Application Development’s Journey from
Speed to Awareness

by Dennis Drogseth, VP of Research, EMA

In 2019, EMA completed a provocative study, titled “Optimizing DevOps Initiatives: The View from Both Sides.” The report and analysis have proven to be worthy backdrops for our current groundbreaking research, “The State of Modern Application Development: A Journey from Speed to Awareness.” Our data shows clear signs of progress on multiple fronts, but also raises many questions about challenges and disconnects. I’ll share the highlights in a webinar on September 21st.

We looked at more than 300 respondents selected from an initial pool of more than 3,000 in North American, Europe, and APAC. The data delivers in-depth insights on cloud priorities, the move to edge and IoT, toolsets, process, organization, and other issues. All of this comes within the context of seeking improved effectiveness, both in speed of delivery and in performance and relevance.

A positive
Just one example of a clear sign of progress was the move to increased decentralization. The group affirming that they were now fully decentralized with multiple DevOps teams aligned with specific application and business needs came in at 25% in 2021, versus just 10% in 2019. Being fully decentralized favored effectiveness in both speed and performance. It also favored other trends that begin to flesh out the underlying realities behind just what “decentralization” means. This group was:

  • Very strongly more likely to have site reliability engineers (SREs) or their equivalent (a critical indicator of how they work)
  • Somewhat more likely to have VP or CIO IT oversight
  • Strongly more likely to have business executive involvement
  • Strongly more likely to leverage platform teams
Very strongly more likely to have a low-code/no-code environment to promote business interaction

A question
On the other hand, one of the question marks in process turned out to be the path to agility. In our 2021 research, only 17% claimed that all new applications are developed using agile or agile-related processes, while in 2019 it was 23%. In our research overall, 2021 showed itself to be more progressed in a wide variety of areas directly affecting agile outcomes. As such, it became apparent that the negative delta in affirming full levels of agility was less reflective of a setback than it was a statement of increased awareness. It suggests that our respondents have come to recognize that “agile” is not a linear path forward, but instead a multi-dimensional progression involving all of IT, as well as relevant business stakeholders. This makes sense when you consider the challenges inherent in the 2001 Manifesto for Agile Software Development and its technological, process-related, and cultural/political implications.

A mix of both
As we will show in our webinar, progress has come from a number of areas ranging from speed to more focused collaboration. Integrated security—both as a challenge and as a far more actively addressed concern—also stood out. Another standout was the dramatic rise in platform teams and solutions addressing their requirements for higher levels of automation and analytics to responsibly orchestrate binary and other deployments. With speed and automation came ongoing requirements for improved communication across development teams and between development, operations, and ITSM—as well as a growing and still underserved need to understand, share, and effectively prioritize critical insights on user needs, requirements, and behaviors.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of what the research revealed—data that I continue to process day after day with new discoveries and new awareness. On September 21, we’ll share far more specifics, along with a more in-depth perspective on the accelerating but still evolving state of modern application development.