Categories
Insights

Ideal use cases for low-code platforms

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 realise 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

5 common use cases of low-code platforms

While there are a plethora of industries with varying app requirements, the use cases to build these apps roughly remain similar.

  1. Business process managing applications:
    They deal with process management, case management, process automation and social features to manage business processes. They support business process management and can ease work in industries such as healthcare and hospital management with apps for maintaining patient records, surgery procedure management, etc. Now, let us take a look at a few elements required in such apps like forms where data is captured. Low- code platforms provide these features like forms out of the box with design in place allowing you to run CRUD, sorting, caching and loading of data. Which saves time for the developer while building the application as this can be easily integrated into the application.
  2. Database managing applications:  
    Most businesses require platforms to work with relational databases. Data is key and crucial to most businesses. With a low-code platform, you can easily bind, view, update and visualize database tables without having to write any code. Databases like SQL, MySQL, PL/SQL to mention a few are supported by most platforms making database management easy. Let’s look at a CRM tool that needs to send out an email on successful creation of an invoice or an order in the CRM database. This can be achieved using a low-code platform as it allows you to tie business logic, on the occurrence of various events that get fired during the management of data.
  3. Omni-channel platforms:
    These are best suited for business sectors such as BFSI and call centers. Low-code platforms can help reduce the time and effort in building applications required for online banking where customers can manage their personal and/or business accounts anywhere, anytime and on any device. These requirements need the application to fetch data from multiple data sources (databases, APIs, Custom Business Logic, files, legacy apps, cloud services) and create web as well as mobile ready dashboards. Low- code platforms not only provide these integrations with APIs and business logic, but also provide real time charts, live data grids and live lists that give immediate visibility into data.This allows businesses in the BFSI sector see their applications finally reach a production phase.
  4. Microservices-based applications:
    Netflix and Amazon have implemented microservices architecture and have seen a great deal of success in their business models. Enterprises looking to make the shift from a monolithic approach to that of microservices can do so with low-code platforms. They have the ability to create web applications that are modular in nature. It allows an enterprise to create a suite of micro applications that can integrate with each other using services that are exposed by each application to one another. These services are automatically published by certain low-code platforms for each application allowing your enterprise a microservice architecture.
  5. Rebuilding legacy applications to modern mobile applications:
    Many Enterprises have legacy applications that are developed a decade back but still relevant in terms of the business functionality. The problem is these applications user interface due to its age lacks usability, modern design principles and most importantly a responsive user interface.With low-code platforms, existing legacy applications can be migrated while keeping the backend data source and business logic intact. The migrated application can take advantage of modern UX and user interface that most low code platforms provides out of the box. The application UI built by good low-code platforms, are good looking and responsive in nature, which means it can run on any mobile device.

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.

Categories
Insights

Predictions for low code development using RAD platforms!

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.

Adoption

  • More Enterprises will continue to invest heavily in searching, exploring and concept proofing RAD for their own development needs.
  • RAD will move from experimental discussion to a serious topic of discussion and consideration among architects, development leaders and application influencers within enterprises as a way to increase productivity to develop Applications.
  • While RAD and low code development platforms came to being to democratize app development and continue to do so, we will see more of professional application developers join the bandwagon of using RAD platforms as a way to develop sophisticated enterprise applications.

Scope of RAD Platforms

  • RAD vendors will evolve from only development to full-fledged development, deployment and application hosting platforms
  •  As professional developers get deeply involved with RAD, they will want to bring in best practices in app development, deployment and DevOps from their vast experiences into application lifecycle. They will push the borders of RAD to increase its scope to include features around DevOps integration, code Branching, automated testing, cloud deployment, real time integration etc.
  • IoT platform integration will emerge as a key use for applications.

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.        

Ecosystem Play
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.

  • RAD and API Management Platforms complement each other. These two platforms can feed off each other. RAD can help solve the last mile problem of easy app development for API management platforms. RAD can help create the APIs for App management platforms.
  • With IoT gaining traction, RAD and IoT platforms will gain more traction in this year.
  • SaaS Platforms will use RAD as an effective way to increase developer adoption and ecosystem creation.

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.

Categories
Insights

Enabling a Pace Layered Application Strategy

Enterprises are cognizant of the digital trends that are radically transforming customer behavior. It is causing enterprises to break sweat in the way they operate, forcing them to adapt or perish. Developers and business users are not happy with the pace of innovation in their enterprises and find it hard to understand numerous processes and limitations that restrict them from moving faster.

