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Authored by Akhil Pillai, Principal Engineer, WaveMaker, Inc

The web has been a unique platform to develop applications for decades. Of late, platform-specific applications have created a lot of buzz, mainly owing to their reliability and extensive features. Some of them work offline, some have hardware capabilities while some of them can notify users of important updates. PWAs or Progressive Web Applications are the web’s newest attempt at matching the level of reliability and richness that these native applications offer.

What exactly are Progressive Web Applications?

Progressive Web Apps are just plain old web applications with newer capabilities enabled on modern browsers using progressive enhancement. That is, even if the modern features are not supported by the browser, the user still gets the core experience of a web app. PWAs make use of web-platform features like service workers and manifests to give users an experience on par with native apps.

Some of the features that PWAs offer are:

Progressive Web App

Installable

PWAs allow users to install them through prompts that are either on the browser or implemented by the developer. Once installed, they mimic native apps that are available on home screens, docks, or taskbars. The application opens up as a different window rather than as a tab in a browser and is shown as part of the app switcher, thus tightly integrating it with the platform.

Progressive Web App

Reliable

Speed is crucial to keep the user interested and reduce bounce rates. Google's research shows that an increase in page load times from 1 to 10 seconds leads to a 123% increase in bounce rates. The capability of PWAs to cache resources and load them from the cache greatly increases speed and performance. This not only helps with load times but also helps when the network is slow or there is no network at all. This means even when offline you have access to your favorite application unless network connections are indispensable.

Progressive Web App

Linkable

Being a web application, PWAs can be easily shared using URLs. Anybody with a URL can install a PWA on any platform with a supported browser. This greatly reduces the effort it takes to distribute an app through an app store. Managing versions are made easy too with auto-updates or prompted updates that allow partial updates. With this feature, gone are the days when we had to download entire applications for just a small change in text.

Progressive Web App

Enables Notifications

One of the biggest flexes that native applications had over web applications is the ability to push updates to the user. Though web applications could show notifications, they needed to be running in a window to do so. PWAs have overcome this hurdle through service workers. A service worker is a piece of code that runs in the background even after the web application is closed by the user. This allows the web application to run background tasks and receive notifications. This makes it easy to keep the user engaged even when the application is not running.

Progressive Web App

Secure

PWAs are inherently secure. The service worker, which is the core part of a PWA, is only activated if the connection is secure. If the connection is not established over a secure HTTPS protocol, PWAs behave just like normal web applications.

Though these are some of the main features that PWAs offer, there is much more to them like background sync and hardware communication among others.

How can PWAs impact business?

Most of the features directly or indirectly affect the way users interact with web applications. This in turn drives business decisions. For example, giving a native feel to a web application is made easier with PWA. This allows businesses to ship applications faster while skipping app stores and their complex policies. PWAs while reducing development effort also reduce the associated development cost. Faster loading times give a big boost to customer retention while notification capabilities keep the user engaged.

In terms of data supporting these tall claims, let's take the case of Twitter. Twitter saw a 65% increase in pages per session, 75% more Tweets, and a 20% decrease in bounce rate. Nikkei saw 2.3 times more organic traffic, 58% more subscriptions, and 49% more daily active users. Hulu replaced their platform-specific desktop experience with a Progressive Web App and saw a 27% increase in return visits. As they say, numbers don't lie. PWAs are definitely influencing customer interaction with applications.

How can WaveMaker help?

PWAs combine the native feel of platform-specific applications with the dynamic nature of web applications. But how do we implement all these features? Using vanilla JavaScript and HTML to implement such rich features would take a lot of time and effort. Of course, libraries like Angular and Workbox can help but WaveMaker goes a step further. With the latest 10.9 release, PWA is officially in its beta stage on WaveMaker. All the user has to do is enable an ‘app.pwa.enabled' flag in the profile they use for production. Detailed instructions can be found here.

WaveMaker uses Angular’s built-in support for PWA and throws in a bit of its own magic to enable these features. As soon as the flag is enabled, two of the most prominent features are baked right into the WaveMaker web applications - installability and caching. Notifications are also enabled by default that can be made to work with a few app-specific changes. WaveMaker also allows the user to choose a custom icon for the installable app. What better than having your brand image in your user’s app drawer!

At WaveMaker we realize that continuous improvement and innovation is the path to creating customer satisfaction. As of now, PWA features that are in the beta stage are subject to continuous improvement. The way forward is to enhance features like notifications and to gradually add features dictated by customer interests.

PWAs are here to stay and WaveMaker will help your business embrace the technology with as little code as possible.

Watch this video to know more.

Author’s Bio

Akhil Pillai is a full-stack developer with more than 10 years of experience in software development. He is a technology enthusiast and a polyglot with a soft spot for machine learning. In his free time, he loves to read technical content and listen to music.

Progressive Web App Developer

By Vikram Srivats, Vice President, WaveMaker

Enough has been said and written about the effect of the pandemic in hyper-accelerating the shift to digital – for enterprises and consumers alike. This is one widely accepted fact we can note and move on from.

The combination of low-code development and BaaS APIs are enabling more companies than ever to add banking services to existing apps and products

However, another rising wave has been afoot for a few years now – something that Bain Capital Ventures (BCV) thinks is far greater than the Internet, Cloud, and Mobile combined (yes, you read that right) – with a projected market value of $3.6 trillion by 2030. BCV heralds this wave as the Fourth Platform: financial services in an embedded (or integrated) form within technology-driven businesses.

