A Silicon Valley CIO’s conundrum: With mobile apps, do you build or buy?

Santa Clara County CIO Ann Dunkin wants to build a more mobile-friendly environment for local residents, offering a one-stop shopping experience on municipal websites that are mobile platform agnostic. The question: Do you build or buy those apps?

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Ann Dunkin took over as the CIO of Santa Clara County's municipal government five months ago, and ever since she has been absorbed by reorganizing and restructuring the county's IT functions.

The county government, which serves more than 1.7 million residents, is working to revamp the online and mobile experience, whether it's for requesting a wedding license, paying property taxes, viewing restaurant inspection ratings or making reservations at the two municipal airports.

ann dunkin, Santa Clara County CIO Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County CIO Ann Dunkin.

One of Dunkin's goals is to deploy mobile apps that offer a one-stop shopping experience and are platform agnostic, meaning it won't matter whether a resident uses an iOS, Android or Windows mobile device or a desktop PC to access online services. The county includes the cities of San Jose, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale.

Santa Clara County faces a problem that is growing more prevalent in the U.S. There's a huge backlog of enterprise app development work that needs to be done – and a growing demand for apps. That crunch is forcing IT departments to find new ways to decentralize and accelerate app development and delivery, according to Garter.

In a new report, "Predicts 2017: Mobile Apps and Their Development," Gartner found mobile app needs are driving changes to back-end enterprise systems that require increased collaboration between mobile and traditional development and operations teams.

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