BUILDING MOBILE APPS: NATIVE OR WEB

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There are a number of excellent benefits that your business can get out of building a mobile application for its needs; whether that be for internal communication, marketing to new clients, or communicating with existing ones.

The objective that the mobile app you are building is meant to fulfill will have a major impact on the type of app you are developing; particularly with reference to its architecture.

In such a situation you have a choice.

You can either build a standalone native app that must be downloaded from an app store and take advantage of the features of a user’s device; or you can opt to build a simpler, more cost-effective and less resource-intensive progressive web app.

In this article, we will explore the differences, benefits and drawbacks of each of these.

This should give you a better idea of which framework would best meet the objectives of your business, no matter what reason you are developing an app for.

Native Apps

Native apps make use of a specific codebase and are developed to be compatible with certain devices that use that framework.

For instance, if a native app needs to be released for both Android and iOS systems, the app will need to be developed for each of those frameworks separately.

This allows the app to take advantage of the hardware and features of that specific device, and also enables it to stand alone as a functional application.

This gives them a number of unique advantages over web apps, but also means that they require specific skill sets to develop, and as such, generally come at a much higher cost than the other two.

Still, if you need to develop an app that is fast, highly functional and complicated, the native approach is generally the best bet thanks to the way they excel in terms of intuitiveness and functionality.

Benefits

From the above description, a few of the top benefits of native apps should start to show themselves.

Let’s take a look at some of the top advantages of choosing native development. These include superior performance, app store support, an enhanced user experience, the ability to use features on the device using the app, as well as higher levels of trust between potential users.

Best Performance

Out of the three approaches mentioned in this article, native apps provide some of the best levels of performance. These builds are generally more stable, reliable and efficient in the way that they use device resources.

This, in turn, creates a more pleasant experience for users but also provides the only viable option for particularly complicated or functional apps.

App Store Support & Discoverability

Because native apps are generally only downloaded from recognised app stores, they are also given more comprehensive support from platforms like the Google Play and iOS App Store.

On top of this, having a presence in these app stores also makes native mobile apps more discoverable than other types, which means that there is a much higher chance of users finding and using it, as opposed to other types that are not hosted on stores, and therefore may need additional marketing to get them into the hands of your potential users.

Smooth & Intuitive User Experience

Because native apps are built using compatible code for specific devices, they are built within a framework that accentuates best-practice guidelines for that specific device.

This means that navigation, usability and functionality all come with a sense of recognisability for users, who will find using the app an intuitive and natural experience without much of a learning curve.

By allowing for a framework that is familiar to your users, these types of apps make them more accessible to users, regardless of the devices they were developed for.

Make Use of Device Features

One of the top advantages to native mobile apps is that in being built with code that is compatible with specific devices, these types of apps are able to make use of the features and hardware on that specific device.

Consider the way Google Maps uses your location through GPS, how Apple Music can send you a notification when your favorite artist releases a new album, or how Instagram can make use of your phone’s camera and apply filters to it.

All of these are examples of how native apps use the functions of a device to provide a unique and seamless experience for users.

App Store Approval Raises Trust

As media consumers, we are all quite a picky lot. If we smell a rat, we are likely to keep our distance. Having native apps listed in the various app stores requires them to first be approved by the stores themselves.

This means that by simply being listed, there is an added layer of trust between the app and its potential users, which means a greater chance of users confidently downloading it.

Drawbacks of Native Apps

Of course, if native apps were just a list of benefits there would be no need for web-based ones. So, let’s have a look at a few of the disadvantages of building native apps.

Requires Experienced Developers

Because each platform that a native app is being developed for differs completely in their coding and frameworks, native apps need to be developed separately for each operating system it is released on.

This means that different developers will need to be used for each platform since each will specialise in a specific coding language.

Even when finding a developer that works across a few Operating Systems (such as Android and iOS), the app will still need to be built independently for each different OS, which can raise the price and time of development substantially.

Higher Cost of Development

Because of the reason mentioned above, and also because of the specialised skill set needed to develop native apps in various forms, these types of apps come at an extra cost to other types.

But when you consider their added functionality and superior performance, this extra cost is worthwhile for apps that need to take advantage of native development.

Not Ideal for Simple Apps

Because of the monetary and time costs of developing native apps, and because they work within a complicated framework of specific coding languages, they are not ideally used for simple apps with limited functionality.

While they can be used for more simplistic apps, the approach isn’t always practical, especially when web apps can facilitate them at less of a cost, and with less time in development.

Web Apps

Now let’s move to an approach on the opposite end of the spectrum, progressive web apps.

These types of apps take a much more general and simplistic approach to development, albeit one that offers far less functionality.

Still, cost-effectiveness and relative ease of development makes web apps ideal for simpler apps.

Web apps are generally used in browsers like Opera or Google Chrome. This is because they are developed using coding languages similarly used for websites like C++ and HTML.

Because of this, web apps only need to be built once. Since web architecture can be used seamlessly across multiple devices, it can be employed to be used on console, PC, Android and iOS all at once; as long as the device using it accesses the app through a browser.

In this way, the app itself is stored on a server rather than a device, from where it is accessed by users when they open the app through a browser. When changes occur on the web app, there is no need to push updates to users’ devices, since the changes will automatically be applied when they access the web app.

It does this, however, while sacrificing on the added functionality of native apps.

Benefits

The fact that they are somewhat simplified doesn’t make web apps worse than native ones. Just different. There are still a number of advantages that they can bring when used in specific situations:

Easy to Use Across Device Types

Because they are developed within a web framework, the same web app can be accessed, as is, across multiple devices, regardless of the operating systems they use.

This means two things: firstly, it means that the app only needs to be developed once, and secondly, it will be able to reach a wider perspective audience.