Andreesen-Horowitz (a16z) and CB Insights talk about this being the banking industry’s “AWS moment”, with new Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) players offering all (or parts of) the banking stack as-a-service for a new crop of fintech and tech-driven brands. a16z further predicts that every company will become a fintech company – embedding finance across digital and traditional brands – by leveraging offerings from BaaS providers.

Embedded finance and BaaS are two sides of the same coin. Brands and fintech offer embedded financial services to consumers and businesses while BaaS providers are the suppliers and enablers for those brands and fintech.

Two trends collide to form one massive opportunity

With the pandemic driving a tectonic shift to online, virtual, and instant gratification, embedded finance allows brands and disruptive new financial products to gain and delight customers, increase share-of-wallet and create stickiness. From a customer standpoint, the financial experience is in the moment, contextual and seamless within the brand experience – to the extent that the finance is almost invisible.

For example, think of Apple – which now offers a credit card backed by Goldman Sachs – or Shopify – going above and beyond by offering embedded payments, balance accounts, and loans to aspiring e-commerce businesses. With the likes of Amazon, Google, Doordash, Chime and Affirm, the list of embedded finance and BaaS-powered use cases and players is growing rapidly.

This growth is primarily fueled by a whole slew of capable BaaS players – Synapse, Treasury Prime, Stripe, Marqeta, Bond, Finastra, Railsbank, Solarisbank, Unit, Galileo, BBVA Open Platform, GPS, and many more – offering differentiated and compelling technical and financial propositions. These BaaS players in turn have partnerships with one or more banks and offer APIs (sometimes a single API) for a brand or fintech customer to call and access the offered financial service via the API.

In a way, things have come full circle – from the software powering financial services (core and engagement platforms) at FIs, we now have banking subsumed into software and offered via APIs.

BaaS APIs are becoming the new currency in the world of financial services

With this BaaS revolution going on in the background, the low-code market has grown exponentially, with more than 100 platform providers – with different specializations – competing for market share.

Microsoft, Mendix, OutSystems, and ServiceNow are some of the leading players while there are specialist challenger firms more focused on specific personas (professional developers, citizen developers, and business process users) and target areas (apps, workflow, automation, analytics, and so on).

To say that low-code adoption was propelled further by the pandemic is an understatement. Whether for businesses urgently wanting to digitally transform or for more advanced corporations, low-code has comfortably hit its stride as a new paradigm in software development.

Now, with over 2,000 fintech launched in 2019, the rise and maturity of BaaS offerings and differentiated embedded finance use cases/opportunities, and a world where APIs rule, developers are now the first customers of the banking and financial services capability stack.

Brands and fintech, banks and third-party software developers, independent software vendors, and system integrators need to find, attract, hire, train, mentor, motivate, manage and drive world-class development teams to deliver business outcomes.

They must do all this in the face of non-trivial challenges:

A breed of developer-friendly, open, API-driven, modern, enterprise-grade low-code platforms could be the answer. Here is how:

In 2020, Microsoft cited research predicting that more than 500 million new apps will be built in the next five years, which is more than the total number of apps built in the last 40 years, even as companies struggle to find software developers. According to KPMG, despite the overall market softness in H1 2020, H2 rebounded and saw almost $72 billion in fintech investment (across PE, VC, and M&A deals). Klarna, Revolut, and Chime raised mega rounds north of $500 million each. KPMG goes on to predict that embedded finance will emerge as the *new North Star* in fintech.

Low-code development layered on BaaS APIs may be embedded finance’s hockey stick moment

Embedded fintech and low-code development are massive scale markets in their own right. The next 1,000 or 10,000 fintech, FIs, and brands that deliver embedded financial services will need to be laser-focused on their customers and business to compete and win. Agility, automation, and reuse will underpin composable enterprises and personalized experiences, and modern, powerful low-code platforms already are delivering complex, compelling and contextual experiences for discerning development and business teams globally.

To further explore banking solutions by WaveMaker, please view our exclusive BFSI offerings here.

Or, start a conversation with our expert consultants for solutions to your unique requirements.

Originally published in Fintech Futures

By Vikram Srivats, Vice President, WaveMaker

So far, the low-code bastion has been mostly custom applications (built by “citizen” developers) – which are, sort of, spectrally opposite to core software platforms built by professional coders.

The tide is now turning.

Software platforms, specifically in the banking world, are embracing – even infusing – low-code capabilities – either through build or buy (license, OEM) routes.

But first, the backdrop: It is no secret that banks – and all financial intermediaries in general – are rushing to digitally innovate their business and transform their technology. And we know that these interventions target both top and bottom-line impact, while purporting to deliver speed, agility and simplicity in operations. Add in a host of headwinds – pandemic induced credit losses, muted revenues in a low-interest environment, rise in challenger banks that are digital-only, and fintechs that threaten to drive new non-interest business models on a modern tech platform – and you have a real test of banks’ resilience over the next 4-5 years.

To make good on the digital innovation and technology transformation theme, banks must buy or build banking software (core and channel facing systems) based on 4 foundational pillars:

  1. API marketplaces – increasingly becoming the core of digital banks to expand the reach of their intellectual property, democratize access and cast a wide net.
  2. Cloud-native or Cloud-ready – designed or ported to the public Cloud; service mesh ready for hybrid or multi-Cloud environments.
  3. Component-based and customizable – address varied customer needs in an agile, low-cost and even self-serve manner.
  4. Enable ecosystems – for banks to stay relevant in the long run, embrace a world of co-opetition and lay the foundation for service offerings and business models that can drive new value.

