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By March 26, 2021 Articles
State of Application Strategy 2021

Why an Application Strategy Matters

Applications are so central to how we live, work, and interact that the technologies used to deliver those apps and protect application security have become essential to business growth. That’s why an application strategy is now a crucial component of any successful business strategy.

To reflect that importance, we’ve changed the name of our signature report to the 2021 State of Application Strategy Report. Read the full report to learn how your application strategy stacks up.

“Digital transformation has raced forward in the last year”

The astonishing progress is apparent through several key markers revealed in our seventh annual survey:

• AI-assisted business has tripled.
• Applications continue to be modernized rapidly, with APIs a method of choice.
• The importance of SaaS-delivered security is rising as organizations work to unify security across distributed applications while managing more architectures than ever.
• Architectural complexity makes multi-cloud availability an imperative, and edge deployments are increasing, too.
• Telemetry will take us to the future—but now, nearly everyone is missing the insights they need.

This remarkable past year, filled with newly remote work, education, and consumer activities, has driven significant changes in organizations’ outlooks for the future— including which trends decision-makers consider most strategic over the next 2–5 years.

Key Findings

“Digital Expansion Requires Application Modernization”

Over the past year, organizations were forced to enable remote work at unprecedented levels and invent new ways of serving customers using technology. These changes have driven demand for digital services in every industry, for every role, and across our professional and personal lives.

“Complexity Rises as Modernization Proceeds”

As applications are modernized to drive digital transformation, the composition of the enterprise app portfolio shifts. When 2021 survey results are compared with those from 2020, we see that traditional applications, especially those built for client/server and three-tier architectures, are slowly being replaced by modern and mobile applications.

“Organizations Have Data but Lack Insights”

As digital transformation proceeds, the organizations best able to harness data from their applications, APIs, and app security and delivery technology will enjoy a competitive advantage based on the ability to make better, faster decisions and more quickly act to protect application performance and data. According to survey respondents, however, sufficient data does not necessarily deliver the insights they really need.

Rewarding Customer Experiences Hinge on Successful Digital Transformation

In many ways, organizations around the world have risen admirably to the challenges of COVID-19 and its accompanying upheaval. Faced with unexpected and urgent shifts in how work, customer interactions, and daily living were accomplished, they responded with effective technological solutions.

In a short time, they have modernized and distributed applications—and the application security and delivery technology solutions that support them—closer to users. Add in use of the edge, which is helping to improve performance and the user experience, and these organizations have greatly accelerated their digital transformations and now are generating incredible momentum toward realizing applications that are truly adaptive.

More progress will require advances in two areas. The first is real-time application data. The second is the insights that data can deliver. Telemetry from application security and delivery technology must be available in every deployment location to provide those insights, as well as the automation that will enable more responsive, higher performance and more secure applications. Only organizations with the right combination of insights and automation will be able to sort through overwhelming data, recognize looming availability and performance issues before they occur,
and act quickly enough to prevent them to ensure customer experiences remain delightful.

Until then, many organizations won’t be able to take full advantage of their progress in digital transformation or generate additional speed toward AI-enabled business. To achieve those goals, organizations need an application strategy that includes application security and delivery technology solutions that follow the apps, even  as deployments continue to be spread among multiple environments positioned nearer to users and at the edge. Management of multiple architectures, and deployments that cross them, will continue as the norm, even as modernization proceeds. For such complex portfolios, multi-cloud availability will be critical. Only easy-to-use, multi-cloud solutions can deliver the telemetry needed to uncover insights and enable the AIOps that will improve the customer experience—the objective of digital transformation and the source of its value.

Source: The State of Application Strategy 2021