Creating the ideal enterprise innovation infrastructure

Traditional application delivery can rarely get to all of the custom apps that the business needs causing enterprise IT teams to explore modern technology platforms. Meanwhile, CIOs are having sleepless nights thinking about how to tackle enterprise challenges while dealing with shrinking IT budgets.  The Sandbox for enterprise innovation provides the essential freedom from issues that confront today’s enterprise app development teams:

  • With ease and speed of the using rapid application delivery and low code platforms
  • Simpler integrations to APIs or master data on company’s system of records and system of differentiation
  • Having an application designed for cloud deployment and meeting scalability needs
  • Using collaborative development involving not just professional developers
  • The sandbox needs to make complex processes simple and have the ability to configure, manage and monitor systems out of the box.

What is a Pace Layered Application Strategy?

According to Gartner, a pace layered application strategy “is a methodology for categorizing, selecting, managing and governing applications to support business change, differentiation and innovation.” With a pace layered strategy, businesses can build an application strategy that delivers a faster response and a better ROI, without sacrificing integration, integrity, and/or governance. Gartner has classified these into three categories or layers explained in the figure below.

Systems of Innovation:
New applications built on an ad hoc basis to cater to new business requirements and opportunities.

Systems of Differentiation:
Applications which need to incorporate company processes and industry-specific capabilities.  

Systems of Record:
These are legacy home grown systems that support core transaction processing and manage the organization’s critical master data. 

How to implement a Pace Layered strategy for your enterprise

WaveMaker has helped enterprises across industries and geographies to adopt Pace Layered strategy for their enterprise application portfolio using the following, proven three-phase execution process:

Assess:

  • Create a panel of business users and IT application experts
  • Analyze the characteristics of each application and the business process it supports
  • Assign risk, cost and business value to each application
  • Categorize applications into one of the three pace-layers as per their characteristics
  • Less frequent pace of change
  • Fixed and stable process
  • 10-20 year life span
  • Investment as a capital asset
  • Suited to Mode 1 of Bimodal IT

  Moderately frequent pace of change

  • Fixed and dynamic process
  • 3-5 year life span
  • Investment as capital or expense
  • Suited to Mode 1 or Mode 2 of Bimodal IT

Systems of Innovation

  • Very frequent pace of change
  • Ambiguous and dynamic process
  • 6 months – 3 year life span
  • Investment as an expense
  • Suited to Mode 2 of Bimodal IT

Adapt:

  • Adapt your application governance model to fit the objectives and needs of the three layers
  • Use APIs to facilitate interoperability of the applications within and between layers
  • Strive for business-IT alignment using 2-Pass Development approach
  • Eliminate or shelve applications with high risk/cost and low business value

Advance:

  • Build awareness of pace layers throughout the organization.
  • Encourage users to think about applications and processes based on their probable rate of change.
  • Modernize applications with the poor risk/cost but high business value
  • Adopt low-code, Rapid Application Development platforms to help create an environment that fosters innovation
Categories
Enterprise Application Development

RAD Architecture Series: User Interface Widgets

Let’s continue our march towards understanding Rapid Enterprise Architecture, in this blog we will cover one of the most visible aspect of modern applications being the User Interface Widgets.

User Interface Widgets play a very important role in both the User Interface Design and the User Experience of the application. Both UI Design and UX Design if done right with users in mind, can make or break application usage.

WaveMaker Platform provides a number of User Interface Widgets out of the box for developers. In case of WaveMaker, the User Interface Widgets not only help in providing beautiful UI out of the box but also are designed to increase the overall productivity of Widget Interactions. For example, by default many of the Widgets give out of box pagination, default selections, security, templates etc.

In doing so, WaveMaker UI Widgets play a critical part in enabling rapid development of applications by enabling a lot more tasks than just front end UI development.

User Interface:
Modern apps dictate both sophistication and variety in terms of out of box widgets. Different use cases dictate various forms of the widgets being used. Widgets need to take care of flexibility and advancement in both form and function. Finally every widget needs to be responsive.  WaveMaker provides all the standard HTML5 widgets from lists, grids, containers, charts, forms, panels, and all other HTML5 controls that an app requires by default in responsive form. Explore the list of widgets. 

Back-end Integrations:
In case of WaveMaker, the widgets also handle the following common functions required in a full stack application,

  • Auto Wiring to back-end services
  • Managing CRUD Operations
  • Configuration of Widgets
  • Templates that provide default properties
  • Security (Visibility, Accessibility of individual fields etc.)
  • Pagination

WaveMaker leverages the concept of Data Binding by Angular, to bind Widgets with Data (View & Model). Widgets can be configured to bind UI Elements to specific fields of the Data Model provided by Variables.

