In June 2014, ‘low-code went mainstream. Forrester researchers formally announced the arrival of ‘low-code platforms in their paper ‘New Development Platforms Emerge For Customer-Facing Applications’. While the idea of visual development and configuration instead of hand-coding existed since long before, Forrester’s report marked the time when global enterprises began taking low-code as a serious alternative to their current methods. And it has grown significantly since.
Gartner predicts that by 2024, over 75% of large enterprises will use low-code development tools, and over 65% of all application development will be done with low-code tools and methods. Confirming these hard stats, low-code proves to be worthwhile because:
The real question about adopting a low-code platform is: When is a low-code platform right for your business?
In order to help you gauge if low-code is right for you, in the present, we’ve identified specific situations in which enterprises see great benefits from low-code, across three dimensions — your business landscape, preparedness for low-code, and technology position.
Enterprises on a digital transformation journey realize soon enough that their business landscape is evolving faster than their transformation initiative is moving. They need greater speed in their application modernization endeavor without sinking more investments in additional resources/tools. Low-code can enable this.
The visual approach of low-code simplifies the application development process — it abstracts complexities of integration and configuration, somewhat reducing the intimidating aspects of hand-coding. This allows business users and professional developers to collaborate more meaningfully. With visual prototyping, business users can play with the feature, facilitating earlier validation, reducing rework and cost overruns significantly.
Be it market pressures, compliance needs, or competition, businesses from time to time come under pressure to deliver fast. And hardly ever has an IT leader said, “we have all the people and budgets we need to accelerate”. More often than not, IT teams are left to find innovative, yet cost-effective ways to deliver fast. And low-code is exactly that.
Low-code platforms enable enterprises to use their existing teams to perform complex development tasks with minimal upskilling. With visual prototyping, they provide a common ground for business users and developers to collaborate, without yet involving IT or DevOps. They automate coding, saving time and energy for engineers, which they can then leverage to innovate at scale. It ensures that you have standardized and consistent code, in spite of different developers working on it, eliminating shadow IT and facilitating better governance.
As you identify and explore low-code alternatives to traditional development, you will develop organizational know-how about how it works, how it fits into your existing systems, etc. In such a situation, you might be in a great position to identify the perfect use-cases for adopting low-code — say, while modernizing legacy applications.
In such a case, where you’re already up the learning curve, low-code can generate incremental benefits for you.
We’ve seen that early adopters and power users of low-code tools tend to be technically-inclined business users. For example, a business analyst who has a clear understanding of data organization / logical flows and a strong product point of view can leverage low-code for configuring and setting up the reporting software themselves. Or generalist developers who need to perform specialist roles as part of their job — say a backend developer needing to do the UI design.
When you have identified the specific person who can leverage low-code because it fills a specific gap, it can work wonders.
Enterprise applications can sometimes be labyrinths of layers, held together by loosely defined integrations. When different teams within an enterprise come to the developer with different business requirements, a working reconciliation of them all can be daunting. With low-code, you can build custom apps specific to the requirements of each business team, without wrecking the foundations of your application.
In a world where every business is a tech business, every enterprise faces pressure to innovate. This can be even more demanding in a tech-heavy industry.. Low-code helps developers build features faster — with the visual interface — and also gets feedback quicker from business users.
Existing development teams often have a conceptual understanding of the application architecture and underlying infrastructure, which enables them to integrate and deploy their code. Adding a low-code platform to accelerate development brings an additional layer, which also needs to be integrated. On the other hand, enterprises might still need IT support to integrate the code written using the low-code tool into the larger application codebase. Often, enterprises shy away from adopting new tools for fear of this integration.
If you have an existing IT support team that can facilitate a low-code platform’s integration into the application landscape, you are in a better position to adopt low-code and reap its benefits.
Low-code as a practice and low-code platforms as tools can help application development teams across a wide range of functions. Whether you’re just considering modernizing your legacy systems or are at the cutting edge of tech innovation, low-code can help accelerate your digital transformation journey.
