Every CIO Should Cross the App Delivery Chasm in 2015
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Across all industries, companies are transforming their business with more multi-channel and customer facing apps. This trend is increasing pressure on IT teams to deliver more applications, quicker than ever before.
A recent survey of nearly 500 IT and business professionals found that the business demand for custom applications is far greater than IT’s ability to deliver. The results reinforce the general recognition that we are in the midst of a digital transformation. Businesses have a more urgent need for new applications that help differentiate themselves, streamline operations and effectively engage connected customers.
But more importantly, the research revealed a growing app delivery chasm facing enterprise IT. In fact, an alarming 71 percent of IT teams aren’t equipped to handle growing demand from the business for custom applications. The result yields growing backlogs and poor project performance, with nearly three-quarters of respondents failing to consistently deliver on-time, meet business requirements and generate quantifiable business value.
Demand for Custom Applications is Surging
The digital transformation of our age is fueling business demand for custom applications. Companies are innovating quicker than ever, putting pressure on organizations to rapidly build new apps that help them stand out from the competition; capitalize on new business opportunities; and deliver more engaging customer experiences.
It’s not surprising then, that customer-facing and mobile apps are in high demand, cited by 69 percent and 75 percent of respondents respectively. What may be surprising is that 68 percent of organizations with a mobile development agenda are prioritizing multi-device, multi-channel apps over standalone mobile or tablet apps. This reflects a growing recognition that mobile must be integrated with other channels and back-end processes to deliver a unified experience for both customers and employees.
Demand for systems of engagement is only the beginning. Businesses are also expecting shorter turnarounds, requesting more changes more often; and looking to increase their overall involvement in app delivery projects.
Backlogs Are Growing, Projects Failing
How do most IT teams respond to these growing business demands? Unfortunately, not well.
With resources as tight as ever - and most earmarked toward “keeping the lights on” - output is stagnant. IT teams are delivering the same number of applications as they were a year ago, as demand increases and backlogs grow. Overall, 82 percent of respondents report having a backlog while 89 percent of those were unable to reduce their backlog year over year.
Additionally, IT teams aren’t doing particularly well delivering on the projects they do pursue. On average, nearly three-quarters of companies are failing to consistently meet key project success criteria, including delivering on time, meeting business requirements and generating quantifiable business value.
With the pace of change accelerating, time to market is particularly crucial to staying ahead of the competition. Yet, 68 percent of respondents said it takes quarters or years to deliver new apps while 76 percent need months or more just to process basic change requests.
IT Needs Better Development Environments
What contributes to this lackluster project performance? For starters, an overwhelming majority of IT respondents cited unnecessary infrastructure concerns as a distraction from application development. And these distractions came in the form of three main complaints.
The most common issues include a lack of availability of required development tools, an inability to create and share working prototypes for end-user feedback, and alack of integrated deployment environments, cited by three-quarters of respondents. The lack of proper development environments means that IT teams must prioritize system needs over business needs and ultimately spend less time focused on solving the business problems at hand.
In addition, 78 percent of companies lack sufficient tools for enabling business-level developers to build apps and more directly participate in the app delivery process. This means that traditional programmers continue to bear the brunt of the development work, which is another important reason for the disparity between demand and delivery.
The Secret to Success in 2015: Cross the App Delivery Chasm
It’s clear that business demand for customer-facing and mobile apps is significantly outpacing IT’s ability to deliver. And this app delivery chasm will only become more pronounced unless something changes. The business is under greater pressure than ever before, and IT has an opportunity to take charge and be the heroes behind innovation.
However, innovation is not easy. It requires speed and agility, and the willingness to “fail fast” through a test-and-learn approach. Customers are demanding more, markets are changing rapidly and there are more competitors fighting for marketshare. Without the right development approach, IT cannot effectively deliver in the new digital economy.
Survival depends on IT teams crossing this chasm. Delivering innovative applications will set your team apart, but also save your company from being disrupted by the Ubers of your industry.
Though the current state of affairs may seem bleak, many IT departments have found away to deliver faster and better results with their existing resources. In part two of this series – coming soon – we will outline three success factors that correlate to stronger app delivery performance.
This content is made possible by a guest author, or sponsor; it is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of App Developer Magazine's editorial staff.
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