App Vision World Tour – week two – Europe

It is all over now … and the fat lady did sing.

Just got back from a very successful tour of 6 cities, week one LA, New York, Atlanta, and week two Milan, Paris and London – check out the video on YouTube.

Between the two weeks I took the show on the road in Macao without my new best friend from Gartner, Tom Murphy.

This last week has been the European part of the tour. What is interesting is the difference between the IT issues in Europe compared to those in the United States. But what is more interesting is what is the same.

The message of the “squeeze” on the IT budget resonated very well in both hemispheres. Everyone knows that they are facing the impossible challenge of doing more with less and keeping the existing services up to scratch. I spoke to one CIO who said that he is facing the prospect of not meeting his service level agreements next year because of the cuts he is being forced to make. He doesn’t know if he should be renegotiating the SLA’s or letting the customers know, ahead of time, that his responsiveness will be impaired. Either way he is going to look like he doesn’t know how to do his job – all can do is just complain about it and hope someone hears and comes to their senses before it affects customers and sales.

In Milan I spoke with an application development manager who said that he does not have the resources he needs to meet even the maintenance tasks let alone the do the innovation the business is seeking. He is seriously concerned that if any changes that are legislative or compliance in nature come along he will not be able to get to them and expose the business to audit failures.

On both sides of the Atlantic the story is the same: serious concerns about meeting the demands of the business next year.

One difference though seems to be in the solutions. While we are seeking to move more and more of our development off-shore here in the US there is increasing reluctance to do so in Europe. The experience of several customers in the events was the same. Off-shore productivity was not being delivered, nor the quality and the communication issues required more and more management time. Several customers had brought their entire operation back onshore or were seeking near-shore alternatives like Northern Ireland where the UK government has amazing programs to subsidize employment (see InvestNI).

And in London I had two separate conversations where customers told me that they had reached the point where they felt they had to rethink the very basis upon which they develop software. Existing tools and methods were just not delivering at the velocity the business needed and they were seriously considering replacing everything with one end-to-end solution in the hope that this would bring efficiencies and in communication and collaboration. I think they had drunk some other vendors potions. Clearly they were desperate and needed help. I’ve heard the same story while on the road in the US too. There is a real need to drive efficiency into application development.

Tom and finished our tour with a celebratory dinner in London’s Brick Lane where we had that most traditional of English food – curry.

It was an amazing journey and, it turns out, just the beginning as I now take the show on the road to all the Serena offices and to the customer base.

Oh, and the fat lady singing? Tom and I went to see Phantom of the Opera on out last night. Just wonderful!

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