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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