Digital transformation (DX). Everyone is talking about it and wants to get on the bandwagon. Take for example Razer’s story. As far as transforming a modern workplace and collaboration goes, it's considered a phenomenon. By supporting teamwork, rapid communications, and real-time collaboration using intelligent technology solutions, Razer has gained a competitive edge in the multibillion-dollar gaming industry.
You can observe a similar story at Virgin Atlantic, where they aim to develop apps quickly and easily to empower employees with tools and information to help field workers get a better view of customers and deliver better service.
Digital transformation comes in all shapes and sizes. It is all-encompassing and can have different connotations for different stakeholders. How do you interpret it? Does digital transformation for you mean the same for your peers? A CIO may translate it as improving operational efficiency, while it may mean augmenting customer engagement for a CMO.
What does digital transformation actually mean for you and your enterprise?
According to the CIO’s 2019 State of the CIO Survey, “88% of CIOs say that they are more involved in leading digital transformation initiatives compared to their business counterparts.” In the ‘2018-2019 State of Digital Transformation Report’ by Altimeter, “CIOs are cited as the most typical official owners or sponsors of transformation initiatives.”
Executive Ownership of Digital Transformation
As business modernization and transformation continues to mature, CIOs are required to have a stronger presence in revenue-generating initiatives and in areas they have not delved before. What’s your level of involvement? Are you skin-deep or knee-deep in digital transformation? When revenue and ROI become the name of the game and as you wade into uncharted waters, where do you begin, what’s your first step?
The Crucial Kick-Off In Your Digital Transformation Journey
As ‘application organizations’ are constantly evolving to adapt to the hybrid world and the digital workforce, IT is expected to not only modernize technology but also deliver business value, augment user experience (UX) and achieve core innovation.
Enterprise application development is emerging as an integral requisite to achieving digital transformation success. Rapid Application Development platforms are gaining sway by empowering IT, providing the bandwidth to focus on core innovation, advancing time-to-market strategies, and helping to achieve competitive differentiation.
"By 2022, skills required to perform most jobs will have shifted significantly and no less than 54% of all employees will require significant upskilling", according to the World Economic Forum, Future of Jobs 2018 Report.
Not all Java development teams have upskilled to stay relevant. Java developers, once valued, are finding themselves challenged and in a way, dispensable. New programming languages, development tools, and delivery platforms are being introduced every week.
Modern enterprises need to innovate and deliver faster in order to remain competitive. With all the buzz around multi-channel delivery, ultra-rapid development cycles, fab front-ends, microservices, and cloud nativity, traditional Java development teams need to learn new skills, new vocabulary, and adopt new approaches to enterprise app development. The skills mismatch combined with rapid delivery demands has put immense pressure on Java development teams.
Here’s how existing Java development teams can become full-stack developers using low-code, rapid application development platforms.
What normally requires 10 developers can be done with 4
Traditional Java development teams require developers with specific skill sets at different stages in the application development lifecycle. To simplify the application development process and to address the shortage of skilled developers, here's how rapid application development platforms help:
Embracing new technology need not necessarily mean a radical transformation. It is about upgrading existing skills to keep up with changes in the industry. Find out how the ‘Survival, Revival and Arrival of Java Developers’ will depend on how they can upskill to full-stack developers using the right tools such as rapid application development platforms. Download this Whitepaper
Most organizations implemented low-code tools to speed up the application development process. From $4.32 billion in 2017, the low-code development platform market size is expected to grow to $27.23 billion by 2022. This technology is gaining popularity, not only as a means to transform legacy applications, but also for building customer-centric mobile and web applications.
The ability of low-code platforms to speed up the process of application delivery and deployment enabled enterprises to respond in time to demands for business software. It caught the attention of professional developers when they used it to build complex applications with multiple functionalities used across the enterprise and not just for one department. Add to that, access to cloud services via self-service interfaces compelled AD&D leaders to adopt low-code platforms to innovate and deliver.
