October 22, 2012 at 6:34 AM
There is no shortage of causes for headaches for today’s CIO. But one of the leading reasons CIOs feel the need to reach for super-deluxe-strength remedies is also one of the newest: enterprise app development.
A new survey of 108 corporate IT executives conducted by IDG Research for agile data management technology provider Delphix indicates that virtually all of them (94%) say delivering enterprise app development projects on time and within budget is a major challenge, and 86% say these projects are a critical or strategic priority.
The average CIO currently has 28 enterprise app development projects delayed and/or over budget. So if you are experiencing any or all of these issues with your enterprise app development situation, you are in good company.
Of course, being in good company is small consolation for frantic CIOs trying to keep up with seemingly impossible corporate demands for new and improved enterprise apps. The survey confirms the issue of enterprise app volume: on average, respondents have 46 enterprise apps to deploy, and 41% of the typical CIO’s budget is allocated to enterprise apps.
Despite having a good chunk of the budget dedicated to enterprise app development, only 24% of CIOs say staying on time and within budget has gotten easier, while 76% say achieving these basic project goals has remained the same level of difficulty or gotten harder. Early development appears to often be a prime trouble spot.
Roughly one-half (48%) of respondents indicated their toughest stage is development, while another 38% said their toughest stage is testing. Nearly half of IT executives believe this is because of the length of time required to test apps, the resistance they encounter from end users, and the limited skill-sets of their IT employees.
Thinking Outside the House
Many of the enterprise app development issues which are plaguing so many CIOs can be mitigated through the intelligent and selective application of IT outsourcing (ITO). That is not to say ITO is some kind of new magic headache elixir that can simply make the pain enterprise app development dissipate, but there are a few specific aspects of this situation that make ITO an ideal weapon for the arsenal of any CIO dealing with it.
For starters, app testing and development is a perfect stage of the process to outsource. The actual high-level strategic planning and design of enterprise apps to ensure they solve specific business problems remains in-house, but the often tedious and time-consuming lab work which follows is sent out-of-house to free up staff to work on other projects.
In addition, outsourcing select portions of the enterprise app development process resolves issues many CIOs have with a lack of the proper skills and knowledge among in-house employees. Rather than attempting to recruit, hire and train new employees, or attempt to provide additional or remedial training to existing employees, CIOs can simply put out an RFP and choose the ITO provider that best matches their specific needs.
CIOs investigating the outsourcing of part or all of their enterprise app development functions should also consider the advantages of nearshore outsourcing. Development and testing is actually a specialty of many nearshore ITO providers, and the elimination of many time zone, language and cultural issues can help foster agile development and other time- and money-saving initiatives.