Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mobile Enterprise and Cloud Computing - Trends to Watch 2010/11

I recently had the opportunity to interview Eyal Pfeifel, Magic Software's CTO and ask him his opinion on a number of technology trends that the company is currently working on including Rich Internet Applications (RIA), mobile enterprise application development and the whole Cloud computing phenomena.

Below is the full transcript of our interview:
SG: Our platforms are known for their use of ‘business-ready’ logic rather than hard coding. Can you elaborate?
EP: When we designed uniPaaS, our main goal was to streamline and simplify the process of developing business applications. Whenever we consider adopting or developing new capabilities, we always put a very strong emphasis on ease of use and not necessarily on an exhaustive set of capabilities. At the end of the day, the developer enjoys a more productive work process as a result of this focus.
SG: Define the main advantages of Rich Internet Applications (RIA)?
EP: For years, IT departments and ISV’s have been looking for technologies that don’t require on-going maintenance, yet are still powerful and interactive. The main success behind the browser was its ability to deploy applications to any desktop without requiring any installation and maintenance. However, browser applications are very complicated to develop if you want to achieve a high level of interactivity. This is where RIA fills the gap by providing a highly interactive rich user interface while not requiring any installation or administration.
SG: What are some of the challenges in effectively building a mobile enterprise application?
EP: The main challenge facing developers today is the lack of business-oriented, portable mobile development platforms. Each mobile platform today requires completely different development tools and skill-sets and the developer is required to either choose between them or learn them all. These existing development environments are also comparable to the first generation of desktop development platforms from a decade ago in terms of functionality and simplicity.
SG: So how do we get around these difficulties today?
EP: Using our uniPaaS platform it’s possible to develop both desktop and mobile applications using a single development environment and a single paradigm. The same skill-set the developer uses to build desktop applications can now also be used to build mobile applications. uniPaaS’ support for additional mobile platforms is only going to expand in the near future.
SG: Where do you see the mobile market moving to next?
EP: In the coming years we will see more and more functionality moving from the office to the mobile phone just as we moved from office phone extensions to private phone numbers, and from desktop based e-mail to mobile e-mail. We will now also see additional enterprise abilities migrating from the desktop to mobile handsets, where applicable.
Some capabilities may of course stay on the desktop – but functions which require individual interaction and response will move – such as task management, workflow, simple reporting and so on.
SG: So, do you see all IT apps moving to the Cloud in the next few years?
EP: I think that the cloud is a very important platform and I believe that many enterprise solutions will migrate to cloud-based environments in the coming years. However, in order for this trend to succeed it remains vital to provide viable on-premise options for both IT departments and ISV’s in order to avoid technology lock-in concerns. Any vendor seeking success in the Cloud space would be wise to provide on-premise capabilities as well.
SG: Eyal, thank you very much for your time.
EP: A pleasure.