application development

Improving application development will allow you to serve your customers better and at a lower price.

It doesn’t matter what your company does or what industry you are in. It doesn’t matter if you are a start-up business or a firm with decades of history behind you. If you want to be a successful CEO or CIO, there is one question you have to ask every day: “How can I become better than my competition?” And there is one answer that is going to bubble up to the top every time: “We’re going to be competitive through better customer-facing and back office application development.”

Think about it … being competitive always involves two key factors: happy customers (by making things easier, faster, or more enjoyable) and/or lower price. Both factors can be addressed with the right application development.

That is, application development that is targeted and timely.

Apps are at the center

If competitiveness relies so heavily on cost and customer experience, how do we get cost down and customer experience up? One of the primary ways is by targeting application development for your core business needs. For example:

  • Do your customers like your website?
  • Do your customers find ordering easy?
  • What happens when a customer calls in for service?
  • Do you have streamlined warehousing, distribution, and logistics?
  • Do your in-house applications talk to each other?
  • How does collaboration work among your teams and departments?
  • Do your customers get and pay their bills quickly?

Apps are at the core of all of these questions and hundreds more. To put it bluntly, if a bit simplistically, your business – whatever your business is – runs on its apps. And if that is the case, then your apps have a significant impact on your costs and your customer experience.

You moved to “agile” development – but your platforms are not agile

When you consider their impact on your company’s competitiveness, you quickly realize that apps aren’t “once and done.” If your apps become “stale,” so will your business. That’s why you have a development team. And two, three, maybe four times a year, the team comes up with a new release of an app.

Stop. “Two, three, maybe four times a year, the team comes up with a new release of an app.” Why so few new releases? Your business is moving faster than that. Market demands are changing sooner than that. The economic landscape is shifting more quickly than that. Why isn’t your development team coming out with new releases eight or ten times a year? Why not monthly? What’s the hold up?

Here’s the hold up: to put out a new release, your development team has to write new code and test it multiple times in the development area. Then, the new code is put into a staging environment where it undergoes user acceptance testing. From staging, it moves over to a pre-production holding tank. Finally, it is promoted to production.

That is four different steps – and four entirely different sets of hardware – that are needed for every new release of an application. And each of those steps takes anywhere from 12 to 45 days. No wonder you only get a max of four new releases a year.

Remove the infrastructure obstacles

Is this an acceptable situation for a CEO or CIO who is asking that key question, “How can I become better than my competition?”  No. You need new releases faster than that to remain competitive. You have to shave costs. You have to come up with the next “Wow” factor for your customers. Your business depends on it.

What if you could provide your development team each new environment they require in hours instead of days? That would dramatically reduce development cycle time, enhancing your overall competitive position in the marketplace.

Impossible? Not at all. Sungard Availability Services gives this ability to its Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) customers every day.

With DRaaS, you always have a full copy of your backup environment in the cloud, available to you to use however you want. If you need a copy of your environment for your development team, that can be set up in hours … not four or fourteen or forty days.

In fact, multiple groups – testing, staging, developers – can all have their own copies to work with, anytime they want. That’s convenient, since you might have developers in India, testers in Eastern Europe, a pre-production team in the suburbs, and your production team sitting in your data center downstairs. And here’s another key factor: all these people are in the same secure cloud, reducing your surface area of attack. They’re not using a public cloud or relying on shadow IT to get their jobs done.

There’s something else as well: this cloud environment is current. It gives you a copy of your production area as it is right now. That means you are testing apps in real-world conditions … not using old data or an incomplete facsimile of your infrastructure. With a better platform to test in, you increase the quality and reliability of your applications.

What if a business interruption happens during all this testing? No worries: development simply goes on hold while recovery happens. This translates to using your Test and Development investments for Disaster Recovery and Backup – and it’s always a wise move to use the same dollar to solve three problems. When your environment is recovered, development and testing resume.

“How can I become better than my competition?” It’s a critical question. What if you could say, “I’m enabling new applications and new releases to be developed faster than ever before, in a secure environment, using resources I already have on hand. These apps help me cut costs and enhance the customer experience. And I get a full disaster recovery and data protection solution to boot!” Now that’s an answer that leads to success!

Comment below to share your app innovations or app development tips that have led to success for your business.

Core Business Solutions: Application Management