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Enterprise Software Development Costs Are Too High

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Enterprise Software Development Costs Are Too High

Are companies are using software that’s not fit for their purposes, just because it’s too expensive to replace? Automation can help update legacy systems.

· DevOps Zone ·
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Learn more about how CareerBuilder was able to resolve customer issues 5x faster by using Scalyr, the fastest log management tool on the market. 

The enterprise is firmly focused on innovating at speed. The need for agility, which enables the rapid assimilation of new technology and user feedback, is widely accepted. Advancements like the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, and big data analytics herald a brave new world of possibilities, but that potential can only be unlocked if you modernize.

While the benefits of developing new platforms, integrating systems, and employing the latest and greatest software tools are tantalizing, realizing them can be prohibitively expensive. That’s why so many companies stick with legacy systems and employ dated software that was never designed to be used in the way, or on the scale, that it is being used.

The Backlog is Growing

The idea that there’s a backlog in enterprise development has been around for years. Few companies can afford to maintain and modernize legacy systems, and develop the new applications their workers and customers want. The necessary budget, skills and knowledge, and the developers required, simply aren’t available.

When global IT professionals were surveyed, 67% said their organization plans to build at least ten apps this year, and 25% said they expect to build 50 apps. Yet 76% of respondents to OutSystems’ State of Application Development: 2017 Research Report said it takes at least three months to deliver a complete mobile app. When 62% agree that the backlog is growing because they can’t meet the current level of demand, there’s obviously something wrong with the model.

Stuck in the Past

Many companies are still beholden to Excel spreadsheets, apps built with Microsoft Access, and legacy data in Lotus Notes. It’s not unusual to have hundreds, or even thousands, of spreadsheets and databases spread across multiple divisions and departments across the world. 44% of enterprise-sized companies admitted that they grapple with multiple, inconsistent spreadsheets in a survey by Ventana Research. There’s a lack of standardization, these systems are error-prone, and they’re still growing.

Distributed data is often processed manually. Even simple, repetitive tasks, best completed through automation, are often left to increasingly demoralized staff. Everyone knows that collating and homogenizing data requires speed and consistency – the hallmark of automation – and yet they rely on manual processes.

What’s stopping enterprises from fixing problems like this? The short answer is money.

The Price Is Wrong

Many businesses lack the internal bandwidth to attempt big, complex projects, and when they talk to software platform providers, they learn that the fresh, bespoke system of their dreams is going to break the bank. Not only are they staring at the prospect of investing millions for an uncertain outcome that will take months, they’re also being asked to lock themselves into another company’s roadmap.

It’s as though the sellers hold all the cards, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Software development is overpriced for several reasons. At its root, the assertion that every business requires its own tailor-made system, built from the ground up, is patently false. Under the hood, a lot of different applications are very similar, and so are the business processes that drive the modern enterprise.

Combine Pragmatism and Automation

If we accept that the underlying processes that are required are finite, we can use standard building blocks as a foundation and make enormous savings. There’s no need to keep reinventing the wheel. Further, we can harness the advancements in automation technology to quickly configure what we need into a working software program without having to hire a large team of skilled developers.

The people pushing the view that enterprise-level software development is all about monolithic, black box projects that are enormously expensive and time-consuming are mostly consultants and vendors with vested interests. What’s worse is that they can’t even guarantee success. On average, large IT projects, costing $15 million or more, run 45% over budget and 7% over time, while delivering 56% less value than predicted, according to McKinsey & Company.

The idea of investing a relatively small sum to quickly and automatically produce a working prototype of an application, that can then be used and honed through feedback, in accordance with the principles of agile development, is perfectly realistic. Good software doesn’t emerge fully formed, it evolves, but it shouldn’t cost the earth to develop.

Find out more about how Scalyr built a proprietary database that does not use text indexing for their log management tool.

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