Key Takeaways from Gartner's Application Architecture, Development, and Integration Summit

Kelly Manthey


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I recently attended Gartner’s Application Architecture, Development, and Integration Summit (AADI) this week.

The event was targeted to Enterprise Architects, Application teams, Portfolio Managers, and IT Executives. Gartner presented their latest insights on mobile, cloud, analytics, user experience and APIs.  

Here are a few of the key takeaways from my sessions:

The enterprise is still grappling with getting started with and getting organized around a mobile strategy.  Many of the talks I attended centered on how to get started with a mobile strategy. Jason Wong presented some great guidance on how businesses should think about their investments in mobile and internal versus external responsibilities. His research indicates that enterprises are outsourcing user experience research and design and specialty implementation (i.e. native app development).  They keep process re-engineering and API management internal.  There is heavy collaboration with external partners for B2C mobile strategy, programming, testing, and analytics. Businesses should look to prioritize their app investments across -  management moments (board packs, approvals), killer apps (field sales, field service, co-selling), filler apps (holiday booking, expense management), and intense mobile (inspection, data collection) .

A mix of Bimodal processes are key to delivery. Fostering both the operator culture (mode 1) and the innovator culture (mode 2) will ensure getting to market quickly, being agile and adaptive to change, and allowing the right things to scale in a secure way.  For mobile and emerging digital channel development, agile is a must.  To get the most traction with agile, start with small focused projects and show success before embarking on a large scale enterprise agile roll-out.  I heard numerous stories from attendees in the midst of failed or failing agile transformations.  People at all levels need to see it work before embracing it.  Scale it once you can prove the value.

In the era of rising digital business models, adopt a digital humanist mindset. Over-automated process takes the human out of the equation.  Leave some white space.  The Digital Humanist believes that technology exists to help humans achieve their goals.  That means understanding the human well, knowing their pain points, and creating digital businesses that can serve them and adapt to them as needs change.  Agile process, observing behaviors, and adapting are key to winning in the digital business climate we are in.

Nailing a great user experience is hard.  Magnus Revang and Danny Brian had by far one of the most engaging talks of the week.  Their message centered on understanding two sides of the UX equation - the provider’s side and the consumer’s side.  As the provider it can be easy to fixate on the easily observable aspects of an experience - the behaviors you can monitor through app analytics.  But you have to dig deeper and gain empathy for the environmental (external factors), mood (internal factors), and values (intrinsic identity factors) that a consumer brings to interacting with your product. These are not easily measured but necessary attributes to build into your user research strategies and personas.  Keep personas visible as you develop use cases and make user research part of every development iteration.

Internet of Things (IoT) fever has hit both the mobile leaders and laggards.  In many of my conversations with attendees I heard stories about IoT awareness that ran the gamut - enterprises with solid mobile strategies were ready to embark on experimenting with how connected products play into their customer’s journey.  Similarly, there were companies that have already created connected product point solutions with mobile experiences to facilitate monitoring and customization but haven’t yet defined their customer’s holistic journey or have an understanding where mobile and digital can address broader needs.  Regardless of the mobile maturity of an enterprise, antenna's are raised about IoT and the possibilities as well as the impact to the existing enterprise technology stack.

By the end of the week the message was clear - new technologies and new customer expectations will continue to challenge the established processes and ways businesses interact with their consumers, employees, and business partners.  Those that will lead will embrace agile process, autonomous teams, user research and an MVP (minimal viable product) go-to market strategy.  Get ready for the ride, 2016 brings an exciting time to be in tech.

If you attended and want to continue the conversation or just talk about how these trends impact your business let’s connect: or @kmanthey.