The idea behind adopting low-code platform is to use a minimum of coding and more visual modules to build applications, whether for user experience or data modeling purposes. According to a Forrester survey, large enterprises are among the biggest adopters of low-code platforms. This has helped to quell the doubts of developers who believed low-code platforms are not meant for building large scale complex application. Using low-code tools, developers found that they can create applications that once took months.
Yet in cases with no proper governance in place, it can become a technical burden for the company as the cost of maintaining such applications can escalate when using closed low-code platforms.
Before putting any governance in place, it is important to know who the prime users of low-code platforms in an enterprise are. Primarily, professional developers, dependent on coding, are the first-level users of these platforms. They have an intimate understanding of application design, performance, maintainability, and reliability. Then comes business experts or citizen developers who also contribute to building applications by bringing in the knowledge of what the market needs are and how the application can best serve those needs. Depending on who is working on the platform, a sort of control mechanism can be established to ensure that users can get the most out of these applications.
No-code platforms have a strong appeal for non-technical users. They can rapidly create a business application using the visual tools of the platform without writing any code. In a few years, there will be thousands of such apps performing even mission-critical tasks. Completely independent of IT intervention, it will soon become another instance of Shadow IT. Although these shadow apps improve productivity in the short run, it may compromise IT security in the long run as they are not protected with firewalls and security systems. Also, when these shadow apps fail to deliver certain functions, the cost of rebuilding them using technology approved by the IT often increases the cost to the organization. It may also need to hire external developers who can implement applications in accordance to their IT policies.
When shadow IT is becoming the alternative to traditional ways of delivering applications, it becomes a monumental task to do away with it. But there are ways to realize the benefits of these shadow apps built with tools like low-code platforms, without compromising on IT security and governance. Open-standards-based low-code platforms are widely available and conform to the guidelines of IT security, enabling developers to build customized applications according to their business needs. Using proven rapid application development platforms, shadow apps can be liberated from proprietary technologies that often becomes a roadblock to innovation.
To mitigate the risk of shadow IT, developers want to work on secured platforms that help them build custom applications with minimal coding and in less time. Whether working on a large project or many small projects, enterprises rely on a global team of developers. These developers have varied levels of skills and roles to play. Platforms with comprehensive role-based access control features will allow enterprise application development teams to collaborate better and create applications faster without the risk of project governance issues. It is based on the principle of allowing the least level of access to perform tasks with full efficiency.
Today’s government regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) place strict requirements on enterprise databases and their use. Keeping this in mind, logging data changes in a database has become a common requirement of enterprise applications. This involves additional effort during the application development process. Instead, an in-built functionality for data auditing will allow developers to concentrate more on the business logic than handling history logging needs. Platforms that enable seamless integration of such functionalities into applications will automatically become the preferred choice of enterprises to meet compliance needs.
Rules, standards, and governance help to not only decide what apps are to be created but also how they will be written. Good governance policy is one of the secrets to successful low-code implementation. In the absence of it, an enterprise may end up with thousands of low-code applications in dire need of IT intervention.
Originally published by Rooplekha Poddar in DZone.com
Docker and container technology are well-known in Enterprise today. The simplified view of containers as miniaturization of VMs seems to yield benefits of portability and faster startup times. But what is less apparent is the benefit they bring to the business. To understand this, we must first look at various scenarios in which the technology can be applied. Just as Java technology applied to IoT or Android is different from that applied to Enterprise software, the benefits realized from any technology, along with its challenges, vary depending upon the context of its application.
In this post, we'll explore a couple of contexts in which container technology can be applied and how its benefits and challenges differ.
This is the most common context. Here, containers are adopted by IT as a form of software packaging and distribution. Typically, IT expects to be provided with containers instead of application binaries by the development teams. So containers act as a sort of black box that contains all the software and its dependencies. Developers require to package and deliver a set of container images along with relevant configuration files--that describe how these containers may talk to each other (ports), what storage needs they have (volumes), and so on. From an IT stand-point this creates a homogenous black-box approach to deploying pretty much anything in the Enterprise, and this makes it especially suited to large, data-center scale deployments.
