I introduced a new blog series last week on the future of business software and the changes we see coming to the development, deployment and use of business applications. We also introduced the Citizen Developer Success Model, which is made up of nine components that will drive the next generation of business software. Each week I’ll deep dive on one of the nine components, starting with “speed” this week.
When it comes to business software, aside from cost, the most common question people ask when evaluating any software or business application is, “How long will it take me to implement?” The time it takes to develop, customize, implement and modify new applications is critical to any business software. And it’s only growing more important. Speed is critical to any business application because nothing is perfect on the first implementation and the faster in can get users engaged in the application, the faster you can iterate to make the application better for everyone.
Of course, most SaaS or cloud-based business software can be installed or activated in a few minutes. Just plug in your email address, credit card number and you’re off and running, right? Not so fast.
Despite what application vendors say, no business software application is perfect after the initial implementation. You have to learn how to navigate the application, how to use it, figure out its capabilities and limitations. After all of that, you still need to configure or customize the application to do exactly what you want it to do and how you want it done. At best, this process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.
In the new Citizen Developer Success Model, that will all change. Instead of measuring deployments in weeks or months, we’ll be counting days or even hours.
The changes will start at the very beginning with the development of business applications. Your typical scenarios of search for a generic SaaS solution, turn to IT or default to something simple and familiar like a spreadsheet will change dramatically. Simply put, the scope of the project will be greatly streamlined because the people developing the application will be the same people using the application. More powerful, easier-to-use application platforms will make it possible for average non-technical business people to build customized applications the same way they create a PowerPoint presentation or a spreadsheet.
Along with development, perhaps one of the biggest changes will be the time required to deploy and share business software applications with others. Soon, if not already, application deployments will be completed in just a few days. With little to no help from IT, business users will be able to deploy secure applications that they built to individuals, teams, whole departments or even the entire company.
Finally, the time required to modify or update applications to meet the businesses’ and users’ evolving needs will be dramatically reduced. Business users will be able make as many changes as they need to, as often as they need to, without having to wait for the next release of software or until IT gets around to it. They’ll simply be able to make changes themselves in real time.
In conclusion, the speed at which users can develop, deploy and customize business software applications will be greatly reduced from months or weeks to just days or even hours. And making changes or adjustments to applications as the business needs evolve will happen in real time. This will ultimately result in increased efficiency and productivity, as well as reduced cost.
Keep checking back for much more in this series on the changing application landscape, and keep commenting and tweeting us at @trackia to weigh in.