Digital transformation means modernizing apps, enabling work anywhere
Digital transformation requires companies to reinvent business processes to support new work styles and leverage the power of new technologies such as mobile and IoT. At the same time, IT leaders must rethink their application development strategies to support a rapidly changing market. The development process has to shift from delivering a sizable code release on an infrequent basis to smaller updates delivered in shorter timeframes, such as weeks. A technology solution for application development must also support the development of cross-platform, transactional applications that work online and offline.
A flexible, continuous delivery model is difficult to achieve with today’s standard IT development tools, which take weeks to set up development and test environments and require significant maintenance. Market leaders are tackling this challenge by developing a modern application factory using new application development platforms. These platforms provide building blocks to create applications, connect these applications to backend systems and modify these applications quickly. The question is: How do you bridge the technology gap between today’s rigid enterprise stack, to what’s needed to support designing modern application experiences?
Cloud Enables Robust Modern App Factories
Cloud computing-based services have emerged as a critical component in delivering these new design experiences. At Lopez Research, we see companies using the cloud in three ways to modernize app development, including:
1) Replacing an application with a SaaS app. This choice doesn’t address the overall challenge of designing a scalable application development environment, but it allows a company to modernize a handful of apps fast. The downside is that it doesn’t allow for any customization of the application and it’s a pay per user model.
2) Do-it-yourself on the cloud. In this approach, a company assembles its own components in the cloud and creates a custom platform. The IT team gains the flexibility to design whatever it likes with better scalability delivered through cloud-enabled on-demand compute and storage. However, the company is still managing all of the hardware, software and DevOps aspects of its applications. The downside is that it’s costly, time-consuming and requires nearly as much management as building a platform on site.
3) Purchase an integrated serverless platform. In this solution, the application development team can purchase a platform that offers a set of standardized, reusable components, such as backend integration, client-side development tools and authentication services. Instead of building and managing every aspect of the design from scratch, such as deploying VMs and patching software, a company purchases a pre-integrated set of platform services.
You can liken options two and three to building an automobile. An automaker can build a state of the art automotive plant where you continually add new hardware and software, and need to maintain the factory. In this case you get precisely what you want, but you have the time and expense of setting up the factory. Additionally, if you need to make modifications to the factory, it’s time-consuming and expensive. Or you can build the car from a kit, assembling the parts to speed up your manufacturing time while gaining options for customization.
Of the three options, the serverless platform provides a lower cost, faster time to market and easier maintenance. Like other cloud services, it provides scalability to support building a large volume of apps and rapid scaling to support spikes in usage. It also provides access to new features with dramatically new levels of productivity, and gives you the ability to focus on your app and user experience.
What Should You Look for in a Cloud-Based Serverless Platform?
A leading application experience requires a rich set of analytics to understand application crashes, performance and usage. An application needs access to backend systems to enable transactions. A platform should offer the ability to abstract and connect to information within legacy systems of record and systems of engagement such as ERP, corporate identity and CRM, using reusable services. It also should incorporate data synchronization for offline access. In most cases, your company will have specific requirements around what IaaS cloud provider it wants to use, which means the platform should work on multiple clouds. These are just a few of the critical elements of a modern technology platform.
App development tools are always evolving. A cloud-first development strategy has helped many companies’ digital transformation efforts thrive by enabling a modern app factory with access to new features and minimizing management challenges.
Please join me for my upcoming webinar related to this topic with Progress Software titled Digital Transformation Requires a Modern App Factory.
Image of Samsung Galaxy Note8 from Unpacked event on August 23, 2017 in New York City Source: Maribel Lopez, Lopez Research
After the tumultuous Galaxy Note7 recall, all eyes are on Samsung as it launches its new flagship device the In keeping with previous Note versions, Samsung aims to make a phone that productivity-driven consumers and IT leaders will love. Yet, one has to ask if there is anything left to excite us in the smartphone market after the rapid pace of mobile innovation.
A majority of the differentiation in mobility has moved into software, primarily led by the operating system vendors. However, Samsung’s Note8 announcement shows that it still has a few hardware (and software) tricks up its sleeve (see the full specifications list below). Here are five reasons why people looking for a consumer-friendly phone that’s also a work powerhouse should consider evaluating the Galaxy Note8.
Improved camera. The camera continues to be a key buying feature for any smartphone.Samsung’s Galaxy Note8 sports two 12MP rear cameras with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) on both the wide-angle and
Image of Samsung Galaxy Note 8 camera resolution versus Apple iPhone & taken during the Unpacked event in New York City on August 23, 2017
telephoto lenses. The Note8’s Live Focus feature lets you control the depth of field by allowing you to adjust the bokeh effect in preview mode and even after you take the photo. The Dual cameras and OIS features help the photographer create sharper images. The dual cameras also enable something that Samsung calls Dual Capture mode where both rear cameras take two pictures simultaneously. One of the photos is a close-up image shot from the telephoto lens and one is a wide-angle shot that shows the entire background. Leading smartphone vendors are working on solutions to improve image quality in low light environments. In the case of Samsung, the wide-angle lens has a Dual Pixel sensor with rapid auto-focus to capture sharp and clear shots, even in low-light environments. The Note8 is also equipped with an 8MP Smart AutoFocus front-facing camera. In the camera demonstration, I could see the importance of stabilization and appreciated the ability to have both a wide angle and telephoto shot captured simultaneously. The demonstration of controlling how much background blur you’d like in a photo was also impressive. The quality of the camera will also become increasingly important to business buyers as more companies add image capture and scanning into their business workflows. Personally, I feel the camera advances are one of the most exciting parts of the device.
