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Upgrading IT: Defining a New Approach to Custom Software Development

Staff, Appian
February 25, 2015

The word is out, IT professionals desire a new and improved way to develop custom software.

That was the key takeaway from Appian's recent omnibus survey.Fielding responses from 306 leading IT decision makers, the survey examined the trends and market opportunities in custom software and cloud-based application development platforms.

But really? Custom software? That's nothing new.

There have always been custom software pre-packages services available to IT and business leaders that can easily be obtained off the shelves. Access to enterprise technology has never been an issue.

Where IT desires an improved approach is the problems created by traditional software solutions. Too often, pre-packaged custom software is clunky and slow, taking a large effort to develop and deploy. Not to mention,once deployed, such solutions only serve as single purposed applications, limiting the amount of value they can bring to a business.

"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."

A major shift is taking place in enterprise-level software development as companies are looking toward using custom software instead of the pre-packaged variety, according to the recent 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.

The reason behind this? IT leaders require a modern application platform that allows their employees toaccelerate the delivery of solutions that are unique in creating value-added services.

As many as 87 percent of IT decision makers surveyed said they had a preference for custom software over pre-packaged software because it is designed to serve a unique need (51 percent) and has more options and ability to make enhancements (46 percent).

Additionally, going with a mobile-first approach was shown to be very important, with 70 percent of respondents saying their company is likely to invest in cloud-based application development programs, while 66 percent said they would go with custom software solutions sometime during the next five 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."

Additionally, those surveyed said the industries that will benefit most fromcustom-developed software are financial services, manufacturing, telecommunications and the health care/pharmaceutical sector.

We're pretty excited about the results of our survey and the light it has shed on this evolving industry. To learn more, downloadthe full survey results and take a look at the accompanying infographic.

-Mike Ingrisano, Media Relations Manager