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Building the business with web application development: Jerry Rulli, Progress

Zafirah Salim | June 10, 2015
In this Q&A interview, Jerry Rulli, President of OpenEdge Business Unit at Progress, talks about his insights on the web application development market in the region, including its security issues and future trends; as well as how it can actually help businesses to foster growth.

Do you think enterprises have fully embraced the idea of application development, or do you think there is still an issue of "mobile app gap"?

I think that in the past 12 months or so, they have been mostly addressing the mobile app gap. But in the past few months, we have started to have conversations with our customers that show a different level of thinking. They are starting to realise that mobile app development is not just about taking their current screens and making them available on a mobile device. 

They are now seeing the ability to provide access and applications that were never possible in the traditional desktop world and so they are exploring the opportunity to develop new types of applications; and these applications are able to bring the users in their companies to new levels of ability because they can now do things that were not possible before.

What kind of trends do you see happening over the next few years when it comes to the enterprise app development sector?

We see the following happening within organisations:

  • Expanding application development to the Line of Business or Domain experts in the company

Traditional organisations still look for the CIOs and CTOs to provide technology leadership. Forward-looking organisations want to engage the acumen of all their business users to increase their technology leverage.

Many organisations are at the point where they need IT and developer resources to focus on higher value work and at the same time, enable their users. This means moving away from the IT ticketing concept, where a work request is opened followed by a long wait.

In 2013, Gartner predicted that 25% of new business apps will be built by "citizen developers". For example, think about the number of apps being built by non-IT types that are out there already - from Microsoft Excel, Access and others to apps built around business intelligence (BI) and analytics tools, or built with Sharepoint, wikis or a high-level 4GL tool.

If organisations don't have a comprehensive strategy in place, they can end up with a "shadow IT" problem such that they will eventually be stuck holding the bag. Instead of jumping straight to the "citizen developer" approach, organisations should look to leverage cloud technologies and transition there via the development organization, taking a measured, step-by-step approach to growing their developer pool.

  • Leveraging an "API First" approach to development

With the growth of mobile, an "API First" approach can be used to support an organisation's mobile efforts, providing consistency and reuse of back-end business logic that can be used across an organisation's mobile and web apps.


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