In this condition, the application and adoption of container technology is largely IT-oriented. It favours IT over developers as the latter need to do a lot of heavy-lifting--converting their app binaries and dependencies into container images and pushing them into a container registry. Most container management platforms out there focus on providing the right tools to IT to pull those images from a registry and provision them on a set of machines (physical or virtual). The focus of such platforms is purely on run-time aspects, such as container orchestration, with very little context of the app or the app stack itself.
The key benefit of approaching container technology in this context is the optimization of infrastructure resources. Platforms like Kubernetes were born out of such a need to optimize infrastructure usage at very large scales (say, millions of containers). However, there are two points of caution. One, this may result in further isolation between IT and developers causing more throw-the-problem-over-the-wall scenarios. No matter how perfect the technology, experience tells us that more de-siloed communication and collaboration is the approach towards hassle-free and rapid delivery of applications in production. Hence, “DevOps”. Two, it is questionable whether all applications are suited to such a black-box hands-off approach between developers and IT. Also, the effectiveness of this approach in real usage remains to be seen.
In this case, application delivery teams adopt containers with the primary goal of speeding up the time-to-market for their apps or products. Using the rapid portability advantages of containers, development and DevOps engineers put together the app composition, wire together various services/ micro-services--by use of service discovery--and set up configurations for various environments. This context of container usage is more app-focused and less infrastructure-focused (though the resource optimization benefits of containers accrue over time as more apps adopt containers for delivery). Also, the approach is both design-time and run-time focused and favors the development and DevOps teams over IT. It seeks to make development teams self-sufficient in getting their apps into the hands of their users.
Few platforms focus on these aspects that provide developers the required tools to automate the generation of container images, service versioning, and configuration for multiple environments of the app. The most important benefits of such platforms are rapid containerization of existing apps, rapid provisioning and configuration, and easy promotion of apps from one environment to another. Orchestration takes care of scalability and high-availability requirements, and these are configured entirely from an application perspective.
The greatest benefit for enterprises using containers for rapid application delivery is time-to-market for their apps rather than infrastructure optimization. As the market for containers matures further, expect to see a shift in focus towards this direction.
Wavemaker HyScale is app containerization and container management platform that takes the view that an application’s time-to-market is a far more important focus for Enterprise business than infra-resource optimization. The platform is built ground-up with the application in mind and every aspect is designed around the app's stack, the app's services, and the app's configuration. Hence there are very few (if any) aspects of the platform that require users to deal with the underlying container technology aspects. In fact, HyScale makes it very easy for users to adopt the platform--and thereby adopt containers--without even requiring to know Docker, or use any Docker commands or even any kind of build/ deploy YAML configuration files.
HyScale allows development teams to stay focused on the app and become self-servicing at the same time, allowing them to rapidly deploy and iterate over their app.
Contact us to know more about how WaveMaker HyScale can empower your organization to achieve faster time-to-market with containers and without having to re-skill or re-tool you development workflows.
CIOs are finding it harder to meet their digital goals with obstacles like,
These obstacles manifest into expectations, imperatives, and challenges that organizations need to be aware of and take appropriate actions. Many organizations have responded by using one of a growing breed of "low-code," rapid development platforms to overcome the obstacles. Low-code application Platform delivers business applications through a Rapid Application Development and Delivery approach, where the apps are created visually involving a minimum of hand-coding and upfront investment in setup, training, and deployment.
The fundamental expectation from a low-code app development platform is to offer a WYSIWYG development environment where developers can drag and drop components to design responsive user interfaces that adapt to a device’s screen resolution. Some Low-code Platforms take an extra step to offer out-of-the-box templates for commonly used layouts and screens such as dashboards. The demand for enterprise mobile apps has meant that Low-code Platforms have also started to offer cross-platform mobile app development with access to native mobile device features while abstracting the underlying operating system complexities.