The Variables provide data integration for the widgets. Performs updates and synchronization to the actual data services in the backend. Manages client-side memory efficiently with scopes.
The Variables,

  1. Holds the actual data rendered by the widgets
  2. Data structure used for binding, with attributes and related objects
  3. API source from where the model object is obtained (DB, REST API or Java Services)
  4. Events that control the updates between widgets and actual service, vice versa

In summary, WaveMaker Widgets are highly sophisticated that not only enable creating  beautifully looking UI out of the box for Web and Mobile Apps but also due to its backend functionality they can greatly increase the productivity in developing the applications.

Head over to WaveMaker Rapid Application Development Platform page to learn more about the features and frameworks.

Categories
Insights

Legacy App Modernization Challenges

Enterprises have been creating and using applications since the beginning of the IT era. Some of these applications built using older technologies and architecture are still being used today to support core business functions. This formula has worked for few enterprises and few enterprises are feeling the use of such applications being historic and dated. With the emergence of mobile devices and supporting software each day, enterprises are required to keep up to speed and transform their legacy applications running on older technology to a new and updated technology while maintaining the same functionality or making it better.

Modernization of legacy applications does have its challenges, it is explained below in the following steps.

  1. Recognizing when an enterprise should make the shift to application modernization
    Enterprises using legacy applications start to get comfortable with the application, and forget to keep up with the growing trends in technology by updating their application till a stage when it is too late. If this has happened to you, it would end up in a situation where you find the functionality of the application poses issues related to opportunities and challenges introduced by digitization and globalization of the general business environment. Legacy applications can limit your organization’s ability to meet current and future business needs effectively and efficiently, or to integrate emerging technologies. Such application performance issues are a good trigger for your enterprise to consider a shift towards application modernization.
  2. Laying the foundation for application modernization
    Now that you have identified the need for modernization, the next challenge is to understand where to start with the transformation of the legacy application. The first step towards this is to understand what impacts it will have to the infrastructure and the overall IT environment of the enterprise which includes the business, the IT stakeholders and the costs involved.A few factors to consider are,

    • Identifying applications that require a replacement or upgrade.
    • Exploring the use of managed, shared or cloud services
    • Choosing a platform that can blend well with the existing application or can be integrated with the same
    • Choosing a platform that can accommodate current and future needs of the application.
    • Measuring the costs involved, which include continuing operating cost, maintenance cost, replacement costs. Apart from this, operational risks and unexpected cost of application failure.
  3. Planning your application
    Once you have estimated your costs and understood the requirements, the next step is to figure out what not to do with your application. For instance removing redundancies from the legacy application and planning it in a way that can eliminate any duplication if any. Simplifying the application by prioritizing application requirements to meet business requirements making it more extensible, sustainable and efficient.
  4. Execution of the plan
    There is nothing more satisfying than being able to execute a well laid plan. The same is true in case of an application.To execute the plan, you must decide whether the application will be re-built, re-designed or bought or a combination of the three.There are different approaches to this such as,

    • Re-hosting the legacy application. Where the legacy application exists on a more flexible platform and exposing the data of the legacy application to be consumed by the modern application which is also cost effective.
    • Code transformation, where software is used to disassemble the code and then the whole application is reconstructed in a new language keeping the naming conventions and business logic to the business specifications. This can be a time consuming and expensive.
    • Enterprises can invest in Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) Software that are supported by third party vendors and can either have their application developed by them or buy the software or license and have it developed in house. COTS can be either cloud based or on premise.
  5. Training, testing and deployment
    Training , testing and deployment are vital in the success of any application. Having the right training especially if the solution is COTS is essential as the user can see the benefit first hand with the use- cases being met. A visual, drag-and-drop feature in low-code COTS can flatten the learning curve – minimizing hand coding while generating standard-based applications. Another key requirement of a legacy application modernization project is to have the stakeholders in the loop throughout the project and also enabling collaborative development. This ensures an open forum and avoids rework of nitty gritties within the project. A good COTS or low-code platform should also provide a period of hand holding for the end users and stakeholders.A period of built-in support after deployment is also a good idea.
  6. Support and maintenance
    Applications that are built on modern standards and requirements are subject to changes in the form of updates. A modern application should have provisions for agility and scalability. In addition to this, the code generated should be easy to maintain. Low-code platforms used for legacy app modernization provides easy options as far as maintenance of code and keeping maintenance and support costs to a minimum.

The path to transforming a legacy application to a modern application is a rather challenging one and it needs to possess all the features of a modern application like quick and easy integrations to new technologies and an adaptability to a host of new mobile devices.
WaveMaker low-code platform with its unique features like drag & drop visual development allows enterprises to successfully migrate Lotus Notes based applications, Oracle Forms based applications and MS Access based application to state of the art modern applications with minimal coding effort and costs.

Get Started to find out how WaveMaker’s Low-code Platform can modernize your  legacy applications.