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Expert Sees Rise Of Personal Cloud Services This Year

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Personal cloud services are taking off, says Progress Software’s John Goodson

During this year IT organisations can expect to see a rise in simple and intuitive personal cloud services and fit-for-purpose applications at the expense of more full-featured and complex apps, according to an executive at Progress Software.

John Goodson, senior vice president of the product development group at Progress, which produces software that simplifies and enables the development and deployment of business applications, made this prediction and others on the application development front recently. He said he expects 2013 to bring a rise in the creation of personalised services and challenges for large–scale integration companies.

‘Keep it simple’

Goodson said developers need to “keep it simple”, arguing that “if it is fully featured and complex it isn’t ripe for adoption”.

Goodson says there is a reason consumer cloud adoption is happening at such a rapid pace – specialisation and ease-of-use. Look for the enterprise to pick up on this trend next year as their traditional mid- and back-office applications are up for “renewal,” he said.

4G, Mobile, Smartphone © Digital Storm Shutterstock 2012Enterprises will look for more purpose-built single-function applications rather than the more complex, rigid offerings of yesteryear, he added.

Applications are getting smaller, more targeted and there are many more of them being used across multiple devices,” Goodson told eWEEK. “If the typical office worker used about five applications a day to get their job done before, now they’re using as many as 50 for various, individual functions. Evernote is a good example. It’s a simple, single-purpose application that just takes notes, and it does it really well. Dropbox is another great example. It does a great job of storing/sharing files, but that’s it. End-users no longer have the appetite for applications that are multi-functional. They are willing to access more, if it allows them to be more efficient and productive. Plus, they are accessing them via mobile devices in addition to the traditional desktop applications.”

Meanwhile, Goodson predicts that large scale integration will suffer, as one unexpected casualty of the increased adoption rate of cloud services is that large-scale integration companies will no longer be able to keep up with the vast amounts of information that IT teams need to integrate.

Look instead for targeted, purpose-built integration services to become the order of the day, he said.

Personal cloud

Regarding personal cloud services, Goodson predicts that enterprises will begin tailoring applications to the needs of individual end-users to maximise productivity. 2013 is the year that personalised services targeted at enterprise users become the rule, not the exception, he said.

“The demand for purpose-built applications is being driven by how end-users are consuming applications in their personal lives,” Goodson said. “They are using single-function applications like Box.net for storage or Spotify for music and they will increasingly demand these types of easy-to-use, easy-to-access applications in the workplace as well. Take Tableau, for example. It’s not like the BI suites of the past that pack several features and functionalities into one application. It is good for visualization and its success is due in a large part to its ability to get certain pieces of information into the hands of enterprise users quickly and easily. We expect that enterprises will look to adapt critical business applications in this way in the coming year.”

The industry is entering an “app economy” and applications of 2013 will demand a new way of thinking, Goodson said.

The long development cycles of the past will disappear and will be replaced by approaches that build, test, integrate and deploy, continuously. In the cloud, development will change considerably as deployment becomes the key and, with each new requirement, developers will need to be prepared to deliver simple and intuitive APIs as quickly as possible.

“We have a number of new cloud offerings coming in 2013 that will help enterprises get more personal in application development, deployment and management,” Goodson said. “For instance, our new DataDirect Cloud solution is a purpose-built, cloud-based product focused on connectivity. It makes it easy to access all the data being stored across services, SaaS applications and social networks and bring that information back into the enterprise’s tool of choice.”

Security concerns

In this new world security remains a paramount concern. Goodson said he expects that next generation application development will focus on resiliency, security and reliability, from the ground up. It will no longer be acceptable to consider security as an after-thought and developers will need to build security features into applications from the start.

Users will naturally gravitate towards the concept of “My Cloud”, a safe and secure environment that caters for the specific requirements of their industry ecosystem.

“In 2012, we saw a surge in interest around mobile application development and cloud offerings as businesses worked to determine what, when and how to make investments,” Goodson said in a statement. “2013 will continue down the same path. With enterprises now educated on what they need, they will look to IT organisations to deploy. As such, IT will be pushed to the limits in developing applications that are scalable across devices, are easy to use by a global business audience and, most importantly, that can be deployed quickly and with precise ROI.”

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Originally published on eWeek.