Radical Change by App Leaders is Key to Survival

Apr 7, 2016
5 Min Read
Radical Change by App Leaders is Key to Survival

Radical Change by App Leaders is Key to SurvivalTo meet growing business demands for faster, more innovative business applications and integration technologies, application leaders must embrace “radical changes,” finds a new report from Gartner.

The recommendations come after research shows that the application’s role is becoming much more important as a key strategy for organizations trying to remain competitive. Specifically, more companies are shifting their focus from containing costs and boosting efficiency to one that aims to attract new customers and turn out new products and services.

As a result, Gartner predicts the jobs of application leaders are going to grow more complex. The applications arena is already evolving to accommodate disruptive technologies such as cloud, big data, social networks and mobile. Now, the role of these leaders “has evolved into a more visible and strategic one” as they are “directly aligned with senior business executives and share responsibility for ensuring the organization’s overall successful business performance,” Gartner says.

For application leaders, these new challenges come at a time when they’re pressured daily with a growing demand for application services at a faster pace, talent shortages, vendor issues, budget shortfalls and new regulations.

“The net result is a piling on effect that makes applications increasingly complex and onerous to support and maintain, so that the IT organization faces a mounting backlog of requests and requirements,” Gartner says.

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Currently, applications consume about 33% to 39% of IT’s budget, finds Gartner's IT Key Metrics data. This does not include the data center, help desk and management costs dedicated to applications, which can propel the total to about half or two-thirds of the overall budget, data finds.

Since “virtually every function relies on applications,” and applications are such an integral part of an organization’s strategy, application leaders will be forced to “retool,” Gartner says. They need to be able to deliver core transactions and services that cost less while also coming up with new platforms for innovating applications.

“This will be done in an era where disruptive technologies are changing the way applications are delivered to the enterprise and its customers. It will require new skills, a reallocation of resources and new governance processes for working with the business,” they say.

Among Gartner’s recommendations to applications leaders to meet these challenges:

  • Refocus daily priorities. “While pressing tactical issues will consume much of your time, recalibrate your day-to-day activities to ensure adequate focus on strategy, innovation and review of how your organization is working,” Gartner says.
  • Take a wider view. Application leadership needs to focus on the full range of application disciplines and the capabilities necessary to accomplish business goals. “The days of IT pushing applications to an inexperienced business are gone,” Gartner says.
  • Start planning now. It’s time to start developing a new application strategy based on the organization’s new priorities and changing governance processes, and the company’s skills to support them.

Finally, Gartner warns that application leaders must make these changes or deal with the consequences.

Application leaders report that they spend up to 85% of their time evaluating solutions, managing day-to-day projects and maintaining the application environment. They regret that so little time is allocated to innovation, review and strategy. This pattern is a recipe for disaster, given the demands and trends in application development,” Gartner reports.

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