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At Gartner AD Summit: Getting ready for budget time

[Los Angeles] -- Application development managers preparing for a new budget season will need to focus on a few key areas to win in the game of corporate-wide planning, attendees were told this week at the Gartner Application Development Summit in Los Angeles.

Cost reduction, productivity improvement, strategic efforts and security assurance are the areas to concentrate on, said Paul Strassman, a long-time IT industry productivity authority at the opening session. Most of these are familiar concerns to development managers, Strassman admitted. But budget arguments in this day and age must be particularly crisp and centered on these concerns, he indicated.

“Survival means you have to begin steering IT in areas of value,” he said. And while obtaining operating efficiencies has always been a trait of IT, “this is not good enough today,” Strassman noted. “We must move out of the shell of IT,” he said.

“The value in IT is in IT people upgrading themselves” to deal with strategic business issues, he warned.

Strassman and other speakers told conference attendees that they will need to apply software more and more carefully to justify all new expenditures. Most new expenses will have to be offset by savings elsewhere. That means a better understanding of the corporate software portfolio is needed.

“You must show that you are able to take IT costs down 7% to 8%,” said Strassman.

Software reuse may be an area of savings, and progress has been seen on this front. Gartner analyst Mark Driver said some Java shops are seeing as much as 80% reuse in porting Java applications from one J2EE platform to another. But he cautioned that as Java vendors add more and more enhancements to the application server stack, portability will decline.

Gartner analyst Daryl Plummer told attendees that Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and service-oriented development could enhance elusive reuse efforts. Some parts of SOA are already in place in some organizations today, he said. Data models and defined APIs are important.

“If you design for integration from the beginning, you are making a common model. You can also create a repository of interfaces that define an information model,” he said. This information model can serve you in good stead for many years.

“When you define interfaces and document them well, you’re building an information model,” said Plummer.

Key is assembly and orchestration. Plummer described this as "the building of systems from parts that are already built." Addressing the crowd of IT and development managers, he said, “these are things you’re starting to do well, but you’re not doing consistently well.”

About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.

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