New Survey Finds Business Executives, IT Leaders Disagree on Future of Enterprise Technology Investment

Despite strong support for innovations in custom software and cloud-based application development platforms, Business Executives and IT Decision Makers disagree when it comes to the prioritization of and investment in these enterprise technology solutions, according to a new Harris Poll omnibus survey announced today by Appian. This is despite the fact that over $100 Billion is spent building custom applications each year.

In a national two-part study on current IT trends and market opportunities, this second survey fielded questions from 301 leading Business Executives from companies with more than $1 billion or more in revenue across diverse industries, services, locations and work force size. Part one of the study fielded questions from 306 IT Decision Makers. Business Executives report on-going maintenance of software/applications (47 percent), too many application and data silos (45 percent), high cost of software/application development (38 percent), and slow time to market/deployment of new applications (32 percent) as problems their company hopes to address by investing in technology.

Expressing support for innovative solutions, Business Executives (95 percent) and IT Decision Makers (94 percent) agree on the past challenges with legacy technology providers when building, implementing and maintaining custom software — defined as software applications that must be built by either a company’s internal IT team or through outsourced development because the required functionality cannot be purchased through a packaged software offering.

“While organizations have historically encountered challenges with custom software solutions from legacy technology providers, there is a better way to build, implement and maintain business applications,” said Matt Calkins, President and CEO of Appian. “With 95 percent of Business Executives believing that investment in technology gives them a competitive advantage, separating leaders from the followers, it is time for organizations to harness the power of next-generation applications and custom software.”

Investing in IT
Business Executive and IT Decision Makers disagree when it comes to investing in custom software and cloud-based application platforms:

  • 87 percent of respondents from both groups believe custom software is driving innovation in technology.
  • According to Business Executives, operations (60 percent), customer service (55 percent), and finance (50 percent) are the key business areas that are driving the need for new technological solutions and applications.
  • 70 percent of IT Decision Makers cited investment in cloud-based application development as a solution to custom software.
  • In contrast, only 58 percent of Business Executives understand the value of this solution from an investment perspective.

Benefitting from Cloud Applications and Custom Software
Business Executives and IT Decision Makers agree on the top benefits of custom software and cloud-based application platforms:

  • Business Executive and IT Decision Makers agree that the top benefit of custom software is its ability to be designed to serve a unique need (53 percent).
  • Agility to make enhancements (48 percent), delivering better customer service (45 percent), ease of integration (44 percent), and efficiency of software (44 percent) are also cited as benefits by Business Executives.
  • Business Executives and IT Decision Makers agree financial services is the industry that will most benefit from custom software (59 percent and 48 percent).
  • Retail (42 percent), telecommunications (41 percent), healthcare/pharmaceutical (39 percent), energy & utilities (38 percent), and manufacturing (38 percent) are also cited as top industries by Business Executives.

The survey findings were announced at Appian World 2015, which will be held April 27 – 29, 2015 at the Mandarin Oriental in Washington, D.C. and will explore the future of business and business applications.

In 2014, demand for Appian’s cloud-based platform increased 60 percent over the prior year, with total bookings and total revenues each increasing by 47 percent over 2013 for the overall business. Appian signed 41 new-name customers in financial services, telecommunications and healthcare, as well as additional significant deals in insurance, pharmaceuticals, retail, education, government.

Download the full survey report:

About Appian
As the market leader in modern Business Process Management (BPM) software, Appian delivers an enterprise application platform that unites users with all their data, processes, and collaborations — in one environment, on any mobile device, through a simple social interface. On-premise and in the cloud, Appian is the fastest way to deliver innovative business applications. For more information, visit

Business Executive Survey Methodology*
An online omnibus survey was fielded for Appian by Harris Poll among 301 Business Executives in February 2015 to better understand trends and market opportunity in business process management solutions (BPM), custom software and cloud-based application development platforms. The sample consisted of 301 leading executives from companies with $1 billion or more in revenue in diverse industries, services, location, and work force size.

Information Technology Decision Makers (ITDM) Survey Methodology**
The Nielsen/Harris Interactive Information Technology Decision Makers (ITDM) omnibus was fielded for Appian in December 2014 among those working full-time, with sole or a major influence on IT decision-making at a company with 20+ employees, as well as a balance of companies with less than 250 employees and companies with more than 250.