Report shows an ‘outside-in’ approach to app development works best

A new report from the Apigee Institute shows that large companies are still struggling to successfully deploy apps that are on time, on budget or have the intended business impact.

The new Apigee Institute Report “Lessons from the App Masters: How some IT departments excel at delivering quality apps” says that nearly 45 percent of large corporation apps failed to meet critical criteria.

According to an Apigee Institute survey of IT decision makers in large enterprises that attempted to deploy apps in 2013, more than one in four failed to meet their timeline, nearly one in five failed to meet budget, and a similar proportion delivered fewer apps than planned. Of that same group of companies, another 5% failed entirely in their attempts to produce apps. Altogether, a full 45% of respondents failed to meet expectations on at least one of the five criteria.

It’s probably not surprising that so many large IT departments struggle with developing and deploying apps – traditional techniques and methodologies have dominated IT thinking for decades and the process of developing apps quickly or deploying them outside the corporate datacenter is something of an anathema to many IT professionals. Slow and steady may not win the race but it won’t get you fired either and no one wants to be standing without a chair if the music stops.

But if 45 percent of IT decision makers were frustrated with their app strategies what about the other 55 percent?

In contrast, some companies seem to have mastered app development. Of the full sample, about 8% reported exceeding expectations on all five metrics for success building and deploying apps: quality and performance, budget, time to delivery, quantity of apps, and business impact.

The companies that reported exceeding expectations on all five metrics for app development success—enterprises that we refer to as “app masters”—are distinguished from others by one significant characteristic: their strikingly different description of their IT organization. Successful companies describe their IT structure as significantly more cloud-first, mobile-centric, and future-proof.

According to the report, many IT professionals have built their careers around maintaining ‘systems of record,’ systems designed and optimized to collect, store, recall or present discrete pieces of information.

The digital age has brought ‘systems of engagement’ to IT. These are not systems premised on the collection of and presentation of discrete data; rather they are decentralized systems that often use the cloud to encourage peer interactions. The problem is that while systems of engagement need systems of record, the two are fundamentally incompatible.

The report seems to point toward keeping a tight grip on the traditional ‘systems of record’ but loosening the grip a bit when it comes to ‘systems of engagement’ app development. As the report states ‘app masters’ “have moved beyond ‘build versus buy’ to view the IT function as an ecosystem orchestrator, aggressively leveraging external resources whenever and wherever they provide an edge.”

As TGDaily contributor Massoud Marzban, VP of Business Development at Burnside Digital said, “There is nothing wrong with bringing in outside resources when faced with rapidly changing environments such as app development or cloud deployment. There are many firms out there that specialize in these fields and bringing in an expert in no way diminishes the importance of traditional IT. Utilizing outside experts is just another tool for dealing with today’s rapidly changing world.”

You can read the complete Apigee Institute Report here.