Authored by Suneetha Uppalapati - Lead - Enterprise Transformation, Americas, WaveMaker, Inc.

We’re thrilled to have been part of the FIS Emerald 2024 event, a gathering for fintech leaders and innovators. Our presence was marked by engaging interactions, fruitful networking, and enthusiastic responses to our low-code platform, paving the way for exciting future collaborations.

The FIS Emerald event is known for its networking opportunities, and this year was no exception. Having attended for several years, this was our debut as exhibitors, which allowed us to maximize our interactions. As sponsors with our own kiosk, we were at the heart of the action. Our team engaged with a diverse array of industry professionals, from senior product managers, engineering and sales executives to innovative fintech startups. These interactions provided us with in-depth perspective of the latest industry trends and allowed us to showcase how WaveMaker can be a catalyst for digital transformation.

Executive leadership from several leading banks showed a keen interest in exploring our platform further. Our demo and discussions with participants offered valuable insights into how WaveMaker's enterprise capabilities can fulfill their requirements for speed, customization, and productivity.

 

Banks keen on developing custom solutions with low-code + AI

One of the most exciting outcomes of our participation was the strong interest from banking companies in co-developing custom solutions with WaveMaker. These institutions recognized the value of our platform in addressing their unique challenges and were eager to explore partnerships. The concept of rapid, low-code development resonated well with them, as they saw it as a way to stay competitive and agile in a fast-evolving market.

The event not only strengthened our existing relationships but also laid the groundwork for new collaborations. The interest in co-development and bespoke solutions was a clear indicator of the trust and confidence that industry leaders place in WaveMaker. We are excited about the prospect of working closely with these institutions to deliver innovative solutions that meet their specific needs.

Stay tuned to our website for more updates and upcoming collaborations!

Authored by Suneetha Uppalapati - Lead - Enterprise Transformation, Americas, WaveMaker, Inc.

In today's dynamic market, winning businesses prioritize delivering value to customers faster. They achieve this by accelerating innovation, optimizing processes, and boosting overall productivity. But customer needs are constantly evolving, and successful businesses recognize the importance of a multifaceted approach. They understand that customers exhibit a range of behaviors, from flexible early adopters to those requiring more complex solutions. This necessitates a broader customer perspective to adapt to ever-shifting priorities.

In my experience working with enterprises of all sizes, speed is the new business urgency – Customers expect rapid innovation and immediate value. This is where, I believe, a low code development platform plays a transformative role.

Low Code Development: Empowered Developers, Empowered Businesses

Low code platforms are a game-changer for developers. They enable faster and more consistent delivery of solutions, allowing organizations to re-visit their product development strategies focussing on more affordable, scalable and higher-quality products that maximize customer value.

The ease of use and rapid development capabilities of low code foster an agile approach. This allows for greater experimentation, effective management of continuous change, by streamlining the entire SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) process. This translates to:

Democratizing Customer Value Creation

Product Developers

Low code platforms provide pre-built components and templates that speed up the development process – allowing developers to rapidly build, test, and deploy applications, reducing time-to-market for new products and features. Best engineering practices and quality standards are built into low code platforms that minimize technical debt.

Implementation Team(s)

Low code platforms empower customer implementation teams enabling self-service approach by:

Enterprise Architects

Low code enables Enterprise Architects to:

Citizen Developers 

Can quickly build and deploy applications using low code platforms that offer pre-configured components and ready-to-use modules, significantly reducing development time and accelerating time-to-market for new applications.

Pre-Sales

Pre-sales teams can:

Conclusion

By empowering businesses to rapidly develop and deploy solutions that address customer needs, low code platforms become a catalyst for success. We've seen this firsthand with our BFSI and Telecom customers accelerating their GTM at 2x-5x speed and up to 60% reduction in TCO of app development. This translates to faster time-to-value for our customers, ultimately leading to increased customer satisfaction and business growth. If you're looking to accelerate your customer value delivery, consider exploring low code solutions.

Authored by Deepika Srimanthula - Senior Engineering Manager, WaveMaker, Inc.

As developers, we frequently face major hurdles when incorporating updated versions of external services such as APIs, databases, web services, and other tools into our applications. When utilizing the LCNC platform for application development, we anticipate seamless integration to facilitate a smooth development process.

Meet Anukriti, a seasoned developer tasked with maintaining a critical application heavily relying on an external API service. As Anukriti diligently worked to enhance the application's features, news arrived that the API service would undergo a major version update. This update brought excitement for new possibilities and apprehension about potential disruptions to the application's functionality.

The challenges faced by Anukriti were multifaceted

Dependency Mapping: Understanding the intricate dependencies between the current API version and the application's codebase was a daunting task. Any oversight could lead to compatibility issues and operational setbacks.

Risk Mitigation: Ensuring a smooth transition to the new API version while mitigating risks such as breaking changes and unexpected behavior. However, manual analysis and adjustments were time-consuming and error-prone.

Testing Complexity: Comprehensive testing across all affected modules to validate compatibility with the new API version was essential. Yet, the sheer complexity of the application made thorough testing a significant challenge.

