With the formal rollout today of IBM's cloud computing service for application developers, the nature and scope of application development projects in the enterprise is on the cusp of major change.
IBM is hardly the only provider of cloud computing services for application development in the cloud. But as these services become more widely available, the opportunity to create application development projects that span multiple IT organizations becomes a lot easier to manage. For example, PayPal is using the Smart Business Development & Test on the IBM Cloud service to collaborate with partners in the development of various new application development projects.
Building applications within the enterprise is hard enough. But getting multiple companies to collaborate on an application development project has been next to impossible to manage. The advent of cloud computing services for application development provides a much-needed framework for enabling the collaboration required to make those kinds of projects successful.
In addition, notes Drew Clark, director of strategy for the IBM Venture Capital Group, the rise of these services will make it less costly for IT organizations to create new applications, which should lead more projects. IBM, for instance, says customers typically apply 50 percent of their technology infrastructure to support application development, only to see it sit idle 90 percent of the time.
None of this means that the applications themselves need to run in the cloud. More likely, application workloads will be balanced across private and public cloud computing platforms. But anything that cuts the total cost of developing applications is a good thing. It should reduce application development backlogs while increasing the actual number of applications being developed, but also lead to new types of applications that span multiple business processes that are executed across a federated network of companies.