Less Costly to Develop

Because they are built for the web, these types of apps don’t require as specialized (and rare) a skill as native apps do.

They also only need to be developed for one platform that can be used across devices.

This results in remarkably lower development costs and times when compared to native apps.

No Need for Marketplace Approval

Since these apps behave similarly to websites, they are hosted in the same way as well.

This means that they don’t have to go through the sometimes-lengthy approval process that native mobile apps have to face. This is as true for hosting as it is for when the app needs to be updated.

Because of this, they can be made available to users in much less time than the other types of apps.

Easy to Update

When you update a native app, it needs to be done on the store. At that point, your users will be notified of the update and prompted to do it.

Progressive web apps on the other hand, only need to be updated on the host.

Since these apps are not necessarily downloaded to the device that is accessing it, updated features will show immediately when users access it.

This makes things a lot more convenient for your users, and also gives you more control over which build of the app they are using.

Drawbacks of Web-Based Apps

Limited Use of Device Features

Because web-based apps make use of a C++ framework, they do not contain any of the code that allows the app to take advantage of device-specific features. This means no camera, no GPS and no access to your contacts or storage.

Because of this, web-based apps are only really suited to very basic functions.

Difficult to Collect Usage Metrics

Collecting information on how many users are accessing your apps is straightforward enough with native apps since all of that information is readily available through the respective app store.

Since progressive web apps are hosted independently, that is, away from app stores, getting usage statistics that you can use to improve your services is a little more difficult, and not as detailed or accurate.

Poor Discoverability

Discoverability is also a concern when apps are not hosted on app stores. They will have to be marketed much in the way a website is if you want to attract in users.

This is perfectly fine and well if you are using an app to communicate with existing clients or offering them a service. But when you want your app to build its own success, native apps on stores are far more discoverable.

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If you want to learn more about how low code can help you adopt a successful digital conversion strategy, you can contact BAYPM. However, if you are more interested in learning about the pros and cons of leading low code platforms, check out Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Enterprise low code implementation platforms.

Resource: https://applord.co/building-mobile-apps-native-web/

7 Software Development Trends for 2022 and Why You Should Adopt Them

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By now, we’re all too familiar with the saying “every company is a software company” but scaling and delivering quality software is — to put it simply — hard: software development complexity keeps growing, with tech stacks constantly changing and new cloud services popping up. Yet, there simply aren’t enough software engineers available in the market: IDC quantified that the shortage of full-time developers is currently 1.4 million people (2021) and that will rise to 4 million people in just 4 years.

At the same time, the revolution of hybrid work and the pandemic acceleration of digital has exploded the backlogs of software dev teams in every industry. These last two disruptions may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back on the old approach for conventional development.

This new reality demands that software engineering leaders must review their 2022 assumptions and make plans to modernize their teams, practices, and tools to address the 4 core pillars of their software engineering:

  • Developer experience: aiming to reduce technical complexity so that teams can innovate rapidly.
  • Development workflow automation: removing friction and handovers among all platforms and tools from the different stages of the development lifecycle are integrated holistically.
  • Security and compliance: developers shift left everything that can be tested during development, and right everything that’s better tested later, making it easier for developers to write secure code.
  • Deployment and operations: focusing on user adoption to enhance service reliability and performance.

Based on these pillars, we predict 7 software development trends that will be key in 2022 and that software engineering leaders should consider to modernize their dev teams, practices, and tools and achieve their business goals:

  1. DevSecOps
  2. API-led Integrations
  3. Low-code for Pros
  4. Cloud-Native Platforms
  5. DesignOps
  6. Universal Observability
  7. PWA-First

#1: DevSecOps

Security, unfortunately, will continue to be the #1 concern for IT executives and software engineering teams. Between an uptick in ransomware attacks, lack of clear boundaries for organizational data, and increased risk with collaborative citizen developments, the data privacy, and regulatory requirements are threatened more than ever before. This led to an increased demand for DevSecOps, where security and compliance requirements are validated at every step of the development lifecycle.

With this increasing pressure to protect development environments from supply chain security threats and harden software delivery pipelines, we’re seeing CISOs and CIOs gradually preferring to create new web&mobile apps on platforms that manage all stages of app development and delivery for each new app — instead of depending on the non-systematic nature of different people with different practices in secure development.

The ultimate goal is for dev platforms to promote and make it easy for dev teams to create secure code, assuming a Zero Trust security model, instead of relying mostly on security testing methodologies.

#2: Hybrid Integrations

According to The State of SaaS Sprawl in 2021, the average company has 254 SaaS applications but, on average, only 45% of a company’s SaaS apps are being used on a regular basis. Moreover, 56% of all these apps are shadow IT, or owned and managed outside of IT. And the crazy part is to think that goes on top of all the software packages and systems of records they already have to run the core of their business.

The recent furore by business users to deploy RPA over old tools lacking APIs was a shortcut for old systems but not ideal for the fluid nature of digital business making changes all the time. For that agile businesses are using rapid app changes with low-code dev platforms, and the leading ones include these capabilities inside.

Above all, we’re now at a stage where organizations need more than ever to connect in real-time their data management, governance, and auditability across these multiple data sources which begs for more tools in hybrid integrations. The right software dev platforms or dedicated tools allow integrating data from different SaaS and legacy systems for a data fabric used by multiple systems and apps, which is key to supporting business leaders to make data-driven decisions.

#3: Low-Code for Pros

A proven alternative in 2021 has been the broad adoption of low-code platforms, where a leading vendor already addresses challenging enterprise use cases. In fact, according to Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms,

“By 2025, 70% of new applications developed by enterprises will use low-code or no-code technologies”.

Low-code doesn’t mean that developers will be replaced by business users (to understand the difference between low-code and no-code take a look at this blog post). Low-code platforms provide abstraction to remove