Notes from the Field: Solving the Plague of Windows

Application Overload for End Users

I have been seeing a trend in requests from IT and business users to solve a critical issue in most organizations: The Plague of Windows.  We have all seen it, and definitely experienced it.  How many application windows do you need to have open to get your work done during the day?  Are you copying and pasting, flipping back and forth between apps?  Entering data multiple times, in multiple applications?  Referencing data in one app to accomplish a task in another?  So I asked myself, why now?  Why has this started to become a critical issue?  Below are the reasons as I see them:

  • The rise of cloud based Software as a Service (SaaS) – platforms like Salesforce, Workday, Box, Dropbox, Office 365 and others have revolutionized the way we conduct our daily work lives, and given us anywhere access to our information.  Unfortunately, when it comes to integrating them with on premise apps, getting them to talk to each other, and sharing data and UI information is absolutely painful.  In essence, we have complicated the always present application “silo” issue, and required heavy custom development for true integration.  Most organizations avoid the pain, or create difficult to manage one-off apps to solve niche problems.
  • Niche/specialty applications are on the rise – every day, I am involved in discussions with IT management and execs that are pondering the ever-present issue in the IT landscape – Do I buy the specialty app for my problem?  The burgeoning start-up ecosystem has created amazing applications that fix focused issues.  Want to provide field inspectors with an inspection tool?  Need to create and manage CapEx requests?  Looking for expense management?  There are specific apps for all those key areas, but when you buy them, you create another silo, another set of data, and another barrier to dissolve.
  • The plethora of data – Ok, there is my $20 word 😉  We have more data today available to us than ever before.  Organizations are leveraging reports and information from all systems to make informed decisions, create strategy and just get there work done.  Access to this data is usually accomplished through the system of record, or through, yet another, application for reporting.

So how do we fix this?  The first step is to solve the data problem, which requires a data integration bus technology (An example is K2’s smartobject layer) .   This can facilitate the creation of this “data foundation”, providing access to all your systems .   Once we have access to the information, now we need a consolidated, dynamic UI to surface the data to the end-user.  This unified interface provides all the necessary information at-a-glance, eliminating the plague or windows, and improving productivity and adding immense efficiency.

Below is a quick video overview of how K2 “no code” technology can solve these app aggregation issues:

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No Code Dev Platforms for Customer Facing Apps

No low code platform

Driving Fast External Apps with No/Low Code Business App Platforms

She sits in her office, and stares at the calendar.  “There is no way to get all these projects done on time,” she mumbles to herself.

Enter the life of today’s development manager.  There just aren’t enough hours in the day, days in the month, months in the year.  With IT departments struggling to keep pace with the speed of their internal and external customers, low/no code app platforms are quickly becoming necessary in all aspects of business.  Of particular importance are those apps that are customer facing, driving interaction with products and services, as well as personnel from sales, marketing, support and operations.

“Low-code platforms are a converging category, not a new one. Most vendors of these products established their technologies with internal-facing applications. Customer-facing applications are quickly becoming a popular new use case for these platforms because these types of applications demand rapid delivery and evolution.”

Forrester Whitepaper: New Dev Platforms Emerge for Customer-Facing Apps

So how can these platforms be leveraged?  See below for some key benefits:

  1.   Quick Web and Mobile Integration with Line of Business System Data – The bane of any CIO’s existence is integration and cross system communication.  With no/low code business app platforms, integration and surfacing data is a snap.  An example would be K2’s smartobject technology for line of business integration.  smartobjects take away the pain of integration, and make integrating with any line of business system, whether on-prem or in the cloud, a snap.   No more code…just “point and shoot” through configuration.  Imagine surfacing SAP or Oracle data in a web form in hours, not days, and making it available on a vendor portal, or to a partner ecosystem.
  2.   Use Powerful Forms Technology to Save on Dev Time – imagine a powerful component-based technology that gave you a library of form controls, a form rules engine and fantastic data capabilities at your finger tips.  Just use powerful wizard driven interfaces to auto-build components, and customize further through an intuitive drag and drop design canvas.  When you are all done, embed the form or view into any web page.
  3.   Create Once.  Reuse Often. – reusability is a core theme to no/low code platforms, and one of the biggest benefits.   Over time, organizations can create a set of forms, data, reports and workflows that can be utilized as an accelerator in any application project.  No more reinventing the wheel, over and over again.

The above are just a few of the benefits.   Below is an overview of how an organization can leverage a no code platform to deliver functionality in short order for external users:

 

Amazing Statistic on Data Volume Explosion

Can we control the data explosion with workflow?

Explosion of Data in Company Workflow
Slide from K2 Slide Deck on Controlling Data with Workflow