Under pressure: enterprises want better software, delivered faster and cheaper

Survey finds demand is up for better user experiences and multi-device support. And, by the way, do it with the same budget as last year.

Development is the most expensive phase of the software lifecycle process, and is the most likely subject to cost overruns. But don't blame developers -- enterprises are demanding more costly and complex solutions, delivered at a much faster pace, across multiple platforms, with no increase in capacity.

Photo: Joe McKendrick

That's the word from a recent survey of 124 decision-makers or influencers of mobile and web app development and maintenance, conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Sencha.

Close to half the respondents, 48 percent, say development is the costliest part of the software cycle. Twenty percent say testing is the most costly, and 15 percent cite design.

While demands are rising, companies are not meeting that increased level of sophistication with increased investment levels for their development teams. A majority, 53 percent, of companies in the study did not plan to increase the capacity of the development teams. Adding to the pressure, 34 percent were not planning to increase timelines when developing new web and mobile applications.

Successful applications increasingly require greater technical complexity and sophistication -- 51 percent, for instance, believe that the mobile and web application user experience will become significantly more sophisticated in the next year.

Enterprises expect these more sophisticated apps to be created over a shorter timeline without a corresponding increase in developer capacity. For example, 65 percent of companies successfully managing these processes say they need to release new features or bug fixes for their applications at least once a month. Another six percent are even pumping out new releases every other week.

The proliferation of different devices also creates development and deployment challenges, the survey finds. Through all this, security is also one of the top concerns.

All this is pushing developers to web-based development platforms, and away from the native on-premises tools they may have favored in the past, the survey concludes. Close to two-thirds, 63 percent, say that web-based development environments are critical to their web and mobile application strategies. Twenty-seven percent say they will be moving away from native app development to web-based development over the coming year.

The report's authors make some recommendations to help ease the pressure:

  • "Look at tools that enable cross-platform development to drive consistency and help development teams do more with less."
  • "Build automation into current-state development processes, and invest in applications with the capabilities to support it."
  • "Examine your security concerns against the desired user experience to find the sweet spot that optimizes both experience and risk."
  • Ensure the right level of training and support for platforms adopted.