How to Thrive in the New Application Economy
CIOs from some of India’s biggest organizations came together to exchange ideas and insights about the changing realities in the application landscape and how to cope with them.
By Ishan Bhattacharya and Shubhra Rishi Dec 23rd 2014 A-A+

Gone are the days when people spent their time interacting with each other. Today, more and more users devote their time engaging with countless applications on their devices. It brings a whole new set of possibilities for organizations to latch on to in this burgeoning application economy.

A roundtable--held by CA Technologies in association with CIO--in Hyderabad revealed that Indian CIOs are aware that they must develop and deliver superior user experience in order to engage with customers and employees.

“Changing the application platform for some industries has been a matter of survival. Other industries such as pharmaceutical, banking, and other financial institutions are more evolved as compared to a rural or agro-based company,” said Jitendra Singh, CIO and Head-Business Excellence, Nagarjuna Fertilizers and Chemicals.

For enterprises which operate in the agriculture sector, a significant challenge is the penetration of smart-devices in rural areas, but efforts are being made to address this. “The fertilizer industry is in a transition phase and we are working towards mobilizing our salesforce using latest technologies, including mobility applications,” says Singh.

Not just agro businesses, but other verticals in the retail, manufacturing, banking, and government sectors are also keen on providing greater user experience to their customers, with the help of smart and interactive software applications. For these organizations, the benefits are substantial: Higher revenue growth, increased profit and new avenues for revenue generation.

“It’s a combined responsibility of application owners and IT owners to figure out whether their existing infrastructure is compatible with applications, or whether a particular application is providing the right result, and whether it is delivering value,” said D. Ashok Kumar, DGM-IS, Aurobindo Pharma.

Another important aspect is to test applications in a timely manner in order to reduce instances of errors in a production environment. “Today, business is clearly being re-written by software. Applications shouldn’t be monitored during the production stage. In fact, organizations must shift the entire process of performance monitoring to the application development stage and a great emphasis must be laid on identifying bottlenecks during the DevOps stage of an application, said Jignesh Upadhyay, Director, Presales-Service Assurance Solutions, CA Technologies.

But certain verticals are still treading the applications-path cautiously, the primary reason being security concerns and legalities. "We have developed our applications in-house and have chosen standard packaged applications such as CRM or business analytics platforms,” said Suresh Babu, VP-IT, Karvy. “There are two reasons why we do not outsource our applications; one is security and the other is agility,” he added.

Organizations also need to maintain a high level of transparency. “We use ERP-based applications for detecting availability and monitoring changes in seismic patterns, and therefore, need to meet high levels of compliance and governance requirements,” said M.P. Rangarao, CISO, Electronics Corporation of India.

With all these factors, organizations can become more effective in the application economy and better architect applications for scale and agility. “The standard approach is to keep challenging the status quo, create an API gateway for external partners and technology providers, such that we can design applications in the way they can be consumed,” said Upadhyay.