Virtually every business application depends on data to create a meaningful application. But data is available from disparate systems ranging from proprietary enterprise systems to APIs from external entities and everything in between. Hence, data integration consumes an inordinate amount of time and resources during enterprise application development. A Low-code Platform is expected to provide a visual approach for developers to connect to these data sources and embed data elements directly into the application. Some platforms also allow professional developers to design data models and configure business logic directly inside the low-code app.
Beyond the need to eliminate or reduce application coding, Low-code Platforms are expected to streamline and speed up the application delivery process itself. One key characteristic is the ability to instantly deploy an application with zero DevOps. Such platforms also offer a single point of control for app maintenance and updates. While other low-code app development platforms extend the capabilities to security, governance, version control, infrastructure auto-scaling, and more.
With the WaveMaker low-code platforms, the above expectations and more can be met.
According to Forrester Research, the low-code market is here to stay as they estimated it will go up to $15.4 billion by 2020. This in other words defines that enterprises are beginning to realize long-term benefits while they make a shift to using low-code platforms. Businesses today seek app-based solutions built quickly and easily to meet their business needs. This has caused a change in the dynamics of low-code platforms, which earlier offered niche-based solutions are now expanding with the rising number of use cases being offered by enterprises from various industries as mentioned in the table below,
|Banking and insurance||Healthcare and pharma||Energy and utilities||Information technology and services|
|CRM apps||Patient management app||Business process management apps||Legacy app modernization|
|loan approval app||Accounting and invoicing app||CRM apps||Business process management apps|
| Insurance management app
(Read case study)
|Laboratory information management app||Monitoring dashboards||CRM and ERP platform dashboards|
While there are a plethora of industries with varying app requirements, the use cases to build these apps roughly remain similar.
With more enterprises and businesses making a smarter choice with low-code platforms, this list will further grow and provide greater depth in the capabilities of low-code platforms in the future bringing success to more businesses.
WaveMaker’s low-code platform has supported enterprises that can bring their applications to life with minimal code, effort, and at a reasonable cost. With WaveMaker’s out-of-the-box features, the use cases mentioned above and more can be tackled easily providing a smart choice for your enterprise application-based needs.
It’s that time of the year!! Predictions for Low-Code Development using RAD Platforms.
First of all wishing everyone a great new year and all the success for your products, services, customers, and partners! It is that time of the year, where many in the technology industry spend time penning down predictions on the future of technology and everything revolving around it. In the past few days, I have read various predictions on technology, tech marketing, sales enablement, tech disruptions, Cyber Security, and the list goes on and on…
I thought to contribute one more prediction to the many, out there.
This blog is my personal take on what 2017 will look for the RAD (Rapid Application Development) and more specifically trends within Applications developed using such an approach. This is based on my experiences working with customers, partners, speaking to folks in this industry, and general analysis of the market trends.
Scope of RAD Platforms
Ease of Development
RAD platforms will be expected to provide drag and drop out-of-box packaged integrations to commonly used services (Payment Gateways, SaaS Platforms, Identity Services, Cloud Services, etc). As part of this, API-based integration will become a de facto way to develop applications and integrate with internal as well as external systems.
For enterprises to fully utilize the power of RAD platforms, they will start to coexist RAD with other complementary platforms in the overall App Ecosystem.
Hope this prediction list has been interesting. Let's see how 2017 pans out for RAD / Low Code Platforms. While I am not a fortune-teller and do not intend to be one, and guarantee the above predictions, there is one thing I can guarantee, that the ride will be exciting for RAD platform vendors as well as enterprises that adopt it. So stay tuned and let's see how this unfolds itself.