With this backdrop, market-leading digital banking systems – cores and application portfolios – are increasingly turning to low-code capabilities (and third-party low-code platforms) as a significant intervention.

Here are 4 value plays that low-code drives for banking systems providers:

  1. Accelerate – using a homegrown or a third-party low-code platform, providers significantly accelerate the development of serious, Cloud-native modules, components and applications.
  2. Modernize – Leveraging an available API backplane, a low-code studio can generate consumer-grade, responsive front ends (UI/UX), enabling rapid modernization.
  3. Optimize – A low-code enabled (OEM version) or infused banking system allows banks themselves to configure, compose, extend or customize certain parts of a digital banking core or application portfolio – reducing/optimizing professional services effort from the provider and evolving the provider-client engagement to the next level.
  4. Proliferate – A custom low-code platform with industry-specific componentry can be offered as a layer in front of a banking API portfolio – to open up the ecosystem for the provider’s client and dramatically ease the process for third parties to use democratized assets to build a plethora of applications – very quickly.

In short, Low-Code + Banking Software = Results (digital innovation and tech transformation).

Temenos, a Swiss banking system provider, bought Kony (a digital banking SaaS company and a low-code platform vendor) for $600m in 2019. EdgeVerve, a wholly owned subsidiary of Infosys, a $14b IT consulting and services provider, has built-in low-code capability in its Finacle Digital Engagement Suite per leading analysts that profile digital banking systems. In mid-2020, new age composable banking platform provider, Mambu, partnered with Argentina-headquartered Veritran, an enterprise low-code platform provider, for the Latin America market.

Per Forrester, EdgeVerve and Temenos feature as Leaders in their Wave reports on digital banking platforms (processing and engagement) across 2019 and 2020. Mambu is a Challenger per Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Retail Core Banking. Low-code capability infusion seems to be clearly correlated with leadership in the banking software domain. We should expect other leading players – TCS, Oracle, Finastra and FIS – to follow suit.

And future banking platforms with leaner digital cores will only serve to further drive the embedded adoption and proliferation of low-code capabilities – whether homegrown or licensed as OEM from third party low-code platform providers.

Epilogue:

A recent McKinsey report on the banking industry points out that the COVID-19 pandemic will cause $3.7 trillion of revenues – more than half of the total financial intermediation industry revenues – to be foregone and never come back. In that same scenario, return on equity would fall from 8.9% in 2019 to 1.5% in 2021, with North America bottoming out at -1.1%.

It is not all doom and gloom though.

The report points out that there is a hopeful picture – if banks do the hard work on productivity and capital management, their ROE can return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024.

What has all this got to do with low-code development?

(Hint: low-code => high productivity)

2024 awaits the resilient and transformed banking industry.

To futher explore banking solutions by WaveMaker, please visit:

www.wavemaker.com/banking-financial-services/

 Or, start a conversation with our expert consultants for solutions to your unique requirements.

Originally published in Finextra

Modern enterprise application needs have become intricate. They demand application development and deployment to be cloud-native, agile, scalable, and secure. The app ecosystem has become intertwined, and enterprise applications have become complex beasts, built on monolithic systems. The transformation continues. Modern application development is becoming more agile and scalable and deployment of applications on the cloud is increasing. Application architecture is transforming from monolithic to microservice-oriented architecture. Developers and IT Ops are collaborating giving rise to the culture of DevOps. With the increasing pressure on high performance, DevOps teams are urged to use more sophisticated technology and techniques.

Besides achieving agility and scalability, DevOps teams are also entrusted with achieving enterprise application security goals. App Security has become a high-priority goal and a shared responsibility. It’s reflected in Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant for Application Security Testing, 2020” report, there’s a 50% increase in the number of end-user and client conversations about AST (Application Security Testing) tools and DevSecOps in 2020.

To embed application security across the development cycle requires various levels of automation testing and setting up of configurations at different stages of the application development and deployment process. What development teams are doing is that they are using container technology and microservices to “pull security” early into the DevOps process. In addition to application security, another trend highlighted in Gartner’s report is the increasing attention (of 65%) on container security.

While many enterprises are already running cloud-native, microservices-based, containerized applications in production, there are several challenges; from technology immaturity, a steep learning curve, to the lack of operational expertise and know-how. What’s taking precedence today in high-performance development teams is the left-shift application security earlier in the stages of development.

“Shift Left” App Security – The Guiding Force Behind High-Performance Development Teams

App Security has become a business imperative. In Forrester’s Report on “The Top Security Technology Trends To Watch, 2020”, integration of application security tools with CI/CD pipeline is a major priority in 2020. Application security has become the primary focus of high-performance DevOps teams and by “left-shift application security” parameters, security is a shared responsibility and is being implemented by developers. Moreover, with the rise of DevSecOps the silos of application and infrastructure security are being bridged.

AppSec – The Primary Focus of DevOps in a Containerized Environment

DevOps teams not only have to mitigate operational issues related to performance, integrity, availability of containers in production environments, they also need to ensure security is embedded early in the DevOps process. With greater urgency to automate application security testing (AST) in the DevOps process, the attention of DevOps teams needs to be directed towards the integration of the CI/CD toolchain with application security tools such as software composition analysis (SCA), static application security testing (SAST), and container security.

