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Press Release

New Technology Sector Emerges from Boom in Custom Software Industry

Appian Contributor
February 18, 2015

87 percent of IT Decision Makers believe custom software is driving technology innovation

RESTON, Va.—February 18, 2015— A new market is emerging for modern application platforms for custom software development, according to the findings of an omnibus survey of Information Technology (IT) Decision Makers* released today by Appian. Fielding questions from 306 respondents, the survey examined the trends and market opportunities in custom software and cloud-based application development platforms.

Survey respondents expressed vast support for custom software, defined as software applications that must be built by either a company’s internal IT team or through outsourced development because the required functionality cannot be purchased through a packaged software offering. In fact, 97 percent expressed confidence in using custom software, with 94 percent likely to recommend its use. The focus on custom software solutions comes as many enterprises grapple with the need for new application development approaches that meet the demands of 21st-Century business, with the speed of delivery acting as a primary barrier in meeting today’s IT priorities.

“The industry for custom software development must change,” said Matt Calkins, CEO and President of Appian. “72 percent of IT professionals acknowledge that traditional solutions are too slow, and this prevents them from infusing their companies with digital business innovation.”

Preference for Custom Software

For 87 percent of IT Decision Makers surveyed, custom software is driving innovation in business technology. An overview of key findings includes:

  • Half of respondents (52 percent) are more likely to use custom software over pre-packaged software.
  • The top benefits cited by respondents for leveraging custom software include efficiency of software (53 percent), designing to serve unique need (51 percent) and ability to make enhancements (46 percent).
  • When considering the industries that will most benefit from custom software, financial services (48 percent) and manufacturing (41 percent) top the list. They are followed closely by telecommunications (39 percent) and the healthcare/pharmaceutical sector (38 percent).

Future Investment in Cloud and Custom Solutions

Seeking to leverage the benefits of a mobile-first approach, seven in ten respondents report that their company will invest the most in cloud-based application development programs (70 percent) and in custom software solutions (66 percent) over the next five years. While it is becoming increasingly popular, not all use cases are suitable for cloud-hosted development, and therefore modern application platforms must provide functional parity both in the cloud and on-premise, with the ability to migrate between environments. From the survey:

  • 91 percent of respondents believe a new market is emerging for modern cloud-based application platforms that dramatically reduce the time and cost required to build, deploy, and maintain custom software solutions.
  • The overwhelming majority of those surveyed are supportive of cloud-based application development platforms, with 88 percent of respondents believing the sector has the potential to positively impact their company.
  • Nearly half of IT Decision Makers (46 percent) report their companies are in the process of migrating to a cloud-based application development platform, with 24 percent reporting that their companies have already migrated and 15 percent reporting that their companies will migrate in the next 1-5 years.

“With more of today’s enterprise IT decisions motivated by business growth, we are seeing widespread adoption of a mobile-first approach for every day, core business processes in order to boost performance,” said Calkins. “With this trend, Appian customers are seeking to create custom software applications designed uniquely for their businesses, giving decision makers seamless access to vital systems and information, anywhere from any device. That’s what allows custom software to drive such efficiency and innovation. It is also why there is such an enormous opportunity for a new type of application platform that delivers modern apps more quickly, at lower cost, via the cloud as a service.”

In 2014, demand for Appian’s cloud-based platform increased 60 percent over the prior year, with total bookings and total revenues each increasing by 47 percent over 2013 for the overall business. Appian signed 41 new-name customers in financial services, telecommunications and healthcare, as well as additional significant deals in insurance, pharmaceuticals, retail, education, government.

Click download to get the full survey report.


The Nielsen/Harris Interactive Information Technology Decision Makers (ITDM) omnibus is fielded among those working full-time, with sole or a major influence on IT decision-making at a company with 20+ employees, as well as a balance of companies with less than 250 employees and companies with more than 250.

About Appian

Appian is a software company that automates business processes. The Appian AI Process Platform includes everything you need to design, automate, and optimize even the most complex processes, from start to finish. The world's most innovative organizations trust Appian to improve their workflows, unify data, and optimize operations—resulting in better growth and superior customer experiences.

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