Despite app backlogs, developers say their efforts are underfunded and undertrained, and lack a priority for security
We’ve long written about the challenges enterprises face when developing the apps they need, digging out of app backlogs and technical debt, and the overall importance of running a productive development pipeline. And, how to keep up, enterprise’s are seeing more and more citizen developers rising to fill in try to close the lag between what software apps they need built.
Which is why it was disheartening to read in a recently published report, “Investment in Enterprise Developers is the Best Risk Management System,” based on a survey of more than 100 developers by the Application Developers Alliance, that 40 percent of respondents have experienced failed development efforts from lack of funding, and a third are concerned that current projects could be pulled for budgetary reasons. Also, despite survey after survey of executives citing security as a “top priority,” only 45 percent of enterprise developers surveyed believe that their organization sets a “high” priority for security.
Not surprisingly, according to the survey, four out of five enterprise developers surveyed work on Windows and/or OS X, and 24 percent work on Linux. Yet only 20 percent work on mobile platforms exclusively. And, interestingly, two-thirds of enterprise developers develop their apps exclusively HTML5, hybrid or native, with native being the most common. And, not surprisingly today, cloud is the most common way to deploy apps during development, test or production.
Unfortunately, many developers report underfunding in technology, processes and training. A third report outdated technology and processes in their organizations—more than half (51 percent) of those in organizations with more than 100 employees.
Leadership Falling Short in Many Areas
When it comes to cultivating processes and technology guidance, many enterprises also fall short. Only 37 percent of those surveyed said their organization has a Center of Excellence. Not surprisingly, the larger enterprises were more likely to have a Center of Excellence; however the lack of such centers is more common in North America and Europe, Middle East and Africa. Most every organization surveyed in Asia, however, has a dedicated Center of Excellence. Additionally, a surprisingly low 29 percent of of developers surveyed reported that they are required to attend training, certification programs or other continuing education.
That’s stunning, considering that increasingly businesses are driven by their digital efforts. There’s no shortage of surveys citing this. In a recent study commissioned by CA Technologies, “The Battle for Competitive Advantage in the App Economy,” 43 percent of survey respondents said that becoming software-driven is central to being competitive today, and nearly 80 percent said that would be true in three years. Broadly, to be competitive in the years ahead, enterprises are going to have to be exceptional software companies in addition to their core current products and services. Yet survey after survey finds that enterprises are falling behind in their app development goals and are having a challenging time finding the talent they need.
Additionally, the Application Developers Alliance survey found that only 50 percent of enterprises discuss the capabilities and skills they need to succeed, while only 26 percent integrate such competencies in their evaluation process. And, just as when it came to establishing Centers of Excellence, Asian companies stood out, with 78 percent of Asian developers saying necessary skill development is discussed.
Centers of Excellence, the Application Developers Alliance survey found, also are excellent indicators of whether an enterprise is committed to building secure software. While 64 percent of developers believe they’re “adequately” trained to build secure software, more than 70 percent at organizations with a Center of Excellence contend that security is a high priority where they work. If they work in an organization without a Center of Excellence, that number drops to 28 percent, and 17 percent rank security as a low priority in such enterprises.
Clearly, if enterprises expect to compete globally in the years ahead they’re going to need to step up their priorities when it comes to budgeting app development, cultivating the skills they need and building the internal organization necessary to succeed as a digital enterprise.