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Application Development challenges and opportunities in six charts

Demand for application development is at an all-time high, so what are businesses doing to adapt?

code, low-code, application development, app dev, developer

There is no doubt that the need for digital transformation dominates strategies for forward-thinking businesses. As a result, demand for application development is at an all-time high, even for organisations which aren't traditionally software-focused, meaning that speed and agility are more important than ever before.

Earlier this year, Outsystems conducted a survey of more than 3,500 IT professionals from around the world to find out how organisations' application development priorities are adjusting and adapting in the digital age, as well as the main challenges, opportunities, and strategies to overcome resource constraints and reduce backlogs.

Here, we have rounded up some of the key findings for developers and IT professionals in six charts.

When it comes to the types of applications being developed this year, apps being used directly by customers and apps supporting internal processes lead the pack. Although it is unsurprising that customer app development comes first, the proportion of projects dedicated to supporting internal operations and replacing legacy systems shows that there is still a great deal of transformation that businesses need to undergo before they can focus completely on their customers.

The survey revealed that there is a close correlation between web and mobile development times, with mobile apps taking slightly longer than web apps. What is also apparent is that organisations using low-code consistently report faster delivery speeds, particularly among those who are able to develop apps in just 1-4 months.

All organisations are looking to continuously improve the efficiency, speed and quality of software delivery, and the survey revealed that agile approaches are currently the most popular way of doing this. DevOps (development and operations) and SecDevOps (security development and operations) are also a popular way of increasing capacity, with 40% of respondents saying they had invested in it in the past year.

The top challenges complicating or delaying delivery of web and mobile applications were legacy system integrations, and having to deal with unclear or changing requirements. There were a variety of other issues, but many of the responses came under the themes of management and project management weaknesses, technical constraints of development tools, skill shortages, lack of business engagement, and security.

55% of respondents indicated that their organisation had outsourced some development in the past year, for both web and mobile applications. Mid-sized organisations were the most likely to outsource development (61%), with large organisations of over 10,000 employees claiming to make the least use of outsourced development (49%).

Over a third of respondents said that a no-code or low-code development platform was currently a part of their IT strategy, with a further 9% indicating that they would start to use one soon. Of those that are using low-code, half of the organisations were using them for customer-facing portals and web applications, with many citing accelerating digital transformation and innovation as a primary reason for adoption.

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