The email came in quite quietly over the weekend, just in advance of the morning keynote the following day… and it read, “So, it’s like a normal developer event – all over again right?”
The truth is, things may never be quite the same in the (possibly) post-pandemic period that we now dive forwards to, but the Computer Weekly DeveloperNetwork team is on the road again and this time it’s Boston, USA for Progress Software’s Progress360 developer event, staged from September 11-14, 2022.
Keynote day #1 was presented with no formalised title, no ‘how digital transformation changes lives’ hyperbole and no major distracting fanfare to take any focus away from Yogesh Gupta, CEO, Progress.
A computer scientist (and hard core technologist) from the start, Gupta is a published author and at one time has also been a specialist in neural networks, in which he holds a patent.
Since joining Progress in October 2016 as its president and CEO, Gupta has worked to strengthen the company’s market position, improved customer relationships, launched new products, acquired three companies and improved operating margins.
A 30-year software industry veteran, Yogesh has also held several corporate officer roles at CA Inc., including the role of chief technology officer for five years.
Speaking to the assembled crowd of attendees with some fervour, Gupta noted that this event is being staged at a watershed moment in technology.
“Over the last 3-years [of the pandemic’s different cadence] it has become clear why we do the things we do with technology to make peoples’ lives better – but only because you [the programmers] understood the purpose behind all these actions.”
When we look at the kinds of impact that technology has had in recent times, Gupta urged attendees to think about scenarios like a young mother going to the doctors, waiting for time to discuss a baby’s issues, having to then go to the pharmacy, get stuck in traffic etc. and deal with all the other delays that we have now progression beyond in so many ways. Using a digital device, that same mother could perhaps now connect, get a diagnosis and order drugs in minutes rather than hours… or perhaps even a couple of days.
With so many supply chains having suffered throughout the pandemic, the Progress CEO was upbeat about just how far the software industry has helped shift the time windows that govern the supply and delivery of so many of the products and services that we now depend upon in our daily lives.
The what & how behind ‘purpose’
Gupta’s mission now is to help us understand what we need to do and what we need to build – and, crucially, how we should build the new technology platforms of tomorrow.
On the road to building enterprise (and for that matter consumer) applications that can deliver anyone personalised experiences on any device in any location, we have a lot of infrastructure intelligence to build.
“Performance has now become a given – as has the need to create applications that are always-on everywhere, by which I mean at 36–degrees around the globe. This all has to happen at a scale [and scale is key insists Gupta] that was previously unimaginable – especially after these last three years,” he said.
To create this new notion of usability and scale, Gupta says that enterprises (both private and public) will need to run an IT infrastructure that is going to support millions of users and protect that infrastructure from the thousands of threats that surface every day.
The process of software application development (in the Progress viewpoint, if not elsewhere) is all about a develop-deploy-manage lifecycle. To do this, organisations need the right high-impact application architecture – and this spans websites, mobile apps, web apps, desktop apps, char, wearables, engineering and devices that we have not even thought of yet.
Below this we need the service cloud, this is the layer where the mission-critical app platform exist, next to data and insights, digital decisioning [i.e. big data analytics, AI, ML and more] and personalisation.
Also below this, we have to see a layer to manage data connectivity that can handle all types of data (structured, unstructured and semi-structured – plus streaming data and all the other information types.
All of which has to be able to deliver to user endpoints under the watchful eye of DevSecOps, Application Delivery Control and Full Stack Monitoring.
Develop, Deploy & Manage
Welcoming in a number of guest speakers, Gupta and his co-presenters took the audience through what Progress views as the circulation of the develop, deploy and manage functions that need to be present in modern enterprise IT environments.
Thinking about how enterprises will now have to work through building increasingly distributed domestic or international operations, there is a clear need to move away from the silo IT stack mentality that has existed in so many environments in the past. Progress CEO spoke to a financial services firm, a telco specialist and a restaurant retailer who have brought forward new services at the user application layer (and, logically, at the customer layer), but did so by working to augment, finesse – and perhaps most of all – secure and scale their IT infrastructures.
Given that enterprises will have learned so much from recent times (with lessons from the pandemic once again at front of mind), we are living in a world where secure continuous deployments are now a prerequisite.
Progress didn’t call its event Progress365 – the notion of always-on already assumes services are available every day of the year – the company called it Progress360, an event title specifically intended to convey a notion of global reach and total system infrastructure scope to every endpoint, for every user and at every time.
Progress (and perhaps the clue is in the name) appears to be focused on Progress… and in this context, that means cloud-nature software application development with a key emphasis on security and DevOps to govern application lifecycles.