Today, information pervades every interaction – and companies are grappling with how to extract business value from growing volumes of data. This need is driving faster software development cycles in which IT is expected to deliver new functionality continuously. Cloud computing makes this possible: it brings on-demand scalability and
efficiency to computing, allowing companies to consume both software and infrastructure flexibly based on need. To meet ever-rising user expectations, software developers can deploy changes through the cloud to users anywhere in the world, instantaneously, from their laptops. Given this new reality, it's no surprise that total spending on cloud services is expected to exceed $300 billion by 2020.

But adopting cloud tools doesn't always solve a company's challenges. Today, nearly every IT organisation must operate in a hybrid environment where applications take various forms: legacy systems that remain on-prem; existing applications migrated to the cloud; new applications built with cloud-native approaches (see 'Three flavours of applications', page 5). Each of these environments reflects a distinct era of enterprise application development. The combination makes for an increasingly complex IT landscape – one in which simply migrating to the cloud is not enough.

These emerging challenges call for new approaches to software development. The most effective approaches treat the cloud as a fundamentally new kind of platform – one marked by highly connected, open environments. This new emphasis on openness has profound implications for business. Openness means the latest innovation is available to companies (and their competitors) instantly through the web. Software is increasingly interoperable and portable, helping to free companies from the risk of vendor lock-in. Code can be packaged and deployed as small, manageable chunks so that teams can nimbly deliver new functionality to users, multiple times a day.

This CIO's Guide to Open Application Development helps IT leaders meet today's challenges by capitalising on the historic shift towards open, connected environments. This shift represents an opportunity for companies to redefine how they interact with customers, partners, suppliers and their own employees.

This guide explores how CIOs and IT leaders can realise the cloud's agility promise by applying two key strategies.


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