Choice and Flexibility: New Approaches in Application Development and Delivery
Traditionally, outsourcing application development has enabled organisations to reduce IT operating costs, tap into specialist skills and enable core, internal IT staff to focus on strategic tasks. The need for CIOs to capitalise on these benefits look set to continue, in fact a recent survey by Harvey Nash found that application development remains the most intensively used outsourced service by CIOs.
Fast turnaround on application development projects is, of course, a key metric against which success is measured. It’s about getting the job done within budget and timescales and, for the client, cost is – and will continue to be – a principal driver. For the provider, delays not only mean lost revenue, but over-runs can also have a longer term impact on their reputation and competitiveness.
Of course, taking an application from idea to deployment is not without risks and complexities so equipping teams with the tools that can enable fast completion and remove the complexity of projects can make a considerable difference in success or failure.
What’s more, in this cloud driven, multi-device age, the ability to ‘future-proof’ applications is going to be an increasingly important success factor. When creating a new application, an organisation may not always know exactly which platform or device they could require in the future. It can be particularly difficult to predict what changes lie ahead in this era of mobility and cloud where on-premise applications may need to be broadened to allow different deployment modes such as SaaS, or taken to new platforms, for example deploying a mobile application from Windows to Android.
New approaches are now helping development teams faced with such challenges, to simplify the code writing process, reduce development time and then enable an application to be distributed to a number of different deployment channels. These engines use pre-compiled and pre-configured business logic that contain pre-written coding functionality and services. An application platform results typically in fewer coding mistakes, faster project completion and the ability to adapt applications to a business’s changing needs. For example, it provides teams with the option of building and running a cloud application offering, in addition to a client‐server on‐premise deployment model from just one development process. The application can be repurposed at any time for a different channel without the need to re‐code the application entirely from scratch.
The benefits of this work both ways - for the outsourcing partner this is about delivering choice to the client, enabling faster project turnaround and empowering customers with the options to take applications to whichever device and platform they may wish to with minimal impact on time and resources. The ability to offer this kind of differentiated service - whether it’s creating an application to help sales staff access customer data from their mobile phone or enabling field engineers to access stock information more quickly - could also be the route to reach a wider market and enable greater business opportunities, in the future.