After all these years of saying "Applications too!" when talking about Notes & Domino, this is the time to focus on apps!

February 18 2011

Earlier this week, I presented on the top of Application Modernization with David Via of IBM. One of the first slides that I presented was the following

Image:After all these years of saying "Applications too!" when talking about Notes & Domino, this is the time to focus on apps!



This slide has generated a few comments and discussion, so I wanted to expand my thoughts on what the slide says. I truly believe that we are at a crossroads around applications. Take any specific vendor out of the conversation for a moment, but we are seeing a coverage of a number of issues.

First, email is becoming as much a commodity as productivity software. Two years ago, we heard IBM introduce Lotus Symphony for free because productivity software was not only expected software, but feature saturation had hit and it was time to remove the financial burden of maintaining the licenses. At the same time, we saw Google push hard with Goolge Docs. OpenOffice.org has mad a real dent in Europe, Africa, South America, and Asia in various forms. We have also watched many users abandon the preferred IT platform to use their preferred productivity software on whatever platform they are on - take in point the heavy use of Keynote on Macintosh's by technologists. Email has now entered that space. Between the cloud and other solutions, I am hearing more and more organizations talk about email being 'something we need, but something we pay for like it's a telephone, not a luxury.'

Second, we are seeing one the largest platform shifts ever. With smart phones common for professionals and tablets growing leaps and bounds, the majority of business applications need to be retooled or rebuilt. End users want a mobile experience - and they need access to the data that get's their job done wherever they are. Take out the platforms again; iOs, Android, Blackberry, Nokia, Windows Mobile, etc. Forget the decision point of native vs web application. This update/retrofit/redesign has to happen everywhere.

And third, end users are finding ways to get their job done - and work together - at the expense of their corporate IT teams. I will talk more about that in another post, but end users are comfortable finding a solution that meets their needs and put it on their own credit card to bypass out of date applications.

As a community that builds collaborative applications that added new levels of workflow, security, and off-line use - this is our time! Forget the technology behind the new applications - we are the perfect architects, developers, and administrators for this application overhaul! We know the business behind these applications better than anyone. We understand how teams need to work on documents and getting things thru approvals. We understand building solutions that have to work off-line/disconnected yet play nice when all the data ends up on the back-end. We know building applications with multiple end points.

Forget about the choice of XPages vs. SharePoint or iOS vs Android for a moment. With the past two years of tight IT budgets and heavy investment in cost cutting solutions, organizations must focus on applications going forward. 2011 and 2012 is the time of the Application.

So I know some of this sounds like I am trying to blow smoke or the sales role has overtaken me, but I honestly believe and see this everywhere I go. No matter the theme: Social, Cloud, Collaboration - applications are the key to growth. For every time I have heard folks in our community beat up IBM for focusing too hard on email and not enough on applications - it's time for all of us to walk the walk.