A survey of 500 IT and engineering leaders in the U.S. published today finds organizations build an average of 6.7 internal applications per year themselves in addition to investing in 7.7 separate platforms to build applications.
Commissioned by Internal, a provider of platforms for building application development environments, the survey also found organizations are spending 40% of their time building and maintaining these internal tools and workflows. While more than three-quarters (76%) of respondents said that this work is necessary, it distracts from building applications that drive business revenue. A total of 82% said a lack of true flexibility and customization is the top reason so much time is spent on building and managing internal tools and workflows.
A full 94% of respondents said they want a more collaborative platform that enables technical and non-technical users to build internal tools/workflows faster together. The survey also found 91% of respondents believe a platform that encompasses application development and workflow automation would save development time.
Internal CEO Arisa Amano said one thing that holds IT teams back is that managing the platforms used to build applications requires too much programming expertise. Internal is making a case for a graphical approach to building application development environments so IT administrators can easily construct them using a drag-and-drop interface on behalf of an application development team. That approach makes it possible to allocate more programming resources to building applications, she said.
More organizations than ever are revisiting how applications are built as the number of projects increases despite an uncertain global economy, noted Amano. Organizations of all sizes are reluctant to hire additional full-time engineers even as digital transformation initiatives demand a growing number of custom applications, she added. The only way to effectively address those conflicting goals is to adopt a platform that automates much of the workflow associated with building an application development environment, said Amano.
It’s not clear how willing DevOps teams are to replace the platforms they use today to build those environments, but many organizations are still relying on bespoke platforms they built and continue to maintain. Many of those platforms are made up of a collection of tools that DevOps teams cobbled together over the years. However, many of the software engineers that initially built those integrations may have since moved on and the documentation left behind is likely to be scant, noted Amano.
Most DevOps teams in 2023 will continue investing in higher automation levels to accelerate application development. The quandary they all face is whether to continue to invest in the platforms they have already or migrate to a platform that makes it simpler to build and maintain an application environment using automated workflows built and maintained by a vendor. Regardless of what they choose, it’s certain the days when organizations could afford to throw engineers at every integration challenge have come to an end.