When embracing the DevOps culture and migrating applications to the cloud in a containerized environment, security must be embedded across the development lifecycle. To ensure compliance of performance and resiliency, the focus needs to shift to service-level and container-specific monitoring. DevOps teams need to monitor applications within containers and across containers at a service level. “Pulling in” application security earlier into the development lifecycle would form the beginning of what is called DevSecOps.

DevSecOps – Breaking the Silo of Application and Infrastructure Security

The ‘mantra’ of DevSecOps is “shift left”, encouraging developers to move security from the right end of the development and delivery process to the left end (beginning). True to its abbreviation, DevSecOps – development, security, and operations – ensures the integration of security is automated across the lifecycle, from application design, testing, deployment, and delivery.

With the essence of DevSecOps being “software, safer, sooner”, it enables seamless integration of application and infrastructure security with the DevOps process. By allowing developers to address enterprise application security issues earlier before the application goes into production, it makes security issues easier to fix without disrupting the development cycle. Breaking the security silo, DevSecOps makes security a shared responsibility of IT Ops, security, and development teams.

Integrating security and testing across the development lifecycle may seem like a daunting challenge. However, there are emerging technology and tools available to ensure security is pulled in early enough. Low-code platforms give enterprises the leverage to embedded security when developing cloud-native applications, managing containers, and adopting microservices-based architecture. To implement the practice of DevSecOps, low-code gives the opportunity to address and improve application security across the development lifecycle.

The Window of Opportunity – How Low-Code Enables Enterprises to “Shift Left” Application Security 

Low-code platforms help enterprises by integrating application-level, security features such as authorization, authentication, auditability, certification, performance monitoring, and security architecture, across the application development lifecycle. By automating application-level security features, low-code platforms ensure robust authorization and authentication systems that have built-in encryption and provide XSS and CSRF configurations to address security threats and vulnerabilities. To help developers configure security features when building applications, low-code platforms provide fine-grained controls, built-in encryption options, comprehensive authentication and authorization processes, OWASP compliance support, and data protection.

While application development and deployment processes are transforming so is application architecture, which is moving from monolithic legacy systems to microservices-based architecture. With microservices, there are many hands-on the deck. Enterprise applications are made into smaller components and many developers are working on different functionalities at various stages of the development cycle. At this time, when application architecture is transforming, security goals remain unchanged. In fact, the demands for enterprise application security are heightened and they need to be imbibed in the development process. Low-code platforms support microservices-based architecture and enable the “left-shift application security” of security parameters by allowing developers to configure security protocols, set privileges, and automate testing before the application goes into production. Moreover, as enterprises leverage next-generation app delivery tools such as container technology, low-code platforms help to embrace containerization at scale without disruption in existing processes and without requiring the reskilling of existing resources.

Low-code’s promise is that of “Zero Complexity” DevOps Automation. It ensures minimal disruption of existing development teams, enables on-premise and cloud deployments seamlessly, automates CI/CD processes, saves on security infrastructure costs, and enables DevOps teams to focus on core application needs.

If you think the “left-shift application security” principle of pulling security earlier into the DevOps process may slow down the speed of development, think again. It shouldn’t be a trade-off to choose between accelerating application development and managing application security threats and fixing failures.  Achieving time-to-market delivery and security goals can be simultaneously achieved if you manage the DevOps process using emerging application development and deployment tools. The window of opportunity here is to streamline processes, using a sophisticated technology stack, and utilizing next-gen technology that low-code offers to nurture AppSec innovation across the development cycle.

By Vikram Srivats, Vice President, WaveMaker

Ensuring a successful climb out to a digital paradigm without running the gauntlet of costly delays.

The Covid-19 crisis is shifting profit pools – according to McKinsey1, the gap in economic profit between the top corporate performers and everyone else has widened dramatically. And the numbers are staggering – the top quintile of companies grew its market-implied annual economic profit by $335 billion, while the bottom quintile companies lost $303 billion, over a period from December 2018 to May 2020. Clearly, this is becoming somewhat of a winner-take-all scenario.

With the acceleration of trends (e-commerce, remote work, digital) driven by the pandemic, specifically for companies with middling performance, this is a call to action to build the resilient, future-ready business and operating models. And many of them are doing exactly that. During a recent quarterly earnings call, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said, “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.”

By now, almost every corporation gets all this.

But how do they ensure a successful climb out to a digital paradigm without running the gauntlet of costly delays and embarrassing failures that plagued many earlier corporate digital plans in fairer weather?

Beyond an array of best practices (reducing silos, no-BS decision-making, talent redeployment, shifting operations, and multiplying productivity), low-code based software development has the broad capability to mitigate potential risks associated with wholesale digital transformations in these uncertain times.

First, a quick primer on low-code/no-code. Simply put, it is a visual development approach to automating software development that involves little to no hand-coding, significantly speeding up applications coming to life. With the growing demand for new applications, modernizing existing/legacy applications, and new platform development – and not as many software developers to go around, low-code development has gained steam over the last few years. Gartner predicts that low-code application development platforms will be responsible for more than 65 percent of all app dev activity by 2024, while Forrester expects the low-code market to represent $21B in spending by 2022. Major technology players including Salesforce, Microsoft, Google, Oracle, Amazon, Pega, and ServiceNow have joined the low-code/no-code bandwagon, with deployed platforms and tools as part of their larger product portfolios

What are the risks?

