HP updates tools and services for app modernization

Today's enterprise developer needs a different skillset than one required in years past, HP executives said

Hewlett-Packard has updated a number of its software packages and services to help developers and IT managers modernize their applications so they will better fit into today's always connected environment.

Enterprise software users now "interact with consumer apps constantly, and those experiences are shaping the demands on the enterprise applications they use as well," said Franklin Grosvenor, HP's vice president for enterprise mobility and social business services.

In a recent survey conducted on behalf of HP, nearly 80 percent of corporate chief marketing officers expressed frustration in how badly designed customer-facing enterprise applications were, from the perspective of the users.

Today's enterprise software developer has a different set of requirements than in years past, Grosvenor explained.

"Historically, most enterprise application developers start with a set of features and functions they have to deliver. This is starting to change," Grosvenor said. "Increasingly, the demand is to deliver a business outcome and a desired experience to the user. You do that through orchestrating features and functions in a way that is compelling."

HP RUM
HP RUM 9.22 can now natively monitor Android applications

To this end, the company has added more user interface expertise to its consulting practice. The HP User Experience Design Services, part of the company's consulting service, can help walk organizations through the process of building user-friendly enterprise applications.

"The user experience transcends the data, or the user interface. It's not the font size or the color schemes that you paint over top of the application. It is how the user moves through an application in a way that is intuitive. [Users] shouldn't have to sit through classroom training or pour through online training to understand what to do next," Grosvenor said.

The consulting service interviews end users -- either customers or employees -- to determine their needs, as well as works to understand the client's business process and IT infrastructure. The results of this research, which can be part of an organization's application modernization project, can speed the process of designing an appealing, productive application, Grosvenor said.

On the software side, the company has updated a number of its applications that address both development and operational performance of enterprise applications.

One application that has been updated has been HP Anywhere, a platform that provides a way to write a mobile application that can run across both Apple iOS and Google Android devices. Based on the Apache Cordova framework, HP Anywhere uses open Web technologies such as HTML5 and JavaScript, as well as application containers designed to work with specific system calls found in iOS and Android.

The update to HP Anywhere, version 10.01, adds in additional security tools to the containers and offers a new API (application programming interface) that third-party mobile device management software can use to gather more performance information about the application.

HP also updated its HP Real User Monitoring (RUM) software, part of the Application Performance Management (APM) portfolio. RUM monitors how people use the applications on their mobile devices. It collects statistics on which features are used, as well as how quickly the mobile application responds to user commands.

Version 9.22 software of RUM is the first that can monitor native Android applications. Previous versions could only monitor Web applications on the Android platform.

Also in the portfolio is the newly updated HP Performance Anywhere APM software. Version 1.1 of the software offers predictive analytics that can alert administrators when a service is degrading, and can track performance of applications across cellular networks.

The company has also released a collection of software development kits (SDKs), demo programs and application cookbooks -- under the name of HP Anywhere Developer Zone -- aimed at helping developers design more effective enterprise mobile applications.

For those organizations interested in updating their back-end infrastructure, HP has released a set of reference architectures, called HP Application Integration to Cloud, for developing an application that can run on private or public clouds, using middleware from Tibco and Red Hat. Such infrastructure is best suited for high-performance throughput heterogenous technology systems that require strict SLAs (service level agreements), said Tom Hall, HP's worldwide cloud services marketing manager.

As shipments of personal computers flag, financial analysts have looked to the enterprise mobile market as one area that could help boost HP's bottom line.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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