 

 

By using the API re-import impact analysis feature offered by WaveMaker, Anukriti was able to tackle these challenges with confidence and efficiency.

Dependency Analysis: The feature automatically analyses the application's codebase, mapping out dependencies on the current API version. This comprehensive overview enabled Anukriti to identify potential impacted areas and prioritize resolutions accordingly.

Automated Risk Assessment: Leveraging advanced algorithms, the feature conducted automated risk assessments, highlighting several issues and areas where conflicts or breaking changes were likely to occur. This proactive approach allowed Anukriti to address issues before they manifested in the application codebase.
As Anukriti navigated the API version update using the API re-import impact analysis feature, the benefits became evident.

In conclusion, the API re-import impact analysis feature emerged as a game-changer in API version management. Through automation, proactive risk mitigation, and seamless integration with existing development workflows, this feature has empowered developers like Anukriti to embrace API evolution with agility and precision. As a result it has supported innovation driving innovation and resilience in their applications. This is in stark contrast to traditional update methods, which often require manual interventions, version control challenges, testing complexities, and potential downtime, hindering developer’s ability to adapt quickly and maintain platform reliability.

Authored by Prahalad Madepally - Sr Engineering Manager, WaveMaker, Inc.

As someone deeply immersed in the tech world, I’ve seen how rapidly our technology landscape expands. Every day brings new challenges and opportunities, particularly in the realm of application development. The need to develop robust, efficient, and scalable enterprise applications swiftly has never been more pressing. This is where WaveMaker, a powerful low-code platform, shines, and WaveMaker Academy plays a crucial role in empowering developers.

Mastering Best Practices in App Development using WaveMaker

In my experience with low-code development, I've learned that aiming for quality and efficiency isn't just beneficial—it's crucial. WaveMaker Academy plays a pivotal role in this aspect by teaching the importance of best practices in application development. Through the academy, developers are equipped to build high-quality, high-performance applications that are not only scalable, adapting smoothly to changing business needs, but also maintainable, easing the burden of upgrades and improvements. Most importantly, WaveMaker Academy instills a discipline for strict adherence to best practices, significantly reducing risks related to security, data integrity, and compliance.

WaveMaker Academy: Improving Your App Development Expertise

WaveMaker Academy isn’t merely a place to learn best practices; it's a gateway to building enterprise solutions that make an impact. Through a curriculum deeply rooted in real-world scenarios, each course is designed to be both relevant and immediately applicable.

WaveMaker Academy’s Expanding Curriculum

WaveMaker Academy truly shines with its extensive and ever-evolving curriculum that touches on all critical aspects of modern application development. Here’s a snapshot of how diverse and comprehensive the offerings are:

WaveMaker Academy is continuously updating and adding new courses to keep up with the latest trends and technologies. This commitment to growth and learning ensures that developers are always at the forefront of the tech industry.

Conclusion:

WaveMaker Academy is more than just a learning platform; it’s a career accelerator for anyone in the enterprise application development space. By emphasizing best practices and providing clear, step-by-step video tutorials, the Academy ensures that learners are equipped not just to code, but to craft efficient, scalable, and high-quality web and mobile applications.

Authored by Sagar Vemala - Manager, Engineering, WaveMaker, Inc

In my experience working with multiple enterprises and ISVs from various domains, I find them caught in a familiar conundrum. While setting up efficient development practices, they invest significantly in a common framework for web, mobile UI, and backend systems. They aim for reusability, consistency, and reduced development time and effort.

However, a recurring pattern emerges over time. Development teams that were initially enthusiastic about their framework often become entangled in addressing immediate business needs. Maintenance and enhancement of the framework take a back seat, leading to a gradual decline in its effectiveness. Some organizations attempt to remedy this by allocating a separate team for ongoing framework maintenance, but this, too, comes with its set of challenges.

Despite the initial vision of reaping long-term benefits, teams frequently fall short due to the myriad activities involved. These include keeping the tech stack up-to-date, integrating the latest features, resolving issues for teams using this framework, and diligently documenting these changes. The eventual consequence is the abandonment of the dedicated team, leaving enterprises with the unexpected burden of maintaining and, in some cases, rewriting applications built on the now-neglected framework.

Enterprises often hesitate to explore no-code/low-code approaches, even though these solutions offer potential relief from the above-mentioned challenges. The primary reason for this hesitancy is the desire of development teams to have the option to extend and customize with real code, coupled with a flexible deployment model. The answer is unequivocally positive once they encounter the right set of tools that enable them to offload mundane tasks such as maintaining the tech stack and writing repetitive boilerplate code.

Moreover, they can swiftly construct tailored solutions without the need to invest substantial time in research or building common features such as security, RTL support, and ADA support, among others. Traditionally, development teams spend considerable time researching optimal libraries and implementation methods for these features. Any upgrades to these libraries or the emergence of superior alternatives require their attention and oversight. However, with the platform, these features are provided out of the box driven by configurations. Subsequent migrations and upgrades are seamlessly handled by the platform.

By adopting such a development platform, enterprises elevate the value they deliver to their business swiftly and with uncompromised quality. For ISVs, building products on this foundation enables seamless implementation and rapid entry into the market.

