The 2012 Watchlist for Enterprise App Development Trends

Overall, developers should keep an eye on four major technologies — the cloud, mobile computing, social networking, and big data. Researcher IDC recently noted that spending on these areas is growing at about 18 percent per year and is expected to account for at least 80 percent of IT spending growth between now and 2020.

Here are seven enterprise development predictions for 2012:

1. The Cloud Landscape Will Mushroom

All cloud markets will continue to grow. In fact, the total cloud market (private, virtual private, and public cloud markets) will reach about $61 billion by the end of 2012, predicted Forrester analyst Holger Kisker. By far, the largest individual cloud market continues to be the public SaaS market, which will hit $33 billion by the end of 2012.

In 2012, Kisker said he expects more and more infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) vendors to offer technology platform services, platform vendors to offer software services, and application vendors to add business process services into their products and services.

Also on the horizon are a new wave of SaaS implementations, said Kisker, who expects to see more SaaS solutions for product life-cycle management (PLM), business intelligence (BI), and supply chain management (SCM).

2. The HTML 5 Juggernaut Will Continue to Roll

HTML5 is coming on strong as a standard, accelerated by the speed at which hardware devices are changing.

Microsoft has adopted HTML5 for Windows 8, Internet Explorer 9 and upcoming versions of the browser and other products.

The onset of HTML5 also drove Adobe to halt its development of its Flash technology for mobile browsers.

Al Hilwa, an IDC analyst, has predicted that 90 percent of smartphones and tablets will sport HTML5-capable browsers by 2013.

3. Get Ready for ‘Internet Everything’

The Internet of things is leading to the Internet of everything, said Gartner analyst David Cearley recently.

He noted that 50 percent of Internet connections already occur between things rather than people, and this trend is growing rapidly because the cost of connected electronic devices is dropping very quickly.

Cearley said contextual and social user experiences will become more important, particularly using features such as identity, time, location, social networks, and sensors like GPS devices and near-field communications (NFC).

What this means for enterprise developers is tremendous demand for the creation of Internet-centric apps and solutions that will connect legacy apps to the Internet.

4. Expect to See Lots More Mobile Apps

Mobile-centric applications and interfaces are also a growing trend, noted Cearley. Interfaces will not just have touch and gesture support, but will include search, voice, and video as inputs.

Cearley believes simple and focused mobile applications will be crucially important not just for consumer applications, but for enterprise applications as well.

“As a result, application development will change too, as multiplatform support is inevitable,” he said. “HTML5 helps but is no panacea.”

Cearley predicted that app stores and marketplaces will expand to meet enterprise needs such as license management and verification. He said enterprise app store adoption will likely become more mainstream in 2013 and 2014.

5. The Growth of Web-Based Development Environments

The ‘Internet everything’ phenomenon allied to the rise of mobile apps will drive the growth of Web-based development environments. Web-based development environments, such as Eclipse Orion, Cloud9 IDE, eXo Cloud IDE and others, are becoming more and more popular as development moves into the cloud.

This year will see more of the same, driven by the explosion in mobile apps.

6. Big Data and Big Data Analytics Trends Will Grow

Big data and big data analytics will continue to grow due to the explosion of data coming from intelligent devices, social media and other sources.

IDC predicts that the market for intelligent systems will grow substantially in the next few years, from 800 million units today to more than 2.3 billion by 2015.

Shipments of embedded devices already exceed those of cell phones and PCs, according to IDC, which predicts the market for intelligent systems will soon represent a $520 billion industry.

7. Agile Will Mature More This Year

In 2012, Agile will move from a development practice into more of a mainstream business process, forcing companies and developers to improve their release management solutions and to reduce the bottlenecks that often exist at the point of deployment. To make all of that happen, expect to see the emergence of highly collaborative DevOps teams composed of application developers and IT operations.

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