But what specific risks does low-code development help navigate and mitigate?

Here are 6 clear examples:

Complexity risk – With a visual, low-code paradigm, enterprises and software providers can take quick, bite-sized chunks out of the business complexity due to Covid-19. Low-code simplifies and democratizes collaborative application development to support new workflows, increased tracking, additional procedures, shifting ways of doing business, and increased overall administration – to tackle the needs of remote workforces, supply chains, and customers.

Schedule risk – The stakes for hitting a scheduled target have never been so high. Burdening your IT with demands for critical applications, and gathering a full-stack team to hand-code applications that may take weeks to deploy no longer remains a sustainable approach. Companies can instead use low-code acceleration to minimize impact from the invariable bumps (scope creep as an example) in any project, besides pandemic induced inefficiencies (lumpy productivity of 100 percent remote teams).

Budget risk – The mantra of doing more with less – specifically, more applications with less budget – is what low-code development delivers at its core. According to Gartner2, worldwide IT spending will decline by 7.3 percent this year, compared with a rise of 1 percent it calculated for 2019. Against this backdrop, low-code is exactly what the doctor ordered for companies that are making do with fractional budgets and increased oversight on spending during these times when budget overruns may be considered heresy.

Technical risk – Enterprise architecture teams no longer have the luxury of doing a double-take with technology choices if their initial choices do not scale are not secure, or simply don’t offer a solid runway from the current to the proposed future. When it comes to building enterprise applications, creating extensible frameworks goes a long way in coping with changing business needs, adding new capabilities, and re-using frameworks for future initiatives. Best-in-class low-code platforms are built around modern web architectural choices and enterprise best practices, are based on open standards, generate real code that can be exported and extended, offer enterprise-class security options, and seamlessly blend in with testing and deployment practices. Corporations using such low-code platforms have the peace of mind that they will get it right – the first time.

Talent risk – While the pandemic has disrupted the livelihoods of millions of working professionals and increased talent pools, hiring the right tech and software development talent at the right time, at an affordable price, and ensuring they are productive – remains a monumental challenge. Bridging skill gaps of existing talent to scale to modern web and mobile development is not trivial either. Low-code platforms do the heavy-lifting of software development, mitigating the need for learning coding skills in a language and eliminating the need for multiple specialist roles (UI, database, backend, deployment). Low-code-powered teams are inherently lean, modern-skilled, agile, full-stack development teams.

Market risk – The ultimate test of organizations wanting to climb steeply during Covid-19 is how they weather unanticipated market risks at different altitudes. With the order of magnitude productivity gains, low-code powered business and software development teams quickly and nimbly dodge external risks, prototyping and producing critical-to-business applications at a pace that is near-impossible with traditional development. What it brings to the table is a quick, flexible, scalable, and cost-effective approach, to accelerate the development of business-critical applications and to modernize existing applications and legacy systems.

Going mainstream

In a way, enterprise-grade low-code platforms were built for this moment – helping professional developers effortlessly switch to a low-code way of churning out applications in high-rate-of-climb digital projects. And helping them succeed without compromising logical granularity, pixel-perfect UI or enterprise-scale, and security standards.

Covid-19 may well be a temporary phase in our collective history books a few decades down the line, but this may go down as the era in which low-code development became mainstream – and a basic checkbox for corporations in a high digital attitude climb out to navigate a plethora of risks and join the winner's circle.

Originally published in ITProPortal

How many applications are used in your enterprise? Be it a messaging application, project management tool, virtual meeting software, or HR application, critical enterprise applications have become the lifeline of business operations.

As enterprises become more hyper-connected, the virtual workplace and marketplace has transformed into a complex ecosystem. It has become an environment that demands seamless interaction, collaboration, and communication between people, applications, and devices.

While traditional organizations are accustomed to working in silos, the age of agility is driving them to bridge these gaps. The foundation of an agile organization is about enterprise-wide collaboration, bridging silos, the autonomy of cross-functional teams, alignment with business and application strategy, and self-driven teams that focus on innovation. The agile model in theory is a great concept. Implementing the concept, however, is a challenge many enterprises find difficult to address.

To achieve enterprise agility, it helps to have a low-code platform as a part of your technology toolbox. What low-code offers is an environment that empowers teams with specialized skillsets to innovate, encourages collaboration to ensure quick turnaround time of ideas to apps, automates processes to ensure optimum resource utilization and allows for deployment at scale.

Accelerate the idea-to-app turnaround time. Accelerated application development and delivery is a primary factor in agile development. Low-code platforms provide a visual development environment, auto-generates code, enables code-customization and extensibility using prefabs, provides the flexibility for 2-way workplace sync with IDEs, and allows for complete integration with CI/CD pipelines.

Empower development teams to innovate. There is a lot of time spent by development teams in manual coding under traditional application development. With low-code application development, code is auto-generated, it is extensible and can be customized to build applications at scale. By using visual drag-and-drop features, low-code helps to build core applications, giving development teams the time to work on complex components of applications.

Create leaner and agile teams. Typically, traditional development teams are made of different types of profiles, from professional front-end developers, back-end developers, UI designers, UX experts, database developers, DevOps, to quality analysts.