Authored by Vibhu Singhal, Senior Manager, Engineering, WaveMaker, Inc

Navigating the Shift to Dynamic, Low-Code Innovation Platforms

Introduction

The telecommunications industry is experiencing a transformative era, evolving beyond its traditional scope to become a fundamental part of our daily lives. This evolution encompasses changes in how we communicate, conduct business, and interact with the broader world. Driven by the proliferation of smartphones with an increased reliance on mobile internet, the industry faces a landscape altered by heightened consumer expectations. This need calls for integrated, sophisticated digital services. The effect of the global pandemic has further accelerated this shift, intensifying the demand for agile and innovative solutions. In this rapidly changing environment, low-code development emerges as a pivotal tool. Characterized by its simplicity, speed, and efficiency, low-code development is ideally suited to address the telecom industry’s urgent requirements for flexibility and rapid adaptation. This approach is reshaping the way telecom companies approach challenges, offering a pathway to meet growing digital demands.

The Traditional Telecommunications Landscape

In the past, telecommunication companies operated within a highly regulated and predictable market, predominantly providing voice and messaging services. The industry was more about laying infrastructure and providing connectivity. Their infrastructure, characterized by rigidity and reliance on extensive coding with established systems, offered stability but was lacking in adaptability. This issue became apparent as technology evolved causing customer demands to shift with time. The onset of the 21st century marked a transformation, with innovations such as Rapid Application Development (RAD) and Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) reshaping the telecom landscape. These technological advancements expedited software development and enabled smoother integration of diverse systems, enhancing operational efficiency and steering telecom companies towards greater agility and responsiveness.

Emergence of Digital Disruption

The digital era, fueled by the widespread adoption of smartphones, mobile internet, and telecom infrastructure has significantly altered the telecommunications sector, transitioning it from voice to data-centric services. This shift, driven by the IoT (Internet of Things) not only increased data traffic from social media, streaming, and cloud applications but also raised consumer expectations for real-time services and entertainment. As a result, telecom operators faced the challenge of innovating against disruptive OTT services like Netflix and WhatsApp. Moreover, the rising demand for personalized, high-quality digital experiences has prompted these companies to invest in integrating advanced technologies like data analytics and AI, adding another layer of complexity to their operations.

Meeting the Challenges of the Telecommunications Market

The expectation of constant connectivity has become pervasive, with customers easily switching providers. This presents a challenge to deliver impeccable service and value, especially in an industry handling millions of daily transactions. Users often overlook the system's complexity and expect flawless operation, leaving no room for errors or incorrect charges. Integrating legacy systems and diverse infrastructures adds another layer of complexity to connectivity systems. Additionally, the telecom industry faces the significant challenges of fraud prevention and regulatory compliance.

With rapid technological change, the telecommunications industry stands at a pivotal crossroads. A recent surge in low-code/no-code application development, as highlighted by Gartner1, signals a significant shift in enterprise technology strategies. Telecom companies, traditionally bound by complex, high-code systems, are now recognizing the need to embrace this emerging trend.

Low-Code Software Systems offer a solution by enabling Communication Service Providers (CSPs) to seamlessly connect multiple systems and create custom applications. These applications replace outdated spreadsheets and desktop databases, leveraging drag-and-drop technology. This approach empowers customer care teams to gain a comprehensive view by linking CRM, order management, and logistics systems.

Low-Code App Development: A Catalyst for Transformation

Low-code/no-code is a software development approach that leverages visualization for application creation. In the low-code paradigm, minimal coding is required, as much of the development process is automated, significantly accelerating the application development life cycle. On the other hand, no-code development eliminates the need for coding entirely, enabling individuals from non-technical business departments, without coding expertise, to develop applications.

This approach represents a significant advancement, reminiscent of the transition from text-based commands to graphical user interfaces in the 1980s. Just like how graphical icons and on-screen pointing devices replaced typed commands, low-code employs visual representations to simplify the construction and integration of applications. This democratizes the development process, allowing the not-so-tech-savvy professionals without programming backgrounds to actively participate and contribute their domain knowledge. Consequently, technology transformation becomes a collaborative effort embraced by key stakeholders, fostering rapid adoption and implementation.

In a recent webinar, Chris Gardner from Forrester talked about low-code in the digital era. He emphasizes how software is rapidly becoming integral to various industries. However, the difficulty lies in the fact that the demand for software surpasses the capacity of development teams. As a result, there's a need to explore solutions beyond the current development offerings to effectively meet the demand for software. Additionally, he points out that most companies are not really digital. Consequently, there is a scenario where the value of software is underestimated. When they employ software, inefficiency creeps in due to manual methods. Hence, there is room for improvement, and low- code is the answer to better the process. Instead of conventional code writing, abstractions are created in a WYSIWYG environment. This approach involves placing components on the canvas to construct a screen or process engine, and defining business processes using visual notation. The platform handles automation, code management, and compilation to ensure the application runs as intended.

This method is employed for three primary reasons. Firstly, it significantly accelerates development speed, with an average 70% reduction in coding time when compared to building from scratch, depending on the use case. This translates to a 70% improvement in speed, contributing to faster time-to-market for low-code.

