Digital priorities shift to survival amid crisis and recovery

In a world economy that is reeling from the effects of the pandemic and a 25-percent global stock market crash, the top goal among firms is to improve agility and accelerate innovation, this year’s OutSystems State of Application Development survey shows.

The survey took place amid the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, between February 12 and March 31. The research covered IT professionals and senior businesspeople in all kinds of industry, across six continents. 

Southeast Asia — including Singapore, the Philippines and Vietnam — represent 9% of responses. From the region, results are based on responses from 2,200 IT professional and leaders across different industries.

“As the responses rolled in during late February and throughout March, we saw the reordering of other perceived threats following the pandemic lockdown crash,” OutSystems said. 

The fear of being disrupted by competitors appears more mixed in this region—existing competitors are a mid-table concern, new competitors second from bottom. The fear of government cutbacks causing disruption to respondents’ organisations was in last place, although disruptive regulatory change was the number three concern. 

For those who responded after the crash, the need to address evolving customer behaviour and preferences rose higher, and the need to outperform competitors fell to last place. 

Responses from Southeast Asia very closely correlated to the global survey. Two goals attracted slightly more attention—innovation and cybersecurity. Meeting the evolving expectations of employees was less of a concern.

Fueled by digital innovation and differentiation initiatives, demand for application development remains at the record high level that was seen in 2019.

Focusing on organisations with 500 or more employees, the survey found that 41% of respondents from Southeast Asia have 25 or more apps scheduled for delivery in 2020. Also, 27% said that they plan to deliver 100 or more applications during 2020. 

In Southeast Asia, only 16% of respondents described hiring developer roles as easy or very easy. Just 39% of firms have larger app dev teams than a year ago. 

“Our research shows that leaders in speed and agility are heavy investors in tech that speeds up delivery,” OutSystems said.

“According to their analysis, the top app dev challenges for those who are not agility leaders are legacy system integration/lacking API, fuzzy/changing requirements, lack of technical development skills, and mastering new technology and standards.