Last week we invited John Rymer, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, to present an executive webinar: Rewriting the App Delivery Playbook for the Age of the Customer. John outlines how CIOs and their teams can meet surging application demands, better serve both customers and business partners, and strategically propel the business forward by [in his words] fighting fire with fire. As markets become more and more empowered by new tech, it’s up to us to serve them (or in many cases, enable them to serve themselves) in the most efficient and intuitive way possible. This event was the latest edition in a series of executive webinars aimed at helping IT executive hone their application delivery strategy.
Welcome to the Age of the Customer
John begins by introducing what the folks at Forrester Research call “the Age of the Customer.” Reminiscent of the web bursting onto the scene and disrupting information technology in the 1990s, the age of the customer has similar potential. The idea is that today, our customers are more empowered than ever and it’s up to companies and their IT departments to meet heightened expectations for applications. That means using a consistent multi-channel approach, enabling intuitive 24/7 self-service, treating every user as individuals, and keeping users engaged.
From my perspective, the consumerization of IT is a well-known result of the age of the customer. Enterprise applications are held to consumer standards in terms of ease-of-use, user experience, and multi-channel connectivity. This puts a whole lot of pressure on IT teams that are already spending the majority of their time keeping their existing systems afloat – in fact, one of the primary reasons our customers use Mendix is to alleviate this pressure. Combined with the ever-increasing speed of adoption of new technologies, we have a customer base that’s getting smarter and smarter about how they interact and engage with companies. John adds an interesting point about the huge impact mobile has had on IT. Mobile, he says, “is the start of a broader customer-engagement trend.”
Application Delivery that Enables Change
John had some really great points about the way the age of the customer impacts application delivery teams. These days, time-to-market means two things: fast delivery of the initial release AND the continuous updates and changes that will [inevitably] need to be made later on. John suggests building the anticipation of those changes into the application and your development process, quoting data from a Forrester ALM Survey that only 24% of IT teams make changes to applications weekly or faster, and 40% need more than 30 days to make a change.
Perhaps most disconcerting is that we’re still dealing with the same decade-old requirements problems, and only in the “Age of the Customer” have they become such mind-boggling opportunity costs that they can’t be ignored. What are [still] the top two reasons for late delivery of enterprise applications? #1: New & changing requirements. #2: Unclear requirements. John goes on to explain that we don’t need to code harder, we need to develop smarter. A new group of “Productivity Platforms” is hitting the enterprise IT scene, and some of them are making it faster and easier for ‘Rapid Developers’ to develop the applications that business needs now – not 6 months later.
Watch the full show for additional explanation of the age of the customer, its impact on enterprise application delivery, examples of companies that are doing it right, and the need-to-know tactics that are going to help you and your company be successful.