Secondly, it enhances the adaptability and flexibility of the software. This is achieved through increased speed, facilitated by built-in quality checks within the platform. Lastly, it serves to expand the pool of developers.

For the telecom sector, which is grappling with its own set of challenges, the adoption of low-code/no-code presents a compelling solution. The industry's agility challenges, born out of a history of high-code dependence can be effectively addressed through the adoption of low-code platforms. This approach not only speeds up the development process but also democratizes innovation, allowing for a more responsive and customer-centric business model.

Low code’s main value proposition for Communication Service Providers (CSP) is that it enables them to reduce repetitive, costly tasks in software development. By transforming the CSP’s network assets into composable, packaged business capabilities, the low-code platform enables development teams to be more agile and responsive. This ultimately leads to faster time-to-market for innovations and a high ROI.

How does Low Code Revolutionize Application Development for Telecom Companies?

Streamlined Data Modeling:

Enhanced Functionality with Libraries:

Visual Development:

Simplified Coding:

Reliable Unit Testing:

Case Studies and Success Stories

Cisco’s recent Hybrid Cloud Trends report2 underscores a growing trend in the integration of low-code technology in network strategies. The report reveals that a significant number of enterprises, 55%, are forming cross-functional teams, and 50% are centralizing CloudOps and NetOps, with a focus on low-code solutions. This shift towards low-code technology enables more efficient network automation and orchestration, blending traditional high-code practices with user-friendly, low-code platforms. This approach promises quicker, more reliable network deployments, reducing both operational time and costs, and is expected to see further growth in 2024.

Conclusion

As we stand on the brink of a new era in technology, the message for the telecommunications industry is clear: the time to embrace low-code/no-code development is now. This shift resolves not just a technological change, but also serves as a strategic imperative to stay relevant and be competitive in a rapidly evolving digital landscape. With low-code options, telecom companies have the opportunity to redefine their role in the digital world, moving from traditional service providers to innovative, agile operators at the forefront of the digital revolution.

References:

  1. Gartner forecasts worldwide low-code development technologies market to grow 20 percent in-2023
  2. Hybrid cloud - 2022-trends report

Future Of User Interface

 

In web and mobile application development, creating the user interface (UI) remains a major challenge, often determining the success or failure of a project in the different markets it is used in. The demand for an intuitive and attractive UI continues to occupy center stage posing a significant challenge to developers and designers.

Current state of UI development

Traditionally, UI development has been a meticulous manual process requiring hours of labor-intensive work to achieve a pixel-perfect layout with captivating engagement. This approach bears a good result but is very heavy cost and time wise. A shortage of skilled UI professionals further compounds this challenge. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that the demand for web developers and digital designers will increase by 16% between 2022 and 2032- faster than the average for all industries.

Furthermore, in a consumer market where trends are fast-paced and user preferences change rapidly, the importance of speed in change in UI development cannot be overstated. A study conducted by Adobe showed 38% of users will stop engaging with a website if its content or layout is not riveting. This data highlights the importance of continuously updating the UIs to meet user expectations, a task that is becoming increasingly difficult with traditional development methodologies.

Consider the evolution of Instagram’s UI — over the years, Instagram has significantly revamped its UI, focusing on ease of navigation and visually appealing design, which has been crucial in its widespread adoption and user engagement.

On the other hand, Snapchat’s UI redesign in 2017, faced a backlash due to its confusing layout. This case highlights how quickly consumer preferences can shift and the importance of continually adapting the UI to meet user expectations.

Rethinking strategies: The role of low-code platforms and AI

In response to these challenges, there is a growing trend in the industry towards low-code development platforms. These platforms using drag-and-drop interfaces allow developers to assemble applications using pre-built features, significantly reducing development time. Gartner predicts that by 2024 application development with low-level code will perform more than 65% of the application development activities. An example of this is Microsoft PowerApps which enables businesses to develop apps quickly with minimal coding thereby reducing development time.

While offering effective solutions, these low-code application development platforms however are not without limitations — sometimes the use of preformed materials can result in specific features not being found in the final product. But for projects with tight deadlines or limited budgets, the trade-off can be worthwhile.

The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) in UI development marks another revolutionary change in its ability to create responsive design processes, analyze user data for predictive UI optimization, and design models that are redefining the landscape. An example of this is Adobe Sensei, an important AI and machine learning platform for businesses that work across all Adobe products, thereby improving the user’s development experience and productivity.

The hybrid approach: Integrating human intelligence and technological advances.

To sum it up, the future of UI development seems to be moving towards a hybrid approach — a synergy of human creativity, low-code development platforms, and artificial intelligence (AI). This method not only speeds up the development process but also ensures that the end product is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

A practical example of this is the development of a healthcare management mobile app. Initially, a low-code platform like Wavemaker is employed to rapidly prototype the app’s initial layout and basic features. This includes creating the main menu, basic navigation, and core functionalities such as patient registration, appointment scheduling, and basic medical record access. This stage is crucial for quickly visualizing the primary concept and facilitating early testing.

