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Forrester Reports on State of App Dev

Study indicates that enterprises and small to midsized business (SMBs) are spending more money on software development and new projects than in the past.

February study by Forrester Research indicates that enterprises and small to midsized business (SMBs) are spending more money on software development and new projects than in the past.

Forrester surveyed 1,078 technology decision makers at North American and European enterprises and 1,126 technology decision makers at North American SMBs. The firm found that improved automation, productivity tools and technology consolidation had driven down IT operating costs. The result: For enterprises, new initiatives and projects accounted for 33 percent of software budgets in 2007, up from 25 percent in 2006.

Carey Schwaber, an analyst at Forrester, says the figures are long overdue. "Isn't that great news? It's the kind of thing that we've heard as part of the poor state of affairs in app dev for so long. We've been tracking this for so many years and we've never seen it this high."

The study also highlighted key trends in platform adoption, particularly between Java and .NET. For instance, the study showed that larger enterprises were much more likely to employ Java, reflecting the platform's strength in server and integration-related deployments. The study reports Java use at 28 percent in large enterprises, 38 percent in very large enterprises, and 43 percent in global enterprises.

Of interest, says Schwaber, is the fact that Java shops tend to employ other platforms. Only 23 percent of enterprises reported using Java alone. Microsoft shops, by contrast, tended to be more faithful. Of organizations using the .NET platform 47 percent reported using no other platform.

Schwaber says higher .NET adoption rates among smaller companies may account for the difference. "If they're an SMB they are more likely to get away with that than a larger enterprise," she says.

The large number of organizations employing both Java and .NET create tough challenges, particularly in the area of tools adoption. Companies may decide to arm teams with the best possible tools -- Eclipse for Java, and Visual Studio for .NET -- and simply forego integration. Schwaber says the proliferation of shared components and SOA makes that an unpalatable choice for many. The result: Managers may end up buying one-size-fits-all tools, rather than best-of-breed solutions.

"There aren't any easy answers to make in that area," says Schwaber. "I don't envy shops that have to make that choice."

About the Author

Michael Desmond is an editor and writer for 1105 Media's Enterprise Computing Group.

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