App developers are always looking for ways to make their apps more robust, feature-rich and easier to use. These are not surprising scenarios. But results of recent research from HfS show that app developers also want ease of management, hosting and deployment for themselves.
During a recent webinar, “Who Does IT Love in 2013,” HfS reviewed results of a global survey it conducted of 468 IT executives at companies with 250 or more employees across a range of industries. When asked to name their number one development area in the application development/outsourcing space in 2013, a leading 17% mentioned migration to packaged apps and another 13.5% said migration to cloud apps.
This means close to one-third of app developers are most interested in either turning a large chunk of the actual app development process over to third-party packaged app providers or in basing their apps on a flexible, scalable cloud platform. In addition, another 10% cited nearshore app development, another area related to general ease for developers who can avoid time zone, travel, cultural and other issues associated with offshore and “farshore” app development.
Ten percent also mentioned apps retirement, presumably those apps which are most difficult to manage or outdated. Reducing apps lifetime costs (10.5%) was the only top five response not directly related to making life easier on the back end, though of course lower costs make things more comfortable for everyone!
Ease of development also reared its head as a consideration in responses to a question about investments in the application performance management space this year. When asked for their number one investment area in this space for 2013, a leading 19% of respondents indicated it is N-tier application performance management, or using multiple tiers to make applications flexible and easier to modify and reuse. The cloud also pops up again with cloud application performance (14%). Other popular responses include real-time monitoring with Big Data integration (16%), end-to-end service level agreements (SLAs, 13%) and CMSB integration (10%).
While it is easy to point fingers and say developers just want to create the easiest work environment for themselves as possible, there are several other non-selfish factors actually driving these results. One is the insatiable demand on the part of end-users for applications to be delivered immediately, with maximum functionality. Consumers now expect everything to move in “Internet time,” meaning the marketing and sales folks whose livelihoods directly depend on keeping those consumers happy have the same expectations. Harried developers naturally will look for tools, platforms and methodologies that save valuable development time and get apps out the door quicker.
Another driving factor is widespread reductions in developer headcount, meaning remaining developers must do “more with less.” What better way to stretch limited development resources than simplify things with packaged apps, cloud infrastructure and/or N-tier performance management? And the rise of ITO as a legitimate alternative to in-house development, including ITO services originating from non-traditional locations such as Latin America, makes outsourcing an increasing appealing option to save time and reduce workload on limited in-house resources.