Firms with best apps tend to use external developers, survey finds

Organisations that deploy the most effective apps and web-based products are more likely to use external developers, research reveals.


Organisations that deploy the most effective apps and web-based products are more likely to use external developers, research reveals.

Enterprises are prioritising app and web-based products to meet market demands, but research by Apigee Institute has found that companies that deploy products on time, in budget and engage their customers use an ‘outside-in’ approach.

After surveying 800 IT decision makers in businesses taking in over £300 million ($500 million) in annual revenue, Apigee Institute’s research team split organisations into ‘app masters’ and the ‘app challenged’ and highlighted trends amongst the ‘app masters’.

IT leaders need to outsource app development and relinquish control over development if they are to develop successful products in an agile fashion, the report found.

“Traditional IT is no longer viable for the new world of apps. IT as we know it has been heavily conditioned by the legacy of a control-oriented approach used to build and manage the systems of record of the past,” said Bryan Kirschner, director of Apigee Institute.

“But this approach is incompatible with the new business imperative to deliver systems of engagement at the pace the market demands. We’ve found that those who are succeeding in app deployment have a strikingly different approach to their IT departments. They recognise the strategic value of leveraging external expertise to maximize their agility and adaptability - this fundamental shift is called ‘outside-in IT’.’’

While a quarter of ‘app challenged’ companies developed their apps in-house, only 11 percent of the “app masters” used internal resources.

Further, a third of the most successful app producers surveyed are actively looking for external resources, compared to six percent of the less successful organisations.


“Companies that have built strong capabilities to deploy apps, operate APIs and use analytics are outperforming those that have not,” the report stated. The report authors are part of Apigee, which provides an API platform.

APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) grant access to each application in a system, allowing organisations to create new apps by simply configuring features rather than writing code. Companies that have developed strong API and data sharing and analysis tools are more than three times as likely to be app masters, the report said.

While apps have traditionally followed an integration-server/application-server pattern, app masters surveyed tended to have used what Apigee describes as “the four-sided model of API architecture – app-to-client, app-to-backend, app-to-app and exploded app from micro service APIs”.

Of ‘app masters’, 85 percent are replacing legacy components with public or private cloud alternatives. Another 83 percent of this group reports committing to using cloud-based external resources wherever they meet business needs.

Legacy infrastructure?

Enterprises face more challenges with legacy infrastructure in comparison to new companies or start-ups that can create connected apps from scratch. But the study found that Infrastucture-as-a-Service (IaaS) is a possibility for creating a platform across an IT estate - allowing developers secure access to backend systems to build products.

On average, the best app producers said they had moved 80 percent of their IT to Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and 80 percent of their application development to Platform-as-a-service (PaaS). The less successful organisations reported only 44 percent of their IT to IaaS and Paas.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has deployed a new release of its API to make it easier for developers to create applications for its statistics is speeding up its innovation cycles by using APIs to mock up new features more quickly, as is European telecoms network, Orange.


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