by Jean-Pierre Brulard, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
If you thought that there was already an abundance of apps available to you – both in your professional and personal life, the future might seem daunting.
History will show we are in the middle of an application explosion, with ~335 million apps available today, by 2024 that number will have more than doubled – set to reach a staggering three quarters of a billion.
From the FitBit that tracks your morning run, the coffee you order and collect on your way to the office, or the review you give of performance data from across the department or organisation on your handheld device. Our digital technology and daily lives have morphed into one digital life – helped, managed, informed and maximised through applications.
For businesses this can create both opportunities and challenges. Are organsiations truly prepared for this app-driven world? And if not, why not? In the increasingly multi-cloud world in which they operate, how do enterprises develop, manage and run applications that excite and engage their customers and employees?
Everyone needs to be prepared
Businesses are now being defined by how fast they can deliver applications that differentiate their business and enhance the user experience. When you consider that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator and that 85% of the relationship between a customer and the enterprise will be non-human, the stakes have never been higher.
Barclaycard in the UK has launched Grab+Go – a feature that turns customers’ smartphones into wallets and allows them to scan items into the app while they shop and then pay for them through mobile checkout, meanwhile Audi has created a VR experience that allows customers to configure their own car, offering a dynamic and interactive buying experience, by transferring the process from a digital tablet to something much more immersive.
Then there’s the work we are doing with the French postal service, La Poste, which has transformed the organisation entirely thanks to the app explosion. By equipping postal workers with up to 20 apps on their mobile devices, the company has found a way offer to new and innovative services, such as banking, insurance and even checking on elderly relatives, at customers’ doorsteps.
Why it’s important
These are all examples of how apps are being used to deliver better experiences. To do that can be incredibly complex, yet it shouldn’t be.
The explosion of information crossing multiple clouds to and from an infinite number of devices and sensors has brought complexity, security and scalability issues. With speed vital, taking five or six months to develop an app is no longer acceptable.
Enterprises are reliant on software that can be developed and used as fast as possible, adapting to changing marketplace requirements, and running on infrastructure that can deal with these rapid changes, can scale and can handle new types of workloads.
They also need to consider the security headache that can arise – a recent VMware/Forbes study highlighted that 76% of both business leaders and IT security practitioners believe their organisation is working with outdated the security solutions.
Simplicity lays the foundation for success
To accelerate app development, we need to simplify operations. We believe the answer lies in software. Creating one, ubiquitous digital foundation that enables businesses to modernise their existing apps and create new ones, and run, manage, connect and intrinsically protect them, across any cloud, at speed.
The benefits for businesses of getting apps into the hands of their intended users faster than ever before are numerous; from growth in customer base, ROI and lead conversion, to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty, as well as better talent recruitment and retention. Forrester reports that the revenue growth of customer experience leaders is 5.1 times that of laggards.
It worked for La Poste. By deploying a digital workspace, it could simplify the delivery and management of its apps, and gave employees easy and secure access, regardless of their IT literacy. They have become digitally enabled, delivering a diversified set of services to ensure La Poste remains valuable, commercially viable and relevant to millions of people across France.
Whether you’re in banking, logistics, automotive, retail or any other sector, the modern app has become the definition of success. Your focus might be on engaging customers; it might be on enabling employees – whatever it is, the apps you deliver will determine the experience your users enjoy.
In my next post I’ll be looking in greater detail at what organisations need to do to get it right. I’ll also touch on how some of the announcements we made at VMworld Europe, like Project Pacific, are enabling customers to build modern apps on Kubernetes, as well as revolutionising how they ensure complete protection.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the impact the app explosion has had on your business, as well as what challenges and opportunities you see emerging.