Removing the IT Log Jam: 4 Keys to Faster Project Delivery

Forms, Workflow and Integration with no code

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:

  1.  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?

 

 

 

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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:

 

Forrester Report Analysis: New Dev Platforms for Customer Facing Apps

Forrester Apps Report

Are no/low-code platforms the answer?

“In the age of the customer, everything runs as quickly as customers and markets – and software delivery must keep up.” 

Forrester

A recent Forrester report, “New Development Platforms Emerge For Customer-Facing Applications,” discusses how many companies are choosing low-code platforms over traditional hand-coded development platforms due to the speed with which low-code applications can be assembled, deployed and tested. With customer-facing applications at the top of IT priority lists, traditional programming platforms simply cannot keep up with the “short schedules and rapid change cycles” such applications require. The report goes on to discuss the challenges that application and development (AD&D) leaders face when formulating strategies for customer-facing applications, and advantages that low-code platforms provide, including the ability to lower barriers between requirements and delivery, and provide business leaders with a way to test and experiment with new ideas at a low risk and cost.

Want to read it all?  You can download the entire report and whitepaper here:

Forrester Report: New Development Platforms Emerge

Low-code Application Solutions for High-Turn Delivery