By providing access to full-stack technology, low-code helps to create leaner and agile teams. You can reduce the dependency on specialists, encourage upskilling, focus on business logic and drive innovation because the low-code platform can take care of end-to-end application development and deployment.

By providing auto-code generation, integration with existing applications using smart API integration tools, auto-generation of DB schema, and auto-containerization for seamless deployment, low-code streamlines development teams, making them leaner and agile to address the hyper demands of application development.

21st century IT leaders recognize the importance of agility. At a time when the market and workplaces have moved to virtual realms, there is a greater emphasis on seamless communication, collaboration, and coordination. The premise of enterprise-grade low-code platforms is the ability to provide an environment for innovation by automating manual processes and to create leaner and agile teams by empowering them with a modern technology stack. This is why low-code has become mainstream and why it is considered to be a technology that is future-proof.

Originally published in Inspirationfeed

Enterprise needs today have become more demanding. The new sense of urgency, to evolve, to modernize and drive mobility, scalability, and flexibility has led to enterprises embracing a ‘digital first’ approach and adopting new technology extensively. While this translates to reinvention in the way of working and the use of technologies, it does not mean that every aspect of the business needs to be reinvented.

Old systems and skills, that have stood the test of time, need not be discarded altogether. Instead, upgrading systems and updating skills can help to meet new enterprise demands with old tools and can result in easier implementation and better ROI on IT investment.

A relevant example of how emerging technology is combined with conventional tools is the use of low-code platforms with traditional Java programming in application development. Twenty years on and many enterprise servers are still using the Java programming language and successfully running Java-based, mission-critical applications. The fact that Java is still being used speaks of its evolution and effectiveness in addressing enterprise demands even in the age of cloud computing and container technology.

When creating application development strategies, there is often a debate about whether low-code should be preferred over traditional Java programming. However, this is not an “either / or” decision. While low-code platforms are designed to provide core functionalities, with the help of experienced developers customization and specialized functions can be added to applications. After all, a low-code platform is ultimately built on a programming language like Java.

With low-code platforms gaining momentum, the role that traditional Java programming plays cannot be ignored. By combining old with new technologies, here’s how the micro and macro levels of application development can be covered to meet new enterprise demands.

Give developers the bandwidth to innovate

In certain application development projects, combining low-code with manual coding helps developers spend more time on complex functions. As the low-code platform can be used to create core applications rapidly, developers can focus on critical specifications to make the application rich.

Build apps that support multiple device ecosystems and operating systems

Enterprises today need to build applications that can run on different operating systems and devices. Such an ecosystem requires application development using neutral languages and coding for specific parts of the application that have distinct functionality.

Java development teams have to make an enormous effort in manual coding to create modern applications that work in dynamic environments. Here’s where low-code platforms help by enabling developers to duplicate core functions of applications that can work across devices and environments.

Ease the application maintenance process

Specifications of IT hardware and software are changing more frequently than before. As the technical requirements constantly change, relevant modifications to the code is necessary to ensure the app functions. When enterprises rely entirely on traditional Java development teams, manual changes in code makes app maintenance a tedious affair.

App maintenance can be made easier by using low-code platforms. Using visual development interfaces and modular components, low-code platforms manage and maintain applications in the backend giving enterprises the time to focus on the design and critical functions of the application.

Streamline the application deployment process

Deployment of applications is a complex process because every line of code needs to be tested in a lab environment, and trials to ensure multiple app instances function in specific configurations needs to be conducted. Testing before deployment requires intensive manual programming and its complexity makes it a time-consuming process.

With pre-built modules, low-code platforms help to test app functionality before their release. With the actual development and production environment accessible in a cloud ecosystem, testing and deployment using low-code is simpler and faster.

To optimally utilise the skills and experience of development resources, enterprises need to combine the technical strength of traditional systems with the speed, agility and scalability that modern technologies offer. By combining the old with new technologies, not only can applications be developed, maintained and deployed faster, rich applications can also be created by allowing traditional development teams to give the required attention to detail.

In a market environment where change is constant and the future is uncertain, future-proofing seems to be the safest way forward. Stay relevant to stay ahead by upgrading your legacy systems with a modern low-code platform. Find out how our low-code platform can help you adopt new technology meaningfully.

Originally published in TECHGYD.COM

Within a matter of weeks, the way we work, live and do business has drastically changed. In the rush to contain the situation, we’ve turned to technology as our saving grace. In doing so, we’ve effectively hit a “fast-forward” button on many tech trends that were already in place. From remote work and virtual events to virus-monitoring big data, technologies that were perhaps only familiar to a fringe tech community are now entering center stage, these changes are likely here to stay.

While communication, collaboration, project management and innovation have become buzzwords, the challenges of remote working continue to impact businesses. Let’ take a look at the implications of the current rapid change in work environments and how technology can help alleviate challenges:

1. Communication

Communication is the number one issue in most work environments — not just among remote teams. However, varying time zones and flexible schedules can wreak havoc on workflow and team collaboration. Thus, employers need to step in and provide enough structure and leadership to set the tone for communication among their staff.

Tips for Improving Communication Among Remote Teams

Tools and processes are only as good as the people who use them. Ask for team member input and honor their preferences to the best of your ability. Find or build communication applications that connect team members. Using a low-code platform can help to create modern applications that will ensure better communication between team members at a speed that your business demands.

