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From horse and cart to Concorde: What the apps revolution means for your business

"Cloud and mobile go hand in hand," says HP director of application transformation Paul Evans. "It's part of the digital transformation."

I was sitting down with Paul at Apps World 2013, the UK's leading app industry event, to find out more about how mobility has impacted the technology giant and its clients. Specifically, I was keen to hear about how HP felt businesses were experiencing the current upheavals in technology.

"The world is changing. Business processes, customer engagement – pretty much everything. If you don't impress on whatever device [the user] chooses – PC, Mac, phone, tablet – you're in trouble. It's a critical business issue. The app is the face of the organisation. If you have a great experience, you think they're a great brand and organisation. A poor experience reflects badly," Evans explained.

Building a quality user experience can be challenging, he admitted, especially in the fast-paced mobile world. But Evans noted that the rise of cloud technology stood as an enabling factor for businesses, offering organisations the elasticity necessary to quickly adapt and alter platforms.

"When you used to build apps before, you knew how many users you had, you could predict workflow and the load on the system. The problem with mobile? You can't predict. The cloud is there as an elastic environment that can give or take depending on the load, and that's why the cloud is so popular with our clients. It can't be traditional – it has to be cloud," he said.

In particular, businesses "under commoditisation pressure" are experiencing the app revolution as a pain point, I was told, with Evans highlighting retail, transport, and healthcare as some of the verticals where provisioning a high-quality mobile experience is increasingly a matter of survival.

"The main verticals that we see are all under commoditisation pressure, where you can't differentiate your core offering. You can think of transportation, airlines, hotel chains, retail. Why would I buy my trainers from Adidas rather than Nike? It all depends on how you engage people. Financial services, healthcare, insurance, too – why would I choose a different insurance company? Do they give me a great experience? Every organisation is coming to terms with the fact that they have to offer a great user experience – it's mandatory," he opined.

In order to keep pace with the rapid pace of change in mobile, Evans added that traditional methods of app development are fast becoming outdated, concluding that agile and hybrid delivery models are now the norm.

"Tech projects in the past have been a rollout every six months - now it's every six days. For certain organisations, that's like going form a horse and cart to Concorde - impossible. Keeping up with Google and Apple and Microsoft? Pretty much every week you're rolling out a software project. You can't do that with waterfall."