Australia yet to tap the application economy: CA

Summary:Australian enterprises are 'not quite ready' to embrace the application economy, despite most executives seeing applications as being fundamental to business growth, according to CA Technologies ANZ's Hope Powers.

Australian organisations are not yet embracing the application economy, despite being in a position to do so, according to CA Technologies' Australia and New Zealand senior vice president and managing director, Hope Powers.

Powers, who spoke at the CA Expo '14 event in Sydney on Tuesday, said that less than a third of local business feels ready to tap into the "application economy", a term which CA refers to as a mixture of development, marketing, and sales of IT applications, and results in a rapid devops style of application development, with frequent, continual updates.

"About 30 percent [of senior management] said that they were doing between one and zero application releases per year," said Powers. "Now, when you think about the companies that are really thriving in the application economy, they're doing at least two per month.

"This is really important, given that the application economy is driven by an iterative, fast development, test, and release cycle. This poses the question as to whether Australian organisations are ready for the application economy. And the answer is, not quite," she said.

The constraining forces in the market preventing companies from making the leap into devops and the application economy, according to Powers, include security, time, cost, and skills.

"If we can remove these, we can leap forward quickly. And there's no excuse. Organisations that don't address these barriers and risks will be left behind," she said. "How do you succeed in the application economy? You need to reduce costs, you need to free up time so that your application developers can be more creative.

"You need to upskill your developers, and support them as the heroes of your business, and finally to enable security, to provide an environment where the business and its customers can come together through applications," she said.

Andi Mann, vice president, business unit strategy, office of the CTO for CA Technologies Global, said that although Australian enterprises have not yet taken advantage of the application economy, they are in a good position to do so.

"They [businesses] want to do applications and join the application economy, they see it as strategically important; 72 percent think of it as very strategically important — fundamental to the organisation, even," Mann told ZDNet.

Mann said that in a lot of cases, it is the prospect of large cost outlay that holds businesses back from making the move.

"Between 50 and 90 percent of IT budgets are spent keeping the lights on," he said. "Those big old traditional systems of record, while they're important because they're keeping your business going, if you're putting all of your energy and your budget into those systems, then you're not able to get new applications developed, because you just don't have the resources."

However, Mann said that if enterprises start to look at IT as part of their business portfolio, and take more of a startup-type approach to their development and delivery, they could get themselves into a position to try something "fundamentally different" in their IT operations.

"I think sometimes you've got a trade-off," he said. "We see that sometimes in some of the younger startups — they release products that might not be absolutely perfect first time, but they provide useful value, something new and different, and a lot of the traditional larger enterprises need to take that sort of attitude on board.

"ANZ and National Australia Bank are just two of our very big customers who are doing devops today. If some of the very largest organisations in Australia are doing it, everybody should be doing it," he said.

Topics: Emerging Tech, Australia, Tech Industry

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Leon covers enterprise technology and start-ups from ZDNet's Sydney newsroom.

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