2. Project Management

Project management is hard enough, and it can seem a challenge when team members are dispersed worldwide. However, depending on your industry and types of projects, several online tools exist to align team members, assign tasks, track progress, and make changes. If you already use software applications to manage projects for in-office teams, you would have no problem managing remote employees with the same tools.

Tips for Managing Projects with Remote Teams

Cloud-based project management tools work best for virtual teams. There are dozens of options to choose from, so try the demo versions of platforms until you find one that makes sense for your project and team. Also, consider using the agile project management method and hold daily scrum calls to keep everyone on task and to maintain leaner and meaner teams. Agile is especially helpful for projects with fast-approaching deadlines and numerous milestones.

3. Innovation

There’s something to be said for whiteboard sessions and sharing creative energy with colleagues. Since the remote workspace changes the nature of collaboration, it can also create barriers for creativity and innovation. Team members may not catch the same vibes over the phone as they would live in a meeting room.

Tips for Harnessing Innovation within Remote Teams

Give your teams the space and processes they need to communicate freely, share ideas, and hold brainstorming sessions. Leverage video conferencing and online apps like Zoom, Slack, Lucidchart, Webex, and Teams to document the development process. To provide bandwidth for innovation, empower your teams with emerging tech such as low-code. This not only helps them to deliver more with less, it gives them access to a modern software stack and an environment to collaborate, upskill, and focus on tasks that deliver business value.

4. Security

How do you keep information safe among dispersed team members and devices? You want to ensure that your company’s sensitive and confidential information is secure no matter where your employees work or what devices or applications they use.

Tips to Ensure Security within Remote Teams

Education and training are essential when it comes to information security. Help your employees understand the risks and how to mitigate them in their daily tasks. Create security policies that set requirements for anti-virus software, uploading and downloading information and applications, creating passwords, and clicking on email links. When creating your own applications using low-code platforms, security is typically inbuilt and is an integral part in the entire application development lifecycle. With granular authorization, comprehensive authentication, and OWASP compliance support, applications can be developed using fine-grained controls with out-of-the-box security. In this way your remote teams can build and use secure and scalable enterprise-grade applications.

In a future riddled with uncertainties, a forced metamorphosis or transformation is necessary. How business is conducted, the way teams work, and the work culture is changing and you need to be prepared and agile to tide over. In such times, technology has proven to be a robust backbone on which business continuity is ensured. Making the most of this situation, now is the time for you to adopt technology to transform the way your remote teams work and future-proof your business.

Originally published in Techstory

It’s the time of disruption, where, as an enterprise you need to innovate, adapt, and embrace change quickly.

Processes need to be modified and customized, and teams need to be flexible, lean and agile, to keep up with the changing situation. Enterprise agility has become a necessity and to be agile has become a way of being and working.

What it takes to drive the change that the current situation demands is an agile leader empowered with the right tools. There are several enterprise tools an agile leader can use, from team collaboration programs, communications tools, project management software and other tools required to enable transition to remote working successfully. The widespread adoption of enterprise tools has led to an increasing demand to build enterprise applications.

In times when quick changes are required, you may think how you can transform your enterprise to become agile. One of the ways most companies are empowering teams and driving continuous change is by using low-code platforms to create enterprise applications fast. Let’s take a look at how a low-code/no-code platform can be used as an agile leader’s tool to achieve enterprise agility:

Move Quickly to Respond to Business Needs Using an API-Driven Approach

Agile means to be able to move fast. Speed is essential to business success. The company that moves faster to solve a problem, and creates a product to respond to a need will be the business that wins. Agility is often more achieved when actions are led by aspiration.

Businesses are looking for platforms that reduce cycle times and improve organizational agility by delivering applications at the pace of business. As an enterprise solution delivery, low-code provides rapid application development using WYSIWYG drag and drop feature and offers the ability to edit generated code.

APIs today form the essence of business applications and application architecture. With an API-driven app development approach to integrate Private Cloud and DIY maintenance, most low-code platforms support APIs at best.

To respond quickly to business needs, using low-code platforms with API-driven approach can help you to create auto-responsive apps for websites, tablets, and smartphones at the desired speed.

Embrace Rapid Change by Driving Value

In the face of rapid change and uncertainty, agile leaders thrive. They do this by creating an environment where stakeholders push change forward by driving adoption through frequent, incremental changes that constantly produce value.

According to Gartner, application leaders will need to identify ways to leverage technology and by 2024 the focus of successful application teams will be on how to use technology to meet their customers’ needs and wants.

Teams will need to move from the current focus on the technology of applications to pursue design thinking to foster a culture that sees things from the customer’s perspective. One of the ways to imbibe design thinking in platform strategies is by using rapid application development. Low-code supports all key principles of ‘Design Thinking’ to solve the problem right.

The premise of solving the right problem, solving it right, and realizing the value at the earliest is best supported using emerging tech such as low-code platforms.

Inspire Creativity and Innovation in Your Employees

Agile is not only a way of working it is also a way of being. Fostering an agile culture in an organization, it’s important to make sure employees have time for creative thinking. It’s not enough to establish methods of automation and develop a cadence of smaller releases, so work is constantly improved upon.

Leaders must inspire creativity and innovation within employees so that they can contribute directly. Low-code allows developers to think and iterate at a granular level, making a big difference in customer satisfaction or cost optimization. What low-code platforms provide is an environment of collaboration where continuous learning culture is nurtured.

Organizational agility is driven by technology teams led by agile leaders. Low-code platforms lets technology teams build enterprise applications substantially faster to meet rapid changing business objectives thus aligning the agility between IT and Business.