After establishing the basic framework with the low-code platform, the development process advances to more intricate design and functionality aspects. Here, human designers take control to infuse the app with more complex interactions and sophisticated designs. This phase involves an in-depth focus on crafting user interfaces that are visually appealing and intuitive. Designers pay special attention to features like advanced patient profiling interfaces, detailed medical history visualizations, and interactive health monitoring.

In this hybrid development model, AI significantly enhances the design process by analyzing patient usage patterns and feedback. AI algorithms provide valuable insights into how users interact with the app, enabling designers to make data-driven decisions. This tailors the user interface to ensure optimal user experience and accessibility. For instance, if AI analysis reveals that patients frequently struggle to locate their prescription history, designers can respond by making this feature more prominent and user-friendly in the UI.

This collaborative approach ensures that the healthcare app is not only technically sound but also user-friendly and adaptable to evolving healthcare needs.

Conclusion: Adapting to the changing landscape

As the UI development landscape continues to evolve, staying ahead of the curve requires a flexible approach that embraces technological advances and human expertise. The goal statement can be formed thus: to create a design that is not only appealing but flexible and responsive to users who are constantly changing their choices.

In conclusion, creating a compelling UI quickly and efficiently in today’s dynamic marketplace requires a nuanced understanding of the challenges and opportunities in the field. By harnessing the strengths of low-code platforms, AI, and human creativity, developers can successfully overcome these challenges, paving the way for a new era of UI development that is innovative and responsive to customer needs.

Authored by Adithya Raman, Senior Manager, Customer Success, WaveMaker, Inc

Selecting a low-code product requires a clear understanding of your most common requirements. Are you dealing with a variety of data and workflows? Do your apps need to integrate with partner APIs? Are your business requirements changing often? Are your users finicky about the experience? Do you have both citizen and professional app development teams? Are you finding it difficult to hire skills?

All low-code platforms give you a promising start. You get off the block at speed, simple apps are easy, and tough ones seem possible. But missing key requirements in your platform means you will soon find yourself skipping deadlines or you need to hire developers to finish the job - defeating the purpose of buying a low-code product. That's why setting some criteria for choosing a low-code application platform is important. Here is our list.

What are your goals for using the low-code platform?

Using a low-code application development platform offers several benefits.
Here are some common goals of using a low-code platform:

Accelerated Development, Increased productivity, Faster time to market

Low-code platforms enable faster application development by providing pre-built widgets, custom reusable components, and visual development interfaces like out-of-the-box themes, templates, and layouts. Developers can rely on drag-and-drop methodology, automatic code generation that provides open-standards-based code that is human readable, and auto-API documentation which is all handled by the low code platform. This allows developers to focus on the core functionality of the application without spending excessive time on repetitive coding tasks and reducing the manual coding effort drastically. Consequently, development cycles are shortened, and applications can be delivered to the market quickly.

Cost Savings, Reduced TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of Applications

Low-code platforms can reduce development costs by minimizing the need for seeking/hiring proprietary developer skill sets, and extensive coding, reducing the development cycle, and streamlining maintenance and updates. With faster development times and increased productivity, organizations can achieve cost savings in terms of development resources, resource allocation, and time to market. Low-code platforms priced based on developer seats are hassle-free when it comes to developing applications, as there is no limit to the number of applications or end users. In addition, it is vital that these platforms do not have any runtime dependency or hidden costs that can later impact the TCO of applications.

Simplified Integration & Deployments

Low-code platforms offer seamless integration capabilities with third-party systems, databases, and APIs. This simplifies the process of connecting and interacting with external services, eliminating the need for extensive custom coding. As a result, integrating disparate systems becomes straightforward, enabling enterprises to leverage existing enterprise assets and data sources effectively with minimal to no disruption in existing practices. The LCDP should also provide the ability to deploy anywhere without any runtime implications. This will enable enterprises the freedom of deploying their apps built using LCDP to either merge with their existing CI/CD process or deploy to an orchestration layer like K8s or Redhat OpenShift or a cloud of their choice or an on-premise setup.

Agility and Flexibility

Low-code platforms provide the ability to make rapid changes, prototyping, and updates to applications. With visual development interfaces that include the WYSIWYG approach, developers can easily modify and adapt applications in response to changing business requirements or user feedback. This agility allows organizations to iterate quickly, experiment with new ideas, and respond accurately to market demands.

Collaboration and Transparency

Low-code platforms come with built-in collaboration features, allowing multiple developers to work together on a project. By providing centralized governance and enterprise-grade features like role-based access control at a development level which enhances project management for a development team. These platforms facilitate communication, version control, knowledge, and application asset sharing among team members by providing an internal artifact repository that resembles an internal developer marketplace. This promotes transparency, enhances teamwork, and improves the overall developer community.

Who are the users? What’s their coding expertise?

There are primarily two user personas when it comes to low-code platforms - developers and business users. There are low code development tools that are developer-focused and built using standards frameworks like Java, Angular, HTML, CSS, and Javascript that are tailored to developers to boost their productivity and make them efficient while minimizing the learning curve.

On the other hand, there are LCDPs that are business user-oriented, which deliver a workflow-based approach to application development that may or may not fall under the category of solving serious enterprise-grade applications, like basic approval flows, data collection, etc., they do provide value in creating simple user journeys and flow-based applications. But here, the application delivery cycle times can be delayed due to a handoff between the business user and the development/delivery teams.

What is the scope and scale of the problem to be solved?

There are multiple use cases that can be an ideal fit for low-code platforms:

Are there custom integrations with external and internal applications?

The LCDP of choice should have the necessary open framework to support integration for systems already in use within your enterprise to meet your application requirements. Integrations to Swagger API open spec or standards provide LCDPs with a higher acceptance of universally used APIs facilitating integrations with any third-party systems - external or internal.

It is an added benefit when the LCDP is advanced enough to understand the API input and provide the necessary CRUD endpoints automatically based on the API definitions. This heavy lifting of the LCDP will improve developer productivity and reduce the coding effort. In some cases where the already in-use APIs do not meet the universal Swagger spec standards, there would be a need to create custom integrations and custom code configurations to enable the LCDP to accept these APIs. A pitfall to look out for would be that LCDP in consideration could be tied to a particular technology and only supports integrations within the said locked technology landscape (for example - Microsoft™ / Salesforce® / ServiceNow™). This can limit or eliminate the scope of integrating with other third-party systems that use other technologies.

What is the turnaround time needed?

With the LCDP being developer-centric and open standards-based, it is easily adoptable by developers. The ability of the platform to generate standards-based code that is human-readable, editable, and extensible gives developers a sense of security and ownership. This puts the developers in their comfort zone to be able to adopt a new development tool or a platform, and the learning curve is neither steep nor long. With the help of the support channels, documentation, and training, the adoption time coupled with the understanding of best practices creates a seamless transition for developers to feel confident with the platform of choice. A realistic time estimate for a developer to attain low-medium proficiency with an LCDP can be 1-2 months and high-expert proficiency may span 3-4 months.

How much control do users want to retain over code?

An LCDP providing code-level controls is definitely a good-to-have feature when choosing an LCDP. An LCDP that provides access and control to the generated code provides development teams with transparency and ownership which may be in general; lacking in LCDPs that do not provide code control or access. Development teams can now understand and read the generated code allowing the possibility to bring in more complex customizations and integrations to meet the high standards of enterprise-grade use case requirements.

The advantage of an LCDP that generates code and provides code-level controls can be seen in the versatile use cases of the platform. There can also be scenarios where development teams need not want access to the generated code/perform code-level changes, which is befitting for such requirements. A good LCDP platform caters to this segment of developers as well.

Does the application need to factor in security considerations?

All enterprise applications need to come with enterprise-grade security measures to safeguard the applications from external threats making them robust and secure. It is a good practice to look out for LCDP platforms that have certain out-of-the-box security certifications in place like OWASP Top 10 vulnerability attacks. This saves time and effort to perform individual tests as the platform already possesses these safeguards.

LCDPs that generate code need to take care of the code quality and standards to minimize flaws in their first-party code. Having a certified status by companies like Veracode, Checkmarx Acunetix, etc. represents a high standard of security practices in the generated code. In addition to this, LCDP platforms should have the provision to connect with existing enterprise authentication and authorization mechanisms to blend in. Out-of-the-box integrations with LDAP, Active Directory, OpenID, CAS, SAML, etc. with the support for SSO help developers configure security tasks and authentication with ease, for respective application use cases.

Low-code fosters continuous innovation and allows you to create at the speed of change. There is a wide range of low-code tech out there, so be wise to evaluate how these platforms perform in context to your enterprise and development needs, the right platform can accelerate productivity, and produce secure and scalable apps, with great user experiences, enabling your teams to go to market faster.

Authored by Shobhit Mathur, Sr. Director and Category Head BFS, WaveMaker, Inc

It is said that 5G is 100 times faster than 4G. An astronomical increase, indeed. Yet, for enterprises, ‘speed’ is not the most significant paradigm shift that accompanies 5G.

The most significant shifts are the ancillary capabilities enabled by the high speed that 5G provides—edge computing, ultra-low latency, massive network capacity, reduced power consumption for devices, stronger security, private networks, and more.

The advent of 5G is a massive opportunity for Communication Service Providers (CSPs) to move up the value chain, from being providers of undifferentiated connectivity to providing platforms and domain-specific solutions for SMBs and enterprises.

Armed with know-how, CSPs are best suited to cater to the demands of network services that enterprises would require. However, to see profitability, CSPs need customers to buy solutions that are built on top of these capabilities. They need to offer a broad spectrum of functional solutions for use cases that go beyond connectivity and communications.

The way forward for CSPs

Enterprises are keen to provide superior customer experiences over the speed that 5G provides while CSPs have the imperative to cater to these very demands and stay in the competition. Instead of being dependent on external vendors, CSPs, understandably, are looking to take control of the customer experience systems.

To bring this to fruition, they would want to build a layer of services over the existing systems like Business Support Systems (BSS) and Operation Support Systems (OSS). In the future, CSPs might select API providers for implementing backend functionalities, but would most likely be self-reliant when it comes to building apps over them.

Yet, as proven across industries, paradigm shifts and opportunities of such magnitude, always need a holistic and fresh approach.

Three things CSPs need to meet customer expectations

CSPs, thus, can take a holistic approach to application development by adopting a multi-layered platform approach, rather than a short-sighted rapid launch of use case-specific apps.

Three strategic layers that CSPs can leverage over their existing infrastructure are

#1 A Functional API Plane: Typical application stacks at CSPs include both BSS and OSS. The BSS provides the bare-bones customer experience layer to attract, convert, service, and bill a customer. To elevate the customer experience CSPs could take the following steps:

#2 A Digital Experience Hub: A Digital Experience Hub (DEH) built over the API layer can decouple the UX from the functional systems. The DEH can act as a unified API layer over core systems (BSS & OSS) as well as the new use case-centric functional systems.

#3 A Digital Experience Layer: Incumbent CSPs can adopt a next-gen, digital-first approach for delivering a customized and personalized omnichannel experience to customers with the help of a layered platform-based approach. This Digital Experience Layer built on top of the DEH will have componentized telecom-based experiences. This is where low-code can act as the crucial last layer of experience development.

A multi-layered platform for app development is a strategic choice for telcos and enterprises. Yet, a big-bang approach to modernization is not advisable. The stakes are too high when there is an imminent risk of disruption. Instead, CSPs are well advised to adopt an iterative and phased approach to modernization.

In this context, the potent combination of composability, co-existence, and a low-code platform may be the perfect antidote to the modernization conundrum.

 

Composability + co-existence + low-code: a potent combination

Incumbent CSPs need to reinvent the wheel with modern, cloud-native, omnichannel applications to gain traction and prepare themselves for the 5G era. But, the use case by use case approach, or traditional development methodologies will make it difficult to provide the acceleration that they need.

What CSPs need is a foundational platform for the UX layer that can:

 

From apps to Experience-as-a-Service platforms with low-code

An Experience-as-a-Service paradigm can be built by layering purpose-built stacks on one another.

Creating an integration layer enables enterprises to orchestrate experiences from different vendors and internal APIs. These APIs are combined cohesively to create experience APIs that bring the best-of-breed services together and give the customer a unified experience.

Componentized and configurable low-code platforms can then be leveraged to create an Experience-as-a-Service layer on top of these assets.

Components (bundled with logic, data, and UI) that represent entire user journeys can be built into a configurable platform to provide better control to business users and allow them to innovate better. These components in turn can be reused and rehashed for any use case, app, or channel across the enterprise landscape.

 

 

On another note, CSPs are well aware that the skill shortage crisis is real. Either they do not have enough hands or do not possess the bandwidth to acquire the talent they need. Low-code platforms are great enablers in this context. Developers with diverse or even legacy skill sets can onboard and adopt low-code platforms and take advantage of full-stack technologies in minimum time.

With features like pre-built components, faster onboarding, a lower learning curve, flexible customization, and easy configuration, composable low-code are slated to become an enterprise-wide app development strategy.

With low-code, enterprises and telcos will go to market faster, be it through ideation, testing the market with PoCs or MVPs, or performing quick customizations to meet large customer-specific needs.

 

Summary

CSPs have the knowledge and know-how in the telecom industry. This gives them a unique perspective and a special seat at the table when discussing the impact of 5G. It also provides them the opportunity to pivot from being network providers to transforming into facilitators of 5G ecosystems.

To compete well with software providers, CSPs need to provide differentiated experiences at speed, which requires a paradigm shift in software development. Traditional approaches to development take time and the opportunity cost of losing out to nimbler competition is really high.

On the other hand, low code is an ideal tool to tackle the skill shortage and acceleration problem. It would be prudent to adopt a composable low-code platform that can allow them to leverage their expertise and develop experiences fast. Doing so will enable them to monetize their investment in 5G with speed and scale.

Originally published in The Fast Mode

Authored by Deepak Anupalli, Co-Founder and CTO, WaveMaker, Inc

The Global Digital Transformation Market is expected to grow from USD $469.8 Billion in 2020 to USD $1,009.8 Billion by 2025 while enterprises are responding to market demands by transitioning toward a new digital era – with haste.

There is much to be said about the velocity at which this transition is being made. This is particularly the case for organizations that have relied on traditional software platforms and methodologies for decades.

Take, for instance, large Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and solution providers. They typically create custom software solutions for their clients at scale, but delivering complete customized software using a traditional development team is simply not a scalable business model in these times.

In terms of cost, traditional development platforms and processes are burning a huge hole in the enterprise pocket. Typically, enterprise software costs are factored in on a short-term basis, but the bigger picture leaves much to be desired. The overall cost to maintain, update, re-platform, or rebuild software with traditional development teams on a long-term basis is astronomically higher. Add the cost of lingering technical debt, and enterprises that rely on traditional methods might have a problem that won’t be going away anytime soon.

It’s no wonder that enterprises are switching to Rapid Application Development platforms like low-code that can offer not only speed, but also customization, composability, and the ability to build customer experiences that differentiate them from competitors.

Low-Code for Mainstream Accelerated Development

Low-code is a modern approach to agile software development. A low-code platform enables professional developers to build products in a visually declarative manner, by abstracting commonly used functionalities as components. These components can be dragged and dropped onto an application canvas and then configured and customized per application. Such a methodology allows developers to tackle complexity with ease and build products, almost 3X times faster than traditional approaches. Components that represent an entire functionality bundled with UI, logic, and data can be stored in internal repositories that can be customized for any use case across the enterprise application landscape. This allows SMEs and business users to provide their expertise while building applications, and in turn, democratizes software development leading to better ideation and innovation.

Etching a Sustainable Development Path with Low-Code

While low-code platforms give an initial boost to rapidly build and deliver software to the market, can they also help enterprises build software with the right architecture, provide iron-clad security, and the best software to scale? Most importantly, can low-code approaches help businesses build software that is sustainable in the longer term?

The answers to these questions depend on the choice of platform and the enterprise’s long-term strategy around the platform. Low code adopted as a quick fix for an immediate problem cannot scale up as a long-term strategy.

On the other hand, the adoption of a low-code platform as the basis for an enterprise-wide, long-term strategy – with the right methodologies and best practices set around it – will enable growth, ensure sustainability, and allow businesses and their apps to scale.

The Low-Code Maturity Path

 

 

1. Faster Go-To-Market: The low-code advantage with composable components and integrations

The first advantage of adopting a low-code platform is, of course, speed and agility. Using a composable experience platform, existing development teams can pool their resources, integrate with best-of-breed APIs, and rapidly componentize them as LEGO-like blocks. These components can then be assembled together to quickly compose custom software that is highly integrable and customizable. Faster go-to-market is just the first milestone.

However, there is an initial ramp-up time for the learning curve, albeit a smaller one than with other approaches, and the gains are usually best observed when building multiple apps or when there is wider adoption of the platform across the organization.

Once existing development teams build familiarity with the low-code platforms and align with the technology stack offered, a core competency for the platform is created internally within the organization. This is a determinant for the success of the low-code strategy within the ecosystem.

2. Respond at the Speed of Need: Allow developers to customize and extend functionality quickly

After the go-live, it is important to look at the turnaround time at which changes can be rolled out using the same low-code platform. Business and development teams should be able to collaborate, review changes, and align business objectives for successful change rollouts.

In a traditional development setup, software updates typically must go through the entire build, review, and QA process. Some of the changes could lead to regressions, which necessitates the need to have expert software development teams to govern them.

With low code, changes can be confined to specific layers of an application, ( such as user interface, data model, and business logic), and only the functional aspects of the app are impacted, leaving the underlying software components, integrations, and their integrity intact.

3. React to Disruptive Market Forces: Compose and create new experiences

Changing market needs usually demand that software development teams be very agile to remain in sync with business changes. It is here where the true differentiator of low-code lies.

Only a few low-code platforms enable a composable way of defining and creating new experiences from existing components, cutting down the time it takes to make drastic changes or even a complete overhaul of the app experience. A composable low-code platform offers a powerful way to create components that can be reused by development teams to compose new applications and user journeys, allowing businesses to experiment with new product ideas and innovate.

4. Evolve with The Industry Trends: Adapt to industry trends with continuous product evolution

Every software product goes through its own evolutionary process and has to scale as the number of users grows and adoption kicks in for wider markets. It becomes very critical for the product to support a wide array of capabilities such as internationalization (e.g. i18n), support for accessibility, multi-cloud deployment, versioning for components, penetration testing, industry-specific compliance, and so on.

Mature low-code platforms have out-of-the-box support for these capabilities making the development process easier for development teams as the software evolves.

5. Scale and Sustain: Respond to technology disruptions quickly, upgrade, and sustain

It is estimated that engineers spend a whopping 30% of their time resolving issues arising due to technical debt when modernizing software. A changing technology landscape renders it very difficult for software to withstand the test of time. Technical debt will show its damaging effects unless the platform was built with resilience in mind and there is a process in place to handle the debt.

With new technology innovations, software should adapt and change course to thrive and sustain itself. Low-code platforms enable a layer of abstraction for development teams, allowing them to stay closer to their business solutions and do the heavy lifting of technology advancements underneath the platform strategy.

Migration of underlying JavaScript frameworks such as Angular JS to Angular, stack upgrades for the backend such as Java 9 to Java 11, and so on are only possible if the right architecture is in place. Upgrades happen under the hood, and since low-code does all the laborious work behind the scenes, the transitions happen seamlessly.

Summary

Organizations that are contemplating adopting a low-code platform are making a wise choice. However, due diligence is required to zero in on the right platform. If the motive is to enable business users to develop simple apps for their internal use, any no-code platform can do the job.

However, if the low-code platform is for serious app development, then all stakeholders including IT teams, business users, CTOs, and CIOs need to create a strategic plan for its adoption in a collaborative manner. Organizational best practices of change management, upgrades, and rollouts need to be consolidated and built around low-code. Processes for each stage of app creation need to be set in place. The low-code platform of choice must offer flexibility and scalability unconditionally. It should ideally be able to ride the maturity curve as the use cases expand and as adoption spreads throughout the organization, allowing organizations to deliver, customize, compose, and upgrade at the speed of their need.

Originally published in DEVPRO JOURNAL