No Code Platforms Are the Key
Today, it is a common theme: IT departments are understaffed and have a massive backlog of projects to deliver. Last week, I was engaged in a customer panel discussion, and one of the folks, an IT Manager, stated that their IT project backlog put many of the projects out to 2020. I thought to myself, how can you even plan that far ahead in the technology space? Every 3 years it seems there is some kind of disruption that changes strategy and direction. So the real question is how can you deliver faster results for the business and remain agile?
Forrester put out a great report last year on the emergence and popularity of No Code Platforms (see it here: Forrester No Code), and leveraging them to change the way you deliver results to the business. It is all about delivering smaller, quick, No code applications to immediately provide solutions to problems within departments. Using these platforms, IT can create quick wins, eliminate backlog pressure, and focus on larger projects with free resources. Forrester states in one large customer, over 15,000 apps were deployed to meet all different types of needs, a feat only possible with a no code framework.
So what are the key pieces these platforms provide, and how can they help? See below:
- Forms/UI – In the customers I work with, forms are a very popular request item, and are typically a key backlog component, as most are built with custom code, or on a legacy forms product like Microsoft’s Infopath. No form request is ever simple, and add data and integration requirements, and a small forms project can blossom into a full-blown dev engagement requiring custom integration, custom web-based code and pieces of workflow. With no-code platforms, forms can be built in hours, not days, through drag and drop design. Below is a great video put out by K2, called Easy vs. Hard, where an expense claim app is built both in K2’s no-code platform, and through custom code. The results were amazing, and no-code was the winner built at 8x faster than hard coding.
2. Data/Integration – Ah, the pain. Seamless access of data across your line of business systems seems to be a “pipe dream”, and integration efforts typically take the most time across any app project. With no-code platforms, a true integration bus that provides configured integration is one of the most valuable components, and can add massive value. Spanning line of business systems through point and click integration, takes away a massive dev burden and will provide acceleration of any project. This “smartobject” layer can also be re-used across projects, and provide easy access to SharePoint, SAP, Oracle, SQL, Web Services and any other system.
3. Workflow and Logic – Even the most basic application requires some type of logic, flow or back-end handy work. A robust workflow engine can provide simple functionality, like an email notification or a document routing, but can also provide complex functionality usually reserved for custom code. Eliminating the need for custom work in this realm can also provide great benefits, and reduced delivery times. This layer can be easily coupled with any forms or data projects to extend functionality, and drive value.
4. Reporting – Reporting is all about the data, and most organizations will use a separate reporting platform to deliver on requirements. This usually leads to engaging separate resources, and sometimes a second project to provide what the business needs. Wouldn’t it be nice if reporting and dashboards could be automatically generated for the specific app, form or workflow? This is what the Business Process App platform brings, a truly coupled reporting engine. Most platforms also provide access to their data layer for additional extension of reporting capabilities.
So the best thing about the no-code platforms? You can combine any of these pieces, in any way, to deliver on business requirements without the need for custom work, or the engagement of your dev department. Did I miss anything? Thoughts?