase®, is cloud-based and guides developers through a model-driven process to quickly and safely build business applications that are always ready to “hot deploy.”

Business applications are increasingly data-driven with requirements to persist not only application specific data, but to also quickly and easily connect to data sources both in the cloud and on-premise. The tight integration of Progress® DataDirect Cloud™ and Progress® Rollbase® means that new data sources can be snapped in to applications easily without the need for programming.

What about enterprises that are looking to build innovative new solutions by recombining services and capabilities from existing Systems of Differentiation? Mobile is a great example of leveraging existing differentiated systems to build new markets and provide new and innovative products and services.

Progress Rollbase includes full-featured mobile app development and deployment capability. Mobile-oriented Systems of Innovation are often on a weekly schedule once they have traction. If they don’t bite, the incremental cost of deployment was typically marginal, so one can learn and move on.

Speed and agility in application development and deployment will be key characteristics for best-in-class enterprises in the future. Progress Pacific is helping customers around the world leverage their existing IT capabilities and build compelling web and mobile applications to get ahead and stay ahead in their respective markets. I’ve tried to capture the continuum of systems development in this presentation on SlideShare. Take a look and let us know your thoughts!

Gary Calcott

Gary is responsible for developing go-to-market strategies, providing technical marketing support and developing best practice materials for the Rollbase aPaaS platform.


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