IT leaders across Asia Pacific reported talent scarcity, massive backlogs, and aging infrastructure as top concerns.

OutSystems has published its sixth annual research report on the state of application development and the challenges faced by development and delivery teams.

The report unveiled detailed survey results from over 3,300 IT professionals in all industries across the world, 17% of which are from Asia Pacific (APAC).

 “Our 2019 survey shows that many IT departments are facing a multitude of disruptive forces when it comes to digital transformation and application development,” said Steve Rotter, CMO for OutSystems.

“The threat of digital disruption and the need for digital transformation has been a driver of IT strategy for years. Add to that the current uncertain global economic outlook, and it becomes obvious why business leaders are so concerned about agility today.”

The new research report provided in-depth insights from IT managers, enterprise architects, and developers addressing a wide range of issues. Digital transformation dominates business strategy today, which is why web and mobile development demand is booming. Moreover, speed and agility are more important than ever before, Rotter explained.

This report explored the priorities and challenges of application development and delivery, and the strategies that IT teams are using to try to speed up delivery.

Six key findings that impact every IT professional:

  • Demand for app dev soars: The number of applications slated for delivery in 2019 has increased 60%, according to respondents globally, 38% of whom plan to deliver 25 or more apps this year. In APAC, 69% of respondents planned to deliver 10 or more applications in 2019, with 52% of APAC respondents targeting to deliver 50 or more applications in the year ahead.
  • Steep development time: 46% of respondents in APAC said the average time to deliver a web or mobile application is five months or more.
  • Backlogs remain: 63% of IT professionals in APAC said they have an app dev backlog, with 16% of these respondents having a backlog of more than 10 applications.
  • Development talent hard to find and keep: Most respondents have hired developers, 75% of respondents globally described app dev talent as scarce, and only 36% of organizations in APAC have larger app dev teams than a year ago. The numbers appear to show retention of app dev talent is an equally grave concern.
  • Agile practices are still slow to mature: 69% of organizations in APAC have invested in agile tools and services in the past year. However, the average agile-maturity score was a lackluster 2.76 out of 5, meaning most organizations in the region are still in the process of defining agile processes.
  • Customer-centricity continues to rise: Over 69% of organizations in APAC have invested in customer-centric practices in the past year, including customer journey mapping, design thinking, and lean UX. For the new apps slated for development in 2019, those that will be used directly by customers or business partners were identified as most important.

Low-code has become mainstream

Another key research finding was that low-code is no longer just for innovators and early adopters. 43% of APAC respondents said that their organization was already using a low-code platform, and a further 12% said that their organization was planning to start using one soon.

The analysis in the report identified that organizations using low-code are:

  • 26% more likely to describe their organization as satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the speed of application development
  • 11% more likely to deliver web applications in four months or less
  • 15% more likely to deliver mobile applications in four months or less
  • 20% more likely to score their agile maturity as level 3, 4 or 5
  • 12% more likely to say that their app dev backlog has improved since last year
  • Reporting a 16% higher self-assessment score for digital transformation maturity

“Our findings in the 2019 State of Application Development Report crystallize a trend we have been observing in recent years – the uptake of low-code development platforms supporting innovation, continuous delivery, and better talent resource management in enterprises,” said Mark Weaser, regional vice-president, APAC, OutSystems.

“No longer reserved for innovators and early adopters, low-code development platforms have definitely crossed the chasm and are well on the way to widespread adoption in Asia Pacific by the early majority.”