Rebuilding Legacy Apps: 6 No-code Must Haves

replacing lotus notes and mainframe applications

Replacing Legacy Apps (Mainframe Apps, Lotus Notes, Custom) with No Code Platforms

Many organizations are looking to give a face lift or do a full replacement on their legacy applications.  This can be a daunting task, especially when confronted with the costs for a full rewrite.  I am seeing more and more organizations using low/no code platforms to accelerate the process, reduce costs and leverage existing data assets.  When looking at no code, there are some key requirements, “must haves”, and below is a quick list:

Adaptable Data and Integration Layer – providing no-code integration with an existing set of data is a critical requirement.  You should have a broad set of existing integrations that you can leverage immediately to jump-start your project.  An example?  Last month we worked with a large law firm looking to replace a custom built set of applications to run their firm.  All the data was housed in SQL, and they leverage several tables and stored procedures.  With smartobject technology, the integration was point and shoot, with the table structure and SPs being auto-discovered and available in the designer immediately.   Want to move the data to a newer line of business system?  Having a selection of SQL, Oracle, DB2, and many others can help you rebuild or redesign a data layer quickly.

Data Integration Software
Smartobject Integration Layer

Flexible Web-based UI – With the broad range of devices workers leverage today to complete tasks, applications need to work on desktops/laptops, phones and tablets.  Building an app that can span all these devices can be challenging.  Leveraging a platform that can provide a responsive, modern web-based foundation can eliminate work, and the requirement to build separate UI for each independent device.  The UI needs to be standalone, and able to deliver without a dependent technology.

Mobile Apps No Code
Mobile Adaptability is Key

UI Rules Engine – the ability to build rules based on form or user interface actions can help with automating data entry, provide seamless integration with line of business systems, and create a dynamic, responsive user experience.  In addition, this can be key in mobile development where managing the limited real estate with regards to screen size and usability is paramount.  The ability to do all of this without code can save days or weeks from build time.  This functionality can also deliver validation,  and prevent the entry of bad data.  An example would be a triggered data pull from multiple back-end systems when a  field is toggled.

Rules for web forms
Dynamic Form-based Rules

Business Logic Process Engine – having an engine behind the scenes that can coordinate the flow of information, control human to system interaction and perform process automation is a critical facet.  Some key items here include: automatic assignment of actions based on directory hierarchy (Active Directory/LDAP), “flow” based rules to control branching, and complex workflow pattern capability.  Example: the automatic routing of an inbound referral based on a specific UI field.

Business Process Rules Engine
Control Flow with Rules

Reporting/Dashboard Components – pre-built reporting components that tap into specific app data and process information can accelerate the process of gleaning insight from application activities and events.  Typically, these components are just easily accessible modules within the web UI, and can be instantly added via the design interface.  In addition, support for embedding 3rd party reports is necessary to facilitate and all in one report experience.

Application Reporting Dashboards
Pre-built Reporting Controls

Complete SDK – no matter how many features you add to a “no-code” platform, there are still requirements for the extension of the platform.  A framework for extending the UI, the data layer and process engine are required, as well as a well-formed method for tapping into these using custom code, or other applications.

SDK for bpm
Extensible No Code Platform

Just a quick set of “must haves” when looking at platforms to rebuild you legacy apps.  Thoughts?

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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: