Authored by Akhil Pillai, Principal Engineer, WaveMaker, Inc
The web has been a unique platform to develop applications for decades. Of late, platform-specific applications have created a lot of buzz, mainly owing to their reliability and extensive features. Some of them work offline, some have hardware capabilities while some of them can notify users of important updates. PWAs or Progressive Web Applications are the web’s newest attempt at matching the level of reliability and richness that these native applications offer.
Progressive Web Apps are just plain old web applications with newer capabilities enabled on modern browsers using progressive enhancement. That is, even if the modern features are not supported by the browser, the user still gets the core experience of a web app. PWAs make use of web-platform features like service workers and manifests to give users an experience on par with native apps.
Some of the features that PWAs offer are:
PWAs allow users to install them through prompts that are either on the browser or implemented by the developer. Once installed, they mimic native apps that are available on home screens, docks, or taskbars. The application opens up as a different window rather than as a tab in a browser and is shown as part of the app switcher, thus tightly integrating it with the platform.
Speed is crucial to keep the user interested and reduce bounce rates. Google's research shows that an increase in page load times from 1 to 10 seconds leads to a 123% increase in bounce rates. The capability of PWAs to cache resources and load them from the cache greatly increases speed and performance. This not only helps with load times but also helps when the network is slow or there is no network at all. This means even when offline you have access to your favorite application unless network connections are indispensable.
Being a web application, PWAs can be easily shared using URLs. Anybody with a URL can install a PWA on any platform with a supported browser. This greatly reduces the effort it takes to distribute an app through an app store. Managing versions are made easy too with auto-updates or prompted updates that allow partial updates. With this feature, gone are the days when we had to download entire applications for just a small change in text.
One of the biggest flexes that native applications had over web applications is the ability to push updates to the user. Though web applications could show notifications, they needed to be running in a window to do so. PWAs have overcome this hurdle through service workers. A service worker is a piece of code that runs in the background even after the web application is closed by the user. This allows the web application to run background tasks and receive notifications. This makes it easy to keep the user engaged even when the application is not running.
PWAs are inherently secure. The service worker, which is the core part of a PWA, is only activated if the connection is secure. If the connection is not established over a secure HTTPS protocol, PWAs behave just like normal web applications.
Though these are some of the main features that PWAs offer, there is much more to them like background sync and hardware communication among others.
Most of the features directly or indirectly affect the way users interact with web applications. This in turn drives business decisions. For example, giving a native feel to a web application is made easier with PWA. This allows businesses to ship applications faster while skipping app stores and their complex policies. PWAs while reducing development effort also reduce the associated development cost. Faster loading times give a big boost to customer retention while notification capabilities keep the user engaged.
In terms of data supporting these tall claims, let's take the case of Twitter. Twitter saw a 65% increase in pages per session, 75% more Tweets, and a 20% decrease in bounce rate. Nikkei saw 2.3 times more organic traffic, 58% more subscriptions, and 49% more daily active users. Hulu replaced their platform-specific desktop experience with a Progressive Web App and saw a 27% increase in return visits. As they say, numbers don't lie. PWAs are definitely influencing customer interaction with applications.
WaveMaker uses Angular’s built-in support for PWA and throws in a bit of its own magic to enable these features. As soon as the flag is enabled, two of the most prominent features are baked right into the WaveMaker web applications - installability and caching. Notifications are also enabled by default that can be made to work with a few app-specific changes. WaveMaker also allows the user to choose a custom icon for the installable app. What better than having your brand image in your user’s app drawer!
At WaveMaker we realize that continuous improvement and innovation is the path to creating customer satisfaction. As of now, PWA features that are in the beta stage are subject to continuous improvement. The way forward is to enhance features like notifications and to gradually add features dictated by customer interests.
PWAs are here to stay and WaveMaker will help your business embrace the technology with as little code as possible.
Watch this video to know more.
Akhil Pillai is a full-stack developer with more than 10 years of experience in software development. He is a technology enthusiast and a polyglot with a soft spot for machine learning. In his free time, he loves to read technical content and listen to music.
By Vikram Srivats, Vice President, WaveMaker
Enough has been said and written about the effect of the pandemic in hyper-accelerating the shift to digital – for enterprises and consumers alike. This is one widely accepted fact we can note and move on from.
The combination of low-code development and BaaS APIs are enabling more companies than ever to add banking services to existing apps and products
However, another rising wave has been afoot for a few years now – something that Bain Capital Ventures (BCV) thinks is far greater than the Internet, Cloud, and Mobile combined (yes, you read that right) – with a projected market value of $3.6 trillion by 2030. BCV heralds this wave as the Fourth Platform: financial services in an embedded (or integrated) form within technology-driven businesses.
Andreesen-Horowitz (a16z) and CB Insights talk about this being the banking industry’s “AWS moment”, with new Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) players offering all (or parts of) the banking stack as-a-service for a new crop of fintech and tech-driven brands. a16z further predicts that every company will become a fintech company – embedding finance across digital and traditional brands – by leveraging offerings from BaaS providers.
Embedded finance and BaaS are two sides of the same coin. Brands and fintech offer embedded financial services to consumers and businesses while BaaS providers are the suppliers and enablers for those brands and fintech.
Two trends collide to form one massive opportunity
With the pandemic driving a tectonic shift to online, virtual, and instant gratification, embedded finance allows brands and disruptive new financial products to gain and delight customers, increase share-of-wallet and create stickiness. From a customer standpoint, the financial experience is in the moment, contextual and seamless within the brand experience – to the extent that the finance is almost invisible.
For example, think of Apple – which now offers a credit card backed by Goldman Sachs – or Shopify – going above and beyond by offering embedded payments, balance accounts, and loans to aspiring e-commerce businesses. With the likes of Amazon, Google, Doordash, Chime and Affirm, the list of embedded finance and BaaS-powered use cases and players is growing rapidly.
This growth is primarily fueled by a whole slew of capable BaaS players – Synapse, Treasury Prime, Stripe, Marqeta, Bond, Finastra, Railsbank, Solarisbank, Unit, Galileo, BBVA Open Platform, GPS, and many more – offering differentiated and compelling technical and financial propositions. These BaaS players in turn have partnerships with one or more banks and offer APIs (sometimes a single API) for a brand or fintech customer to call and access the offered financial service via the API.
In a way, things have come full circle – from the software powering financial services (core and engagement platforms) at FIs, we now have banking subsumed into software and offered via APIs.
BaaS APIs are becoming the new currency in the world of financial services
With this BaaS revolution going on in the background, the low-code market has grown exponentially, with more than 100 platform providers – with different specializations – competing for market share.
Microsoft, Mendix, OutSystems, and ServiceNow are some of the leading players while there are specialist challenger firms more focused on specific personas (professional developers, citizen developers, and business process users) and target areas (apps, workflow, automation, analytics, and so on).
To say that low-code adoption was propelled further by the pandemic is an understatement. Whether for businesses urgently wanting to digitally transform or for more advanced corporations, low-code has comfortably hit its stride as a new paradigm in software development.
Now, with over 2,000 fintech launched in 2019, the rise and maturity of BaaS offerings and differentiated embedded finance use cases/opportunities, and a world where APIs rule, developers are now the first customers of the banking and financial services capability stack.
Brands and fintech, banks and third-party software developers, independent software vendors, and system integrators need to find, attract, hire, train, mentor, motivate, manage and drive world-class development teams to deliver business outcomes.
They must do all this in the face of non-trivial challenges:
A breed of developer-friendly, open, API-driven, modern, enterprise-grade low-code platforms could be the answer. Here is how:
In 2020, Microsoft cited research predicting that more than 500 million new apps will be built in the next five years, which is more than the total number of apps built in the last 40 years, even as companies struggle to find software developers. According to KPMG, despite the overall market softness in H1 2020, H2 rebounded and saw almost $72 billion in fintech investment (across PE, VC, and M&A deals). Klarna, Revolut, and Chime raised mega rounds north of $500 million each. KPMG goes on to predict that embedded finance will emerge as the *new North Star* in fintech.
Low-code development layered on BaaS APIs may be embedded finance’s hockey stick moment
Embedded fintech and low-code development are massive scale markets in their own right. The next 1,000 or 10,000 fintech, FIs, and brands that deliver embedded financial services will need to be laser-focused on their customers and business to compete and win. Agility, automation, and reuse will underpin composable enterprises and personalized experiences, and modern, powerful low-code platforms already are delivering complex, compelling and contextual experiences for discerning development and business teams globally.
To further explore banking solutions by WaveMaker, please view our exclusive BFSI offerings here.
Or, start a conversation with our expert consultants for solutions to your unique requirements.
Originally published in Fintech Futures
By Vikram Srivats, Vice President, WaveMaker
Ensuring a successful climb out to a digital paradigm without running the gauntlet of costly delays.
The Covid-19 crisis is shifting profit pools – according to McKinsey1, the gap in economic profit between the top corporate performers and everyone else has widened dramatically. And the numbers are staggering – the top quintile of companies grew its market-implied annual economic profit by $335 billion, while the bottom quintile companies lost $303 billion, over a period from December 2018 to May 2020. Clearly, this is becoming somewhat of a winner-take-all scenario.
With the acceleration of trends (e-commerce, remote work, digital) driven by the pandemic, specifically for companies with middling performance, this is a call to action to build the resilient, future-ready business and operating models. And many of them are doing exactly that. During a recent quarterly earnings call, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said, “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.”
By now, almost every corporation gets all this.
But how do they ensure a successful climb out to a digital paradigm without running the gauntlet of costly delays and embarrassing failures that plagued many earlier corporate digital plans in fairer weather?
Beyond an array of best practices (reducing silos, no-BS decision-making, talent redeployment, shifting operations, and multiplying productivity), low-code based software development has the broad capability to mitigate potential risks associated with wholesale digital transformations in these uncertain times.
First, a quick primer on low-code/no-code. Simply put, it is a visual development approach to automating software development that involves little to no hand-coding, significantly speeding up applications coming to life. With the growing demand for new applications, modernizing existing/legacy applications, and new platform development – and not as many software developers to go around, low-code development has gained steam over the last few years. Gartner predicts that low-code application development platforms will be responsible for more than 65 percent of all app dev activity by 2024, while Forrester expects the low-code market to represent $21B in spending by 2022. Major technology players including Salesforce, Microsoft, Google, Oracle, Amazon, Pega, and ServiceNow have joined the low-code/no-code bandwagon, with deployed platforms and tools as part of their larger product portfolios
But what specific risks does low-code development help navigate and mitigate?
Here are 6 clear examples:
Complexity risk – With a visual, low-code paradigm, enterprises and software providers can take quick, bite-sized chunks out of the business complexity due to Covid-19. Low-code simplifies and democratizes collaborative application development to support new workflows, increased tracking, additional procedures, shifting ways of doing business, and increased overall administration – to tackle the needs of remote workforces, supply chains, and customers.
Schedule risk – The stakes for hitting a scheduled target have never been so high. Burdening your IT with demands for critical applications, and gathering a full-stack team to hand-code applications that may take weeks to deploy no longer remains a sustainable approach. Companies can instead use low-code acceleration to minimize impact from the invariable bumps (scope creep as an example) in any project, besides pandemic induced inefficiencies (lumpy productivity of 100 percent remote teams).
Budget risk – The mantra of doing more with less – specifically, more applications with less budget – is what low-code development delivers at its core. According to Gartner2, worldwide IT spending will decline by 7.3 percent this year, compared with a rise of 1 percent it calculated for 2019. Against this backdrop, low-code is exactly what the doctor ordered for companies that are making do with fractional budgets and increased oversight on spending during these times when budget overruns may be considered heresy.
Technical risk – Enterprise architecture teams no longer have the luxury of doing a double-take with technology choices if their initial choices do not scale are not secure, or simply don’t offer a solid runway from the current to the proposed future. When it comes to building enterprise applications, creating extensible frameworks goes a long way in coping with changing business needs, adding new capabilities, and re-using frameworks for future initiatives. Best-in-class low-code platforms are built around modern web architectural choices and enterprise best practices, are based on open standards, generate real code that can be exported and extended, offer enterprise-class security options, and seamlessly blend in with testing and deployment practices. Corporations using such low-code platforms have the peace of mind that they will get it right – the first time.
Talent risk – While the pandemic has disrupted the livelihoods of millions of working professionals and increased talent pools, hiring the right tech and software development talent at the right time, at an affordable price, and ensuring they are productive – remains a monumental challenge. Bridging skill gaps of existing talent to scale to modern web and mobile development is not trivial either. Low-code platforms do the heavy-lifting of software development, mitigating the need for learning coding skills in a language and eliminating the need for multiple specialist roles (UI, database, backend, deployment). Low-code-powered teams are inherently lean, modern-skilled, agile, full-stack development teams.
Market risk – The ultimate test of organizations wanting to climb steeply during Covid-19 is how they weather unanticipated market risks at different altitudes. With the order of magnitude productivity gains, low-code powered business and software development teams quickly and nimbly dodge external risks, prototyping and producing critical-to-business applications at a pace that is near-impossible with traditional development. What it brings to the table is a quick, flexible, scalable, and cost-effective approach, to accelerate the development of business-critical applications and to modernize existing applications and legacy systems.
In a way, enterprise-grade low-code platforms were built for this moment – helping professional developers effortlessly switch to a low-code way of churning out applications in high-rate-of-climb digital projects. And helping them succeed without compromising logical granularity, pixel-perfect UI or enterprise-scale, and security standards.
Covid-19 may well be a temporary phase in our collective history books a few decades down the line, but this may go down as the era in which low-code development became mainstream – and a basic checkbox for corporations in a high digital attitude climb out to navigate a plethora of risks and join the winner's circle.
Originally published in ITProPortal
How many applications are used in your enterprise? Be it a messaging application, project management tool, virtual meeting software, or HR application, critical enterprise applications have become the lifeline of business operations.
As enterprises become more hyper-connected, the virtual workplace and marketplace has transformed into a complex ecosystem. It has become an environment that demands seamless interaction, collaboration, and communication between people, applications, and devices.
While traditional organizations are accustomed to working in silos, the age of agility is driving them to bridge these gaps. The foundation of an agile organization is about enterprise-wide collaboration, bridging silos, the autonomy of cross-functional teams, alignment with business and application strategy, and self-driven teams that focus on innovation. The agile model in theory is a great concept. Implementing the concept, however, is a challenge many enterprises find difficult to address.
To achieve enterprise agility, it helps to have a low-code platform as a part of your technology toolbox. What low-code offers is an environment that empowers teams with specialized skillsets to innovate, encourages collaboration to ensure quick turnaround time of ideas to apps, automates processes to ensure optimum resource utilization and allows for deployment at scale.
Accelerate the idea-to-app turnaround time. Accelerated application development and delivery is a primary factor in agile development. Low-code platforms provide a visual development environment, auto-generates code, enables code-customization and extensibility using prefabs, provides the flexibility for 2-way workplace sync with IDEs, and allows for complete integration with CI/CD pipelines.
Empower development teams to innovate. There is a lot of time spent by development teams in manual coding under traditional application development. With low-code application development, code is auto-generated, it is extensible and can be customized to build applications at scale. By using visual drag-and-drop features, low-code helps to build core applications, giving development teams the time to work on complex components of applications.
Create leaner and agile teams. Typically, traditional development teams are made of different types of profiles, from professional front-end developers, back-end developers, UI designers, UX experts, database developers, DevOps, to quality analysts.
By providing access to full-stack technology, low-code helps to create leaner and agile teams. You can reduce the dependency on specialists, encourage upskilling, focus on business logic and drive innovation because the low-code platform can take care of end-to-end application development and deployment.
By providing auto-code generation, integration with existing applications using smart API integration tools, auto-generation of DB schema, and auto-containerization for seamless deployment, low-code streamlines development teams, making them leaner and agile to address the hyper demands of application development.
21st century IT leaders recognize the importance of agility. At a time when the market and workplaces have moved to virtual realms, there is a greater emphasis on seamless communication, collaboration, and coordination. The premise of enterprise-grade low-code platforms is the ability to provide an environment for innovation by automating manual processes and to create leaner and agile teams by empowering them with a modern technology stack. This is why low-code has become mainstream and why it is considered to be a technology that is future-proof.
Originally published in Inspirationfeed
By Vijay Pullur,
A 2009 cover of Time magazine featured the headline "The Future of Work." "Throw away your briefcase; you're not going to the office," it began and proceeded to make several pronouncements that might have been alarming 10 years ago.
Since then, the conversation around the future of work has been everywhere, and everyone has joined the bandwagon.
For over a decade, we have been imagining what this future might look like. Today, the future has arrived, seemingly overnight, and has turned all our realities upside down. This global pandemic has not only taken the whole world by surprise, but it also paused the global economy without the slightest warning. COVID-19 has marked the tipping point in the way we are conducting business. Companies are being compelled to consider permanent work-from-home policies, and enterprises that have been dragging their heels on digital transformation are suddenly at risk of being left behind.
As the world reels from being under lockdown, IT will be the backbone to ensure business continuity
In times of crisis such as this, organizations are bound to struggle with resource constraints, with their highest priority being business continuity and keeping their existing customers happy. In our current world of uncertainty — where our place of work, mode of work and even nature of work keeps changing — technology has proved to be an enabler that can help us adapt quickly and execute mission-critical priorities.
In one major overnight sweep, communication and digital apps seem to have taken over the world. Teams across the globe are using social networks, collaboration tools, online learning platforms and e-commerce apps to remodel their work and life. Remote working and virtual meetings have become the new normal, and technologies that were perhaps familiar to only fringe tech communities are now taking center stage.
Converging technologies such as high-speed internet, 4G/5G, analytics, mobile, cloud, artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics are being tested and used to introduce innovative approaches. Seamless communication, collaboration and innovation have gone from buzzwords to urgent necessities, once again highlighting the critical role IT plays in alleviating business pain points.
In the immediate post-COVID era, IT will help companies optimize efficiencies
Once the dust settles, and as we work toward rebuilding our world in the aftermath of COVID-19, I believe the economic impact of this crisis will be witnessed for several quarters to come. Enterprises will have less cash flow and fewer resources to manage and execute strategic business plans for the year. Companies will solely focus on optimizing productivity thanks to tighter budgets and shrinking customer spends. Every business will restructure itself to enable a remote productive workforce and avoid wastage at all costs to navigate the tricky waters of the post-COVID era.
Automation will become an answer to many challenges companies face as they seek to optimize resources and avoid manual toil. As businesses face the realities of working in an economic downturn, they will gravitate toward automation platforms and systems that enable them to scale quickly and with much less effort. Today there are tons of enterprise-grade platforms to choose from, be it project management software or collaboration programs or communication tools.
For your own enterprise, the needs may be different. It could be a timesheet app for the remote team you did not have until now, a mobile app for customer support because your call center is understaffed or even advanced dashboards for insights you never thought you were going to need.
Some companies will find the need to accelerate their in-house development and deployment of critical business applications. They will seek a quick, flexible, scalable and cost-effective approach, either by creating new applications or upgrading existing applications and legacy systems. Building a large team of specialists to create elaborate applications that take weeks to deploy will no longer be an effective or sustainable approach. Enterprise-grade platforms around low-code, CI-CD, and IT security and compliance that empower teams to address evolving business needs will start gaining ground.
"Doing more with less" will be the new mantra, and businesses will turn to leaner agile teams that leverage automation and enterprise platforms to accelerate results.
In the long term, IT will be your ultimate competitive advantage
Further down the line, as we settle into the new normal and start to arrive at some version of stability, technology will become your business differentiator in the long-term game. Tightening costs and optimizing efficiencies can get one out of survival mode, but the way a business uses and implements technology will become their ultimate competitive advantage. Companies will succeed not just based on their offerings, but the way they design and develop their mode of delivery, business model and customer experience.
If there is one thing that the COVID-19 crisis has taught us, it is that disruptions like these doubtless bring challenges, but they also present new opportunities. At the end of the day, your team's agility and smart leveraging of technology will decide how well your company is poised to grab those opportunities. In a future where the new normal will be constant change, IT has the potential to be your competitive advantage to drive disruption, implement change and future-proof your business.
Originally published in Forbes
In 2020, whether or not an IT organization needs agile teams is no longer the debate. The advantages of agile methods on team efficiency, project visibility, scale, and long-term software robustness are rather clear. Gartner observes that enterprise-class agile development and agile ops are sliding into the trough of the hype cycle, meaning, challenges in building and managing agile teams will make themselves more apparent in the near future.
Before we discuss these challenges, let’s understand what we define as an agile team. An agile team for us is a cross-functional group of people who use the required technology and collaborate seamlessly, to develop and deliver a working and tested increment of a product. Typically, agile teams are organized around products or features; and have a seamless intersection across the business, technical and organizational architectures. As a result, agile teams will eliminate dependencies and inefficiencies, empowering them to develop high-quality solutions, quickly and efficiently, to solve real-world problems.
But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Building agile teams — especially for full stack development — is a long-term journey, riddled with practical challenges.
Developers in the end-to-end application development process are often expected to deal with the underlying complexity of integrating, configuring, and developing various systems and frameworks. In the era of modular development and microservices, this can be very complex and time-consuming, often requiring your team members to upskill. In smaller teams, this might just be unaffordable.
Application development requires highly skilled resources across various phases of the development lifecycle such as UI design, application architecture, security, performance, etc. Firstly, hiring a specialist in each of these areas can be expensive. Even if you can afford this it can be unnecessary. Even counterproductive in some cases such as when there is not enough work to keep a specialist meaningfully engaged, it could affect their morale and that of the team.
A KPMG survey in 2019 found that 45% of their respondents mentioned siloes between business and IT as a key driver for adopting agile. Yet, ironically, when you seek to adopt, agile at scale, siloes can become inevitable. This can then disproportionately affect team collaboration, and even extend the distance from your business requirements.
When unable to overcome these practical challenges, agile teams fail to realize the potential they can achieve... They lose speed-to-market, efficiencies, and even human connections, leading them back — sometimes without their own knowledge — too old ways. This can be dangerous: As they will continue doing agile, conducting daily standup meetings, for example, without actually being agile.
But it doesn’t have to be this way!
To define low-code in simple terms, it is a visual development approach that enables developers to build web and mobile applications using a graphical interface, instead of writing code. As a result, developers and agile teams with varying levels of experience and various skill sets can come together on the common ground towards accelerated development. Here’s how.
Low-code eliminates the need to find and onboard developers with universal knowledge of the application stack by abstracting the complexity and providing accelerators across the development life cycle. Using low-code platforms, developers easily manage end-to-end application development from UI design, focused code development to deployment; as well as easily own micro-functionality (also known as microservices).
With a robust low-code platform, developers with conceptual knowledge of the application landscape will be able to handle end-to-end development more seamlessly. For instance, even without being a UI specialist, a developer would be able to build quality UI for their application. Low-code platforms can also handle integration, security, customization, standards compliance, etc.
This makes developers self-sufficient, and the development process nimble.
Visual prototyping has proven itself to be a gamechanger in translating business requirements into application features. As business users play with working screens and different tools, they are able to see how their brief translates into functionality, and therefore learn to articulate better. On the other hand, developers design the UI, process flow, business logic, etc. visually, enabling faster feedback cycles.
A low-code platform can also serve the purpose of a common integrated development environment (IDE) for your team members to work interchangeably on different aspects of the project. Without relying on myriad tools, languages, and frameworks, your developers can collaborate easily, allowing them to spend less time on cross-training, hand-offs, and documentation.
The most important promise of agile development has always been speed. IT leaders aspire to build agile teams to take their products to market faster and adapt to market demands quicker. Low-code can help you achieve both.
Eliminating bottlenecks and facilitating collaboration, low-code allows business users to engage more deeply and offering ‘visibility through visual prototypes. With a better understanding of requirements right at the beginning, teams and managers save a lot of time and energy that might otherwise be spent on rework, resulting from clarification of requirements. As a result, you can make the best possible version of your product as quickly as possible.
All of this saved time can be invested in developing new features and testing new functionalities with your customers. If that isn’t worth trying, what is!
Mobile app delivery is an essential part of digital transformation for enterprises. Organizations need to build an app, not just one but multiple mobile applications for transformative experiences. Over and above there are other features that are needed like:
Given that, not only skills for mobile apps are scarce, but also typically organizations lack a mature model for delivering multiple apps in a frictionless fashion.
Some of the mobile applications need deep native experiences and must be built as native mobile applications. If you are interested in native mobile app delivery, this is NOT the article for you. If simplifying end-to-end app delivery is something that interests you, then read on.
The traditional mobile app delivery model is time-consuming as it uses manual hand-coding. It also becomes complex to publish apps and the user experience is disconnected from development to delivery.
However, publishing apps on app stores is still a bottleneck as it may take several days to release a simple application.
WaveMaker now presents a super simple solution for mobile app delivery with partner product Spotcues. Mobile apps built-in WaveMaker can be published with a single click to Spotcues Micro App container (the only mobile app you ever install). So, build your apps with no/very minimum code using WaveMaker low-code platform and publish to existing app container providing WebView (no publishing of each app separately). This can be done iteratively for release any number of times a day.
In addition to unified delivery using the micro-app container, Spotcues can also provide some more features that can be optionally utilized including:
To summarize, Wave Maker provides a super fast and easy mobile app delivery mechanism with Spotcues mobile app that provides Micro-App container. This can help enterprises achieve mobile digital transformation much more effectively and at a much faster pace bringing all the benefits of a low-code platform. Talk to us to learn more about this.
Docker and container technology are well-known in Enterprise today. The simplified view of containers as miniaturization of VMs seems to yield benefits of portability and faster startup times. But what is less apparent is the benefit they bring to the business. To understand this, we must first look at various scenarios in which the technology can be applied. Just as Java technology applied to IoT or Android is different from that applied to Enterprise software, the benefits realized from any technology, along with its challenges, vary depending upon the context of its application.
In this post, we'll explore a couple of contexts in which container technology can be applied and how its benefits and challenges differ.
This is the most common context. Here, containers are adopted by IT as a form of software packaging and distribution. Typically, IT expects to be provided with containers instead of application binaries by the development teams. So containers act as a sort of black box that contains all the software and its dependencies. Developers require to package and deliver a set of container images along with relevant configuration files--that describe how these containers may talk to each other (ports), what storage needs they have (volumes), and so on. From an IT stand-point this creates a homogenous black-box approach to deploying pretty much anything in the Enterprise, and this makes it especially suited to large, data-center scale deployments.
In this condition, the application and adoption of container technology is largely IT-oriented. It favours IT over developers as the latter need to do a lot of heavy-lifting--converting their app binaries and dependencies into container images and pushing them into a container registry. Most container management platforms out there focus on providing the right tools to IT to pull those images from a registry and provision them on a set of machines (physical or virtual). The focus of such platforms is purely on run-time aspects, such as container orchestration, with very little context of the app or the app stack itself.
The key benefit of approaching container technology in this context is the optimization of infrastructure resources. Platforms like Kubernetes were born out of such a need to optimize infrastructure usage at very large scales (say, millions of containers). However, there are two points of caution. One, this may result in further isolation between IT and developers causing more throw-the-problem-over-the-wall scenarios. No matter how perfect the technology, experience tells us that more de-siloed communication and collaboration is the approach towards hassle-free and rapid delivery of applications in production. Hence, “DevOps”. Two, it is questionable whether all applications are suited to such a black-box hands-off approach between developers and IT. Also, the effectiveness of this approach in real usage remains to be seen.
In this case, application delivery teams adopt containers with the primary goal of speeding up the time-to-market for their apps or products. Using the rapid portability advantages of containers, development and DevOps engineers put together the app composition, wire together various services/ micro-services--by use of service discovery--and set up configurations for various environments. This context of container usage is more app-focused and less infrastructure-focused (though the resource optimization benefits of containers accrue over time as more apps adopt containers for delivery). Also, the approach is both design-time and run-time focused and favors the development and DevOps teams over IT. It seeks to make development teams self-sufficient in getting their apps into the hands of their users.
Few platforms focus on these aspects that provide developers the required tools to automate the generation of container images, service versioning, and configuration for multiple environments of the app. The most important benefits of such platforms are rapid containerization of existing apps, rapid provisioning and configuration, and easy promotion of apps from one environment to another. Orchestration takes care of scalability and high-availability requirements, and these are configured entirely from an application perspective.
The greatest benefit for enterprises using containers for rapid application delivery is time-to-market for their apps rather than infrastructure optimization. As the market for containers matures further, expect to see a shift in focus towards this direction.
Wavemaker HyScale is app containerization and container management platform that takes the view that an application’s time-to-market is a far more important focus for Enterprise business than infra-resource optimization. The platform is built ground-up with the application in mind and every aspect is designed around the app's stack, the app's services, and the app's configuration. Hence there are very few (if any) aspects of the platform that require users to deal with the underlying container technology aspects. In fact, HyScale makes it very easy for users to adopt the platform--and thereby adopt containers--without even requiring to know Docker, or use any Docker commands or even any kind of build/ deploy YAML configuration files.
HyScale allows development teams to stay focused on the app and become self-servicing at the same time, allowing them to rapidly deploy and iterate over their app.
Contact us to know more about how WaveMaker HyScale can empower your organization to achieve faster time-to-market with containers and without having to re-skill or re-tool you development workflows.
In order to excel in this dynamic landscape, companies need to be programmable. Programmable here isn’t about coding but the very nature of a company. Such companies are fluid and quickly embrace the fact that they do not know everything.
The insertion of metal gates in a microchip was a stirring moment in computing. The year 2007 marked the beginning of a technology era that became chaotic by default. Most of what we term as native digital innovations including Airbnb, Android, Twitter, Kindle, and even IBM Watson came into existence in this period. Disruption became an outdated term, markets started to get dislocated. Sample this: The cost of sequencing a person’s DNA fell from a staggering 100 million dollars to about 1,000 dollars.
Storage, processing, networking, software, and sensors started fusing rapidly (a.k.a The Cloud) to create platforms that scaled up capabilities and reduced time to market. Ideas started becoming products and products scaled instantly--creating companies that made competitor sets routined and industry boundaries vague. From then, the rate of technology growth has simply outpaced an organization's ability to learn and adapt. While policymaking constantly plays catch up, organizations aren’t given a long rope to respond, adapt, and evolve.
In order to excel in this dynamic landscape, companies need to be programmable. Programmable here isn’t about coding but the very nature of a company. Such companies are fluid and quickly embrace the fact that they do not know everything. They design structures and processes that are loosely coupled around a fixed core. Being programmable is about dynamic stability. Technologies like API, Microservices, Cloud, and Mobile are helping companies to create an agile fabric where business users, customers, and developers can collaborate. This fabric creates enterprises that are absorptive to fluctuating market needs and thereby programmable.
The agile fabric is the technology line-up that businesses need to make themselves programmable. It is the most efficient and valuable path leading from the assets of an enterprise to the customers it serves. Here is a rundown:
At the heart of a programmable enterprise are its APIs. Businesses decide the set of assets and services that should be accessible by their stakeholders and start exposing them via APIs. Such APIs reduce interdepartmental information barriers and give modularity that helps in de-siloing the enterprise. Banking enterprises like Citi and Bank of America are already leading the way in this API-driven open architecture model.
Enterprise developers and business owners can leverage such exposed APIs to create apps that help them automate a specific task or entire business process. To accelerate the pace of creation, RAD tools are used. Such RAD tools offer templates, prefabricated code modules, and out-of-the-box onboarded APIs for widely used tools, thereby allowing stakeholders to develop apps with simple drag-and-drop.
Consider this--developers who use Visual Studio would prefer Azure because of the seamless integration it has with Visual Studio. But data scientists, who are creating AI algorithms for automating customer care functions, might want to leverage Google’s Cloud Platform for the extensive AI capabilities it supports. To manage this diversity at scale, the old-school way of making an infrastructure choice and running it for a decade won’t cut slack anymore. Infrastructure and data platform choices need to be made on-demand. Leveraging infrastructure integration solutions enables businesses to seamlessly switch between multi-cloud, on-prem, and hybrid deployments. It also gives the needed compliance, governance, and infrastructure adaptability that enterprises need to support emerging users and use cases.
Once apps are available for enterprise-wide consumption, issues like multi-screen support, access control, availability, usage metrics, and analytics come up. This is important because the consumption layer is a user-driven layer and directly impacts the way users (internal/ customers/ partners) perceive the business. Touchpoint engineering solutions allow enterprise apps to have streamlined front-ends, central update mechanisms, admin consoles, and cross-platform rendering capabilities. Such solutions help enterprises deliver an omnichannel experience with zero set-up time.
The Agile Fabric: acting across value areas to bring about business agility
By adopting solutions that aid in the creation of the agile fabric, enterprises become programmable. Programmable enterprises desert their time-tested solid base that gives stability and graduate to a moving base that provides agility. They finally start to move with their markets. And most importantly, only they survive.
When it comes to Outsourcing Business / IT applications, there are 2-3 models that CIOs and IT leaders are most accustomed to. These models are so well entrenched, that stakeholders seldom look for a better model. It is not just IT leaders who are pushing these models, the entire IT Services industry continues to push these older models as they are profitable for their own businesses. Given the rapid pace of change in the Software / Tech industry, it is now time to rethink established Outsourcing models that Enterprises have relied on for years (decades really).
First, the basic definition of Outsourcing. By this, we clearly mean Outsourcing the development of business applications (could also be legacy migrations, data management, and many more projects). Once stakeholders have determined that a project needs to be outsourced, it then becomes a question of finding the right vendor, timelines, and budgets to get them executed. Here I will not go into the details of coming up with Business Requirements, Requests for Proposals,s and sourcing vendors, but focus more on Outsourcing as it relates to methodology, technology, timelines, and budgets.
The most dominant models today are a) Fixed-cost model b) Time and Material model and c) Staff Augmentation model. The Fixed-cost model is easiest to grasp by business sponsors. They allocate budgets for different projects and assign project managers to execute on those. While this model is tried and tested, there are many downsides. Many of the details around project execution including architecture, technology stack, development methodology, and deployment practices are left to the vendors. The further downside to this model is you have to work with vendors' change management processes. Not paying attention to these downsides, would result in increased TCO over the long term.
The Time and Material model of Outsourcing is also very well tested. While difficult to get upfront estimates around total costs for their projects, it would at least give flexibility around change management. However, all other downsides from the Fixed-cost model still apply here. The third model is simply Staff augmentation. You would bring in technology consultants and put them under existing teams to speed up project execution. This is Outsourcing to the extent you don’t have to bring in people on a full-time basis and is closer to the Time and Material model and it also comes with the same set of downsides.
To address shortcomings with the above models, there is a better model that I refer to as “Agility Outsourcing”. This model is in part based on the best practices seen in Software companies to build their own products coupled with solutions to meet budgetary and time constraints of Enterprise Outsourcing.
Here are the key underpinnings of Agility Outsourcing:
Business benefits of Agility Outsourcing:
The way to structure the Agility Outsourcing project is to have a Statement of Work for the entire project with a plan for monthly Sprint deliverables and payments. Vendors who offer Agility Outsourcing should be able to give an estimate for the total cost of the project if they have reviewed the project requirements. With this model, sponsors not only have an overall estimate for the project but also get flexibility if business needs change. The real gain here is all the best practices and technologies used by Software Industry, benefitting outsourced projects.