Computer & Technology

Why Every Business Needs an Enterprise Application Fabric

In this article we describe what an enterprise application fabric is and help you to get your head around why every digital business needs one
( | Press Release | 2021-10-22 13:01:29 )
The innovation imperative
Thanks to the Internet and 24/7 eCommerce, every business these days is facing stiff competition from competitors located around the world. An above and Beyond brand experience has become the primary competitive weapon. Digital technology has been transformative in unearthing new and better ways to serve customers. Companies that don’t harness data and modern innovations like artificial intelligence, blockchain, bots and 3D visualization face extinction.

Enterprise application fabrics are seen as key to implementing digital transformation at scale. As Nick Lawrie, Managing Director of Data Science Consultancy NDMC Ltd explains, “At the last count, the state of innovation in most companies remains at less than 65% of business processes. What I mean by this, is that—were you to run an exercise to map the business processes of an organization—almost without exception, you will find the majority of businesses have less than 65% of their processes automated, with the remaining 35% being driven by a hotchpotch of hard-copy documents, manual data key-fill, or human-in-the-loop solutions, all underpinned by spreadsheets. This wastage in cost, time and convenience is driving demand for hyper-automation and self-service customer experience solutions that remove in-house data entry and off-line processes; extending all the way to on-demand reporting. This is driving demand for next-generation digital ecosystems.”

Pressures on businesses to innovate—i.e., to boost customer experience and automate processes to drive down costs—has created ‘innovation factories’ in most organizations. Outsourcing software development has become too much of a high risk strategy when app development is a constant. And gradually, the trend to buy off-the-shelf SaaS tools for every single department and activity is abating, principally because companies want apps to bring their data together, not separate it out into silos.

But there’s a problem: The old ways of building and deploying apps in-house are too slow, and demand too much IT resource once they’re deployed. Additionally, no-code tools might be fine when you want to create one app, but even small enterprises these days want to produce tens, if not hundreds, of apps and software robots—so how do you construct an app ecosystem capable of that.

What an application fabric looks like

Unlike their predecessor-coded and no-coded tools designed with one-time-only application developments in mind, application fabrics are designed for a future enterprise application vision of hundreds of apps working in consort. An enterprise application fabric creates a unifying canvas across your enterprise to interplay between internal systems and the bigger digital world. These ‘as a service’ cloud platforms leverage data from pretty much everywhere and bring together, what used to be, three areas of technology:

Technology to harvest and integrate with data sources, with added tools to design Master Data repositories.
Technology to create, iterate and publish apps, with added tools to plug-in existing data, apps and plug-in best-of-breed features.
Technology to manage the application lifecycle, with added tools to govern security, operational management, replication, scaling, performance, behaviors—right up to the final retirement of apps.

The age-old problem enterprise application fabrics solve

Arguably the MOST game-changing feature of enterprise app fabrics is the ability to drive innovation at scale, and reduce the IT cost of operation to less than 3% of operating costs. Since time and memorial, IT teams have struggled to fund and resource application software updates, platform version control, data security, data integration, and a whole host of application lifecycle issues—such as retiring old apps and creating news ones—hampered by a paucity of tools, technologies, and third party apps. For the first time, everything an enterprise needs to design, deploy and run as many apps as it needs, becomes possible from adopting a single, integral, technology layer.

Why is an application fabric different from what’s come before?

What makes an application fabric substantively different is its focus on governing many in-house developed apps in a unified way. For digital businesses, this matters, because it has become business-critical to minimize on-going IT costs, keep data safe, and—most importantly—keep up with the pace of app demands from stakeholders, that might want at any point in time to build new apps, make enhancements to existing apps, or use new or existing data sources in new ways.

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Ian Tomlin

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