Not only can you build leaner and smaller teams who deliver fast, using low-code you can offer a workbench to nurture full-stack developers and create an environment of continuous learning, collaboration, and innovation.

At a time when we need to navigate around the ‘new normal of constant change, the future-proof software stack that a low-code platform  offers is the perfect intuitive toolset that agile leaders need to drive the disruption.

Originally published in Business Matters

By Mayur Shah,
Senior Director,
Platform Marketing & Management

Earlier this year, the Democratic party in Iowa announced its plans to use a smartphone app to calculate and transmit their caucus results. Using technology to improve the speed of governance, one would think, “What could possibly go wrong? A lot, apparently. The app’s failure on results day was attributed to reporting and coding issues.

While security was the matter of concern from the day of its announcement, the inevitable happened. Data and security breaches happen almost every minute. University of Maryland researchers find cyberattacks every 39 seconds. The last decade has seen many data breaches, putting personal information of billions of users in the hands of dubious entities. Every enterprise, from Yahoo to Facebook and Target to Home Depot, has been under attack—and this is likely to continue. Research has found that cybersecurity breaches will result in over 146 billion records stolen by 2023.

Poor security is putting enterprises, governments and citizens at risk every day. Yet, in a hurry to leverage technology, companies bring unsecured applications to market all the time. In essence, they sacrifice security for speed. Adding to this, today’s modern web and mobile applications are built with latest and greatest technology stacks and frameworks, heavily reliant on client side functionality, and integration to multiclouds and third party systems using a myriad of APIs. Also teams are more diverse and work collaboratively using remote workforces.

These trends increase the security challenges the application development teams need to be aware of, and leverage platforms that provide built-in controls and protection against these to avoid security breaches and attacks.

While prioritizing speed over security in application development take into consideration the following mistakes that you need to avoid and address.

Not Looking at Data Security Holistically 

Data tends to be the most important and valuable aspect of modern web applications. Poor application design and architecture leads to data and security breaches. Application development teams generally assume that by providing the right authentication and authorization measures to the application, data will be protected. This is a misconception. Right measures to provide data security involve focussing on data integrity, fine grained data access and encrypting data while in rest as well as in motion. In addition, data security needs to be looked at holistically from the time the request is made to the time response is sent back across all layers of the application runtime.

Not Considering Security Across the Application Development Lifecycle 

Today’s modern web applications are highly sophisticated and built with a big focus on simplistic user experience combined with high scalability. This combination can be challenging for application development teams from a security perspective. Most development teams focus only on silos when securing the application (only client, server or integration layer). Teams should focus on end-to-end full stack security when developing applications. Also application teams should enforce security best practices incorporated by default as part of the collaborative development process.

Not Focusing on API Security

Most of the modern web applications use APIs from systems and services which include internal enterprise systems, cloud SaaS APIs, partner APIs and third party product APIs. Today, almost all web applications tend to expose their own functionality to the external environment as a core set of APIs. What’s more, nearly 100% of web applications today tend to expose its own functionality as a core set of APIs to the external world. Teams need to make sure they are using external APIs with proper security guidelines and protocols as well as exposing their own APIs with multiple choices of protecting them. API access needs to be protected with both coarse grained as well as fine grained measures.

Not Providing Strong Authorization and Authentication Methods

Authenticating your application and authorizing what users can access is an important part of application security. Without this, you are leaving your attack surface wide open. Your application needs to incorporate stringent and strong measures for authentication to prevent unauthorized access. This includes multi-factor authentication, passwordless authentication, single sign on and if using passwords very strong password policies. It must also offer fine grained role-based access control preventing access of sensitive and confidential data to non-privileged users. Moving to a market with ambiguous weak authentication, lack of fine grained control, improper session control and insufficient logging might not seem like a probable risk until you’re attacked.

Not Incorporating Vulnerability Testing Throughout the Development Lifecycle

Security threats are evolving faster than anyone can keep track of. The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), a community of application developers and security professionals, identifies the top 10 security risks each application team must mitigate. This includes risks across injection, data exposure, misconfiguration, security deserialization and so on. Development teams should incorporate vulnerability assessment as a continuous process and not leave it at the end of the deployment cycle.

Automating Security with Development Platforms

Integrating security into your application development process does not have to slow you down. By utilizing key technologies such as a low-code platform, you can accelerate development and enable security procedures at the same time.

While promising accelerated development, what an ideal low-code application development platform offers is a visual development environment and code-customization with two-way workplace sync with IDEs. It also enables autogeneration of code, ensures extensibility and reuse with prefabs, and allows for full integration with CI/CD pipelines.

One of the important features of a low-code platform is built-in security, one that ensures automation of the development of application-level security features. A perfect platform provides a configuration for prevention of security vulnerabilities such as XSS and CSRF and ensures in-built encryption, robust authentication and authorization systems, along with enterprise-grade auditability and traceability.

While speed may be the name of the game, rolling out your applications without considering security would have little positive impact if they fail to function and are not secure. One of the best ways to integrate security across your application development lifecycle is to leverage the benefits of low-code platforms that are designed for professional development, those that have built-in, application-level security features. While your application development plans may be time-critical, security cannot be an afterthought, because sacrificing security for speed may make it longer for you to mitigate the risks than achieve your application development goals.

Originally published in Devops.com