Bigger screen and the App Pair Feature. The Note8 has a squarer edge than the S8 plus and offers the largest screen on a Note device, with a 6.3-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED Infinity Display. The design of the screen’s edge provides more room for apps that use the S Pen. The App Edge function on previous models was highly customizable, but Samsung has taken this software to the next level in Note8 with a new feature called App Pair. It allows you to create a custom pair of apps placed together in the Edge panel or the home screen. For example, a person could have their calendar and phone dialer paired so both apps could be opened together and placed side-by-side in a multitasking view. Another custom pair could have a YouTube paired with a messaging app. On the productivity front, this makes it easier for consumers to work or play without toggling through various apps. Obviously, a bigger screen and an easy way to have multiple windows open at once are important for making this a productive work device.
S Pen. Yes, I do believe the stylus makes a difference. At one point, the stylus seemed like a throwback to the
A Samsung S Pen image photograph from the Unpacked event in New York City on August 23, 2017
Palm Pilot days of old. Today we have a pen with Microsoft’s Surface, a pencil for Apple’s iPads and the S Pen for Samsung devices. In each iteration of stylus technology, we come one step closer to the feel and responsiveness of a pencil. Samsung’s latest S Pen implementation of a finer tip and improved pressure sensitivity is a major improvement over its previous generations. In a demonstration of the S Pen, Samsung illustrated how easy it is to sketch, use art apps, write down a grocery list and interact with the phone. At first glance, you wouldn’t think a stylus could change how you interact with a phone, but a stylus helps a large phone bridge that gap between a PC and a tablet by opening up different use cases. For example, the S Pen for Business allows a professional to discreetly take notes in Screen off or quickly annotate documents and photos. The screen off memo made a huge leap forward in replacing the notebook by expanding note taking to up to 100 screens of text by simply paging down as you write. The S Pen is a win for use cases such as clipboard replacement applications where employees need to take notes, fill out forms and capture signatures.
Built in security with biometrics, secure folder and Knox. Similar to its other devices, Samsung’s Note8 offers the choice of iris, face recognition and fingerprint scanning security in addition to a passcode. The company offers IT departments additional levels of security with Knox that can be used standalone or in conjunction with another Enterprise Mobile Management software partner. The secure folder, a feature that was on the Note7 and available as an app store download, has reappeared. The software provides a place to securely store and backup your personal data while separating it from your corporate information. Knox Workspace provides a container that allows IT to separate and manage work apps. With mobile security ranking a top IT concern with 75% of the companies Lopez Research surveyed, companies want a hardened version of Android, which is good for Samsung. In the “2017 Lopez Research Enterprise Mobility Benchmark”, over 72% of IT leaders interviewed said Samsung devices are on the short list for approved BYOD smartphones.
Samsung DeX and Note8 create a portal work environment. In March, Samsung announced a hockey puck sized device called the Samsung DeX that allows you to connect your phone to a monitor and use it as a laptop replacement with access to Android apps as well as business apps such as the Microsoft suite. The Note8, when combined with Samsung DEX, can create a work environment where certain apps such as video conferencing can move seamlessly from the phone to a monitor, and back to the phone with Samsung DeX-enabled versions of BlueJeans Network, Zoom, and GoToMeeting mobile apps. Of course, all of this is useless if the device lacks the proper computing power. To meet these performance requirements, the Note8 offers 6GB RAM and a 10-nm processor.
While not new, other features of note include:
Bixby. Initially launched with the S8, Samsung’s voice assistant Bixby will also be a part of the Note8 family. Voice interfaces with natural language processing have resurfaced to help consumers overcome the challenges of discovery and device usage. While Bixby is still in its infancy, it is another way for the consumer to discover and utilize Samsung specific features. I wouldn’t use it as a generic digital assistant, but it’s great for items such as changing settings, using camera features (e.g. take a selfie) and opening apps. In a world of increasing functionality, it makes sense for Samsung to provide a voice interface.
Water resistance. Several Samsung phones, including the Note8, are in up to 5 feet of water for up to 30 minutes.
Expandable storage. The device comes with 64GB of storage, but consumers can purchase an additional MicroSD card to expand memory can reach up to 256GB.
While it may appear that everyone has a smartphone, the battle for upgrades is underway, which spells opportunity. Comscore estimates there will be 50 million U.S. consumers eligible for phone upgrades in the fall. Additionally, many companies are rolling out new BYOD stipends and more mobile application that will provide more reasons for people to purchase new smartphones.
The Samsung Galaxy Note8 is a worthy contender in the smartphone battle given the improvements in the camera, and S Pen. I still maintain it’s very challenging, but not impossible, to get consumers to switch operating systems. Hence, Apple probably isn’t quaking in its boots, but Samsung’s recent improvements do raise the stakes for Apple’s next smartphone release. With the Note8, Samsung could win significant Android market share, giving the Google Pixel and others, a run for the money.
Maribel is the founder of Lopez Research, a market and strategic advisory firm. She’s the author of the Wiley book “Right-time Experiences” and founder of the – profit organization Data For Betterment Twitter:@MaribelLopez
This article was originally posted on Forbes.com.
Don’t miss a post, subscribe to my newsletter here.