Development Strategies for Digital Business Applications 


In recent months we have seen a big shift in the way customers are doing business, particularly in the banking sector, were driving down overhead costs remains high on the agenda. This is forcing businesses to look at new approaches to application development and bringing with it greater adoption of modern agile practices, new design methodologies and disruptive technologies. There is also a growing mindset of ensuring continuous quality during the transformation to these development strategies.


Enterprise application development within an organization typically evolves over time with more than 80% of enterprises still being in the early stages of digital innovation. However, external and internal market trends are bringing about more rapid change.. The technology impacts of cloud, mobile, big data and social media platforms already permeate the application development arena, but new digital innovation and disruption driven by  IoT, AI and machine learning is providing new opportunities forcing organizations to adapt faster than ever before.


Application development organizations responsible for designing, creating and delivering compelling user experiences in a timely and cost-effective manner must methodically introduce new digital DNA in the form of best practices, methodologies, technologies and mindset changes. These new activities are required for software organizations to deliver a modern style of customer interaction and user experience that are not only more

efficient but which also lead to higher customer satisfaction and value. Application leaders must think strategically about how IT and business can work together to best achieve the long-term change that results in new behaviours and business models.


One of the challenges we will be facing is how we exploit digital design methodologies to maximize the business value of apps and experiences.


The way in which users experience an app determines its value and success. Insufficient investment in upfront digital design efforts can quickly undermine the expected business benefits as they must be useful and also delightful to use.


An app is the appearance of a software packaging where value results from a specific, defined and sustained purpose. You must stress digital design mastery in order for application development teams to succeed in finding relevant uses for new and emerging app technologies.


According to Gartner’s 2018 CIO Report? ‘without mastery of digital design methodologies, an agile development process alone does not automatically make the user’s experience of the delivered solution any better than other approaches. UX quality should be a key success criterion and the success of an agile development project will hinge on investing time and effort into digital design by involving digital designers in the product’s development. The survey reports that 55% of top-performing organizations have UX designer roles, and 5% already have voice interaction designers. You should prioritize the digital design DNA (skills, staff and processes) that your organization

needs in order to improve the resulting UX and meet the increasing expectations of customers.’


A further challenge we face is how we are able to accelerate digital business by scaling Agile and DevOps methods.


Digital business transformation forces organizations to decrease the software cycle times between identifying a business need and having a deployed solution. This is evident in two of Gartner surveys in 2017 of Agile and Citizen development in the enterprise. The highest driver of both initiatives was to increase speed to deliver apps and products. Without an effective strategy and adequate resources, development leaders can only watch as business decision-makers outsource their most vital initiatives.


The organization will be forced to leave behind traditional waterfall methods and utilize agile development coupled with DevOps, as a tactical framework to scale and accelerate development. New digital DNA will be needed in the form of:


  • New skills acquisition and developer augmentation, including employing AI and machine learning to augment developers and testers.
  • New platforms, methodologies, languages and tools that facilitate consistent, effective agile practices.
  • Reorganization of development teams as cross-functional groups, drawing from operations, testing/quality assurance (QA), business units and even customers/partners.


The organization will also have to enlist, empower and guide those outside IT such as business analysts, marketers and HR professionals to contribute to app innovation during development.

Much needed, will be the implementation of a flexible development environment and a set of high-productivity tools that enable developers to proactively participate in app exploration and delivery within defined boundaries.


In considering the points raised above,  it is evident that digital transformation and the need to adapt is high on the CIO agenda……. which brings with it a new and exciting career and business opportunities.


Author: Renier Smith, General Manager Quality Services Bumblebee Consulting JHB