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Digital migration ultimatum advises the time for change is now

In its 'digital ultimatum,' Progress Software advises executives and IT to work together in planning for enterprise digital migration jointly or risk falling behind.

Progress Software is best known for its application development tools and venerable database. Recently, however, it became known for stirring up the cloud computing landscape, publishing a 32-page call to arms for businesses large and small. As this manifesto puts it, "deny and fade, or survive and thrive." To explain what it is calling a "digital ultimatum," Mark Troester, vice president of solutions marketing at Progress, spoke exclusively with SearchCloudApplications.

Did we need another study to know that digital migration is essential for businesses to remain competitive?

Mark Troester: When 96% of the respondents in a survey say that digital transformation or digital migration is critical to their organizations' futures, it's vital to take notice. We believe as developers work on projects they need to think holistically about mobile and web content, and work within their organizations at a high level for building true omnichannel experiences. That's especially true for the retail industry.

Progress Software uses the term "digital ultimatum" to frame this call to action, but makes a very explicit point about having no definition. Can you explain that? 

Troester: We deliberated a lot about this. There are 30 definitions. The meaning differs from one organization to another. We assert some things that are fundamental and that you have to establish engagement models for the overall business and for IT. The important thing is to get people into this journey and push them through as fast as possible.

Mark TroesterMark Troester

In this digital migration ultimatum, the word "cloud" appears only eight times in 32 pages, and only in passing. Is Progress suggesting that digital transformation is separate from running your business in the cloud?

Troester: The cloud is a deployment vehicle, not a business strategy. What we are trying to do is "up-level" the thought process so that IT and the business side come together as strategic partners.

According to the study, 54% believe digital migration to mobile is critical, yet only 38% currently have an approach that focuses on mobile development. Why such a major discrepancy?

The cloud is a deployment vehicle, not a business strategy.
Mark Troestervice president, Progress Software

Troester: Executives on the business and IT sides recognize the need to do mobile. When we talk to them, it's clear they feel the pressure, but often they don't know what to do about it. They lack the capabilities, have no idea what to mobilize first, and often don't have good insight into the customer or employee experience. There are many ways to build mobile apps, but how they should be designed and what they should look like remains a real challenge. Too often, we see a company take a legacy web app that was never intended for mobile and try to make it mobile. The result is almost always a terrible user experience.

For developers it's important they know Progress's tools are stable and will continue to grow. With Progress undergoing its own transformation in terms of executives and product realignment, what assurances do you have for developers?

Troester: It's a natural position for us to push our products and solutions together, including Telerik, Modulus and Rollbase, acquisitions we've made over the past few years. None of our brands are going away. Our DigitalFactory solution for building and managing digital experiences is the start of something that will take us -- and developers -- down the road for a long time. You can expect to see additional things coming.

Next Steps

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Dig Deeper on Mobile cloud computing application strategy

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How prudent is it to separate discussions about corporate business strategy from the technology platforms for implementing that strategy?
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