In a briefing last week, someone was describing to me a classic, conventional model of IT development, in which developers go off with a toolkit and originate solutions in complete isolation. This is the horrendously resource-intensive way that most enterprise IT takes place today, and it suddenly seems so old-fashioned compared to today's models of app stores, community innovation and pooled development.
In the blinding glare of today's cloud landscape, the cloistered secrecy of sequestered custom development can be seen for the delusion that it always has been. Far from delivering competitive advantage for the enterprises that invest in it, instead it leads projects into remote blind alleys, cut off from the mainstream of shared innovation.
In the era of app stores, cloud communities and open source, why does anyone still believe in the superiority of closed development, unless they're trying to protect outdated business models? Why would I want to pour money and resources into creating my own one-off applications instead of going to an app store and selecting from a huge choice of ready-made apps? What is the point of paying expensive day-rates to laboriously craft a custom version of a common business function from scratch, when there are perfectly adequate implementations already available off-the-shelf?
For a long time, open source has been chipping away at the primacy of private, custom development, but finally it's being laid to rest in the era of public appstores that host thousands of apps all developed to the same, shared cloud platform. Within the next year or two, the notion of going off and developing your own custom enterprise apps for private consumption will seem so quaint and old-fashioned that even those still doing it will be loath to confess it.
I'll be discussing this and other changes in a webinar tomorrow (Wednesday) on 7 Ways the Cloud Changes How You Think About IT [updated 09/12 to link to archive recording], hosted by OpSource, a former client [see disclosure]. Join me to learn about the many radical changes that are under way at an accelerating pace that will shock and surprise.