Over 700 IT leaders respond to Logicalis’ fourth annual Global CIO Survey

The statement “every company is a software company” has practically been on repeat over the last few years. When it was first uttered, it was more of a future-gazing, stake-in-the-ground pronouncement – and its application to today’s world is probably still a bit premature. Not every business is a software business – yet – but Logicalis’ 2016 Global CIO Survey suggests that we’re getting there, with the help of a few shining lights along the way.

In 2013, a Forbes article (“Now Every Company is a Software Company”) noted that Ford sells computers-on-wheels and FedEx boasts a developer skunkworks (a loosely structured group of people who research and develop a project primarily for the sake of radical innovation). Both are great examples of the happy union between traditional industries and technology industries, and today, the two are not as isolated as you might think. In our 2016 annual survey of over 700 CIOs worldwide, we found that 77 percent of firms are developing their own apps in-house, with the help of third parties, or drawing on a combination of internal and external skills.

In fact, not only is the volume of companies getting up-close-and-personal with application development starting to swell, but app development as a strategic activity is attracting more attention and, increasingly, even taking center stage. Today, less than a quarter of apps (23 percent) are purely promotional. The majority are being used to build new services and revenue (57 percent) or streamline business processes (63 percent).

Developing for Digital

We tend to associate apps with the Apple app store or the Android marketplace, but they’re so much more than website spin-offs for mobile users. Enterprise-grade applications are replacing “big tech.”  With the goal of putting automation at their core and providing frictionless self-service experiences, companies are bringing workloads up to the application level.

In the past, we’ve emphasised the benefits of instituting a Dev-Ops strategy to develop code with fewer defects and support challenges once it’s released into production. The message to the 64 percent of businesses developing apps in-house would be to take a digital performance readiness approach and embrace agile from the beginning. Allowing updates to be made quickly and regularly for constant refinement will create “killer apps” with a punch to disrupt for the better.

Smart Software

As the research attests, all sorts of companies are creating their own luck and doing some sort of app wizardry to get ahead.

Book publishers, for example, are transforming themselves into software companies to offer digital content and branded applications. Airline companies are building equipment-tracking apps to provide engineers with a live view of the locations of each piece of airline maintenance equipment. And pharmaceutical companies are creating medication temperature monitoring apps which use sensors to ensure the best possible delivery of medical supplies.

Overall, apps are making businesses a lot smarter. Their ability to gather tremendous amounts of data from sensors and other sources, using machine learning algorithms and predictive analytics makes them the brains behind a company’s transformation and the driving force behind our respondents’ digital transformation journey. Paraphrasing a now-famous quote, “It’s all about the apps, silly.”

 

Want to learn more? Compare this year’s results to the third annual 2015 Logicalis CIO survey, “The Shadow IT Phenomenon” here: http://ow.ly/tJgm3057hwP. And, if you’re looking for trends, explore Logicalis’ 2014 CIO report, “Establishing the Internal Service Provider,” as well as the 2013 report, “Embracing a New IT Reality.” You can also read related blog posts about what digital transformation means to CIOs worldwide, why digital transformation is becoming a familiar trend, and about the rise of the shadow IT department. Learn more about the service-defined digital transformation organizations worldwide are undergoing in this WatchIT video featuring Logicalis US CEO Vince DeLuca. And finally, read a Logicalis white paper: “Why Every CEO Wants to Lead a Service-Defined Enterprise and Why the CIO Needs to Make It Happen.”