The rise of the Platform as a Service is empowering the rise of Apps as a Service. I don't think we are going to see AaaS as an acronym anytime soon, but I do see that the future will involve many, many more Apps.
The Microsoft SharePoint platform is leading the way for this with the next release of SharePoint 2013. SharePoint 2013 has a new Office Marketplace that has been purpose built for this App-Stravaganza. Where developers can build apps to their hearts content and then build a few more. I envision a future where end users will finally be able to build Composite Applications that will be comprised of the Apps they find on their intranet and from an approved list of vendors on the internet.
The User Will Be in Charge
Much like the consumer driven space with Apple and Android there will be a drive for business users to be in charge of the way they access information. Microsoft is jumping into this with the Microsoft Office beta Store (see image and click thru). There are Apps out there today from companies like Kodak (my former employer) and Nintex for the SharePoint 2013 space. There are other Apps for Office 2013 to help people make more sense of the massive amounts of data out there.
The Trend Towards Apps
Vendors are Smart. By vendors I mean Independent Software Vendors (ISV) and System Integrators (SI). I’m not excluding internal Information Technology Professionals (IT Pros) here, but partners have a vested interest to keep up with the technology and with the demands of their customers (which includes IT Pros).
They will build what people are asking for and that they are willing to pay for. The interesting with Apps is that there are alternative revenue streams to consider. Even if they don't pay in hard dollars they will often pay in other ways. Ways that involve giving up personal data - location and mobile number being some of the most common data being offered by a consumer.
The Pursuit of Appyness
This is driven in no small part by the success Apple has seen and the thousands of apps available for the iOS platform. Consumers have come to expect that there is indeed "an App for that."
The next iteration of Apps will be for businesses and business uses. Vendors and internal IT have already started writing Apps that consume corporate data and publicly available data so that businesses can also say there is "an App for that." This wave is just getting started. There will be a growing wave of Apps and
In the Microsoft world this will be driven by the recent and impending release of a few products:
- Office 2013 where apps are the future are going to be built
- Windows 8 - where Windows 8 empowers developers to create some really interesting solutions using the new LIVE TILES metaphor.
LIVE TILES will enable so many creative uses of data that it’s almost impossible to imagine what will be developed. I can’t wait to see what the developers, Line-of-Business (LOB) professionals and the Millennials and Gen Y people come up with.
I envision apps that will allow for things like:
- Surfacing Data that “lives” in Disparate data silos (this is where the Microsoft BCSP program is leading the effort).
- Examples include things like Real Time Power Monitoring. Imagine a graphical representation of the way your home “consumes” power. Have you see the Toyota Prius --- there is a really slick display of power usage that can help drivers adjust their driving style to maximize fuel utilization.
- These are not new concepts. Think Mint – which, in case you don’t know, is an App for aggregating financial data.
- Think Future – I fully expect and envision Apps with capabilities like Augmented Reality (have you see Google Goggles). Where the end user will be able to “see” Big Data in the form of a train terminal or a series of financial transactions in a virtual 3D model.
- Personalized Search – Where Apps will be intelligent enough to know your preferences and proclivities. Which will drive Your Search. Your Data . Your Experience.
The platform empowers the experience
- This means the underlying data becomes just that ... Data
- The Apps are the means for surfacing the data and for showing it in a new light
This is the ultimate dream of and what is driving The Pursuit of Appyness. The combination of consumers and business is a multi-billion dollar opportunity and it's one that will be around for many years.
What will you build?
If you are already a System Integrator or already an Independent Software Vendor you may already have a great head start for creating a series of Apps. However, if you are a Millennial or Gen Y’er your creativity and your perspective on the how & why Apps should work together is really going to drive the next generation of Apps and the ultimate Pursuit of Appiness.
To me The Future of SharePoint is going to be very Appy.
What do you think?
- Do you see the rise of Apps?
- Are you expecting to see Apps that help you to get more done?
- What’s the first App you want to see?
Drop me a comment here or on any of the social media channels below. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Jeff Shuey is a veteran in the Enterprise Content Management industry. Over the past 20 years he has worked with customers and partners to design, develop and deploy solutions around the world. Jeff is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances at Winshuttle. He has worked for Microsoft, FileNet, K2, Captaris, Open Text, Kofax and Kodak. He speaks and blogs about ECM and the Intersection between Social, Mobile and Cloud Computing.
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures, Microsoft Corporation