In today’s digital world, Apps have become an essential part of all enterprise activities. App demands are driven by both external customers, who demand it to be interactive and internal customers(employees), who want tons of custom business apps to be built. Internal app demands are primarily generated by non-technical-business teams. The apps are usually non-mission-critical but business-critical apps. The people who demand these apps are business users who usually have limited -technical knowledge. A small portion of these app demands are getting satiated by out-of-the-box SaaS services but they still have a big chunk of custom demands that have to be built... There is an inherent dependency created on the technical/IT teams to take care of these app needs. But in organizations, IT/technical teams have focused mostly on the core/mission-critical apps. This creates a catch-22 situation for these business app developers, where they themselves cannot create an app and the IT team is a bottleneck. In essence app development is in the control of a select few technical developers and the IT team. In other words, there is no “Democratic way to include all stakeholders into the app development process”.
Back in 2011, Gartner predicted that at least 25% of all business applications will be built by citizen developers. The emergence of the non-technical business developers also called citizen developers is real now. Gartner defines a citizen developer as “A user who creates new business applications for consumption by others using development and run-time environments sanctioned by corporate IT.”.
One of the primary reasons for the coming-of-age of the citizen developers is the emergence of modern low-code platforms. Low-Code platforms like Wavemaker bring in a new zeal for the citizen developers where they can use visual app-building approaches, 1-click deployments, and DIY app maintenance to quickly create an app from an idea.
However, the emergence of both the citizen developers and low-code platforms has not played out that much with a lot of the enterprise technology leadership. There are still challenges within enterprises to establish a centralized innovation platform for citizen developers to quickly create an app from an idea. There are no established methodologies that can be adopted by enterprise IT to make the combo of citizen-developers and low-code-platforms work effectively. Agile processes are only partially successful with low-code platforms. Partial involvement of technical teams is still a reality. Even a small involvement of technical teams brings in big hurdles to unleash the true power of the citizen developer movement.
Is Gartner’s BiModal-IT, a solution for ushering in the Citizen Developer movement? The answer would be Yes and No. BiModal-IT is a high-level methodology that is to be employed by enterprises and propagates the creation and operation of 2 distinct teams to tackle the issues of renovation and innovation. Citizen developers can be employed in both teams, more so in Innovate teams.
BiModal-IT doesn’t specifically get into the intricacies of how exactly the citizen developers can be empowered. Gartner though gets into those details in another publication specifically targeting the citizen developers. There it talks about how Citizen developers can contribute to enterprise innovation(mode 2 of BiModal-IT), how they need separate special infrastructure and tools (like low-code platforms) to get empowered.
Bimodal IT and Pace Layering (Courtesy: Gartner)
2-pass development is a new methodology proposed by WaveMaker, specifically targeted at using a low-code platform in the most optimized manner to completely leverage the omnipresent citizen developers in an enterprise to usher an era of enterprise innovation.
2-pass development methodology, as it says, includes two development passes:
*Read more about the 2-pass development approach and its benefits in my blog here.
This setup can enable the enterprise citizen developers in a big way and usher in innovation within the enterprise. “Democratization of app development” becomes a reality. WaveMaker platform is helping customers serve theirs. It is truly commendable how low-code platforms like WaveMaker is helping add tremendous amounts of value to many enterprises by giving them the freedom to build codeless, intuitive technology at the click of the mouse.
Citizen development efforts are poised to grow rapidly in the next few years, led by the increasing adoption of cloud-based platforms, which simplify access to corporate data. Enterprises across the board are keen to embrace citizen developer tools not only to amass productivity gains but also because business users are tired of waiting for IT to deliver the applications they need at the speed of business. Let us look at how you can create the right conditions and catalysts for a citizen developer revolution at your enterprise.
According to Gartner, “a citizen developer is a user who creates new business applications for consumption by others using development and runtime environments sanctioned by corporate IT. In the past, end-user application development has typically been limited to single-user or workgroup solutions built with tools like Microsoft Excel and Access. However, today, end users can build departmental, enterprise and even public applications using shared services, fourth-generation language (4GL)-style development platforms and cloud computing services.”
The above definition also contains two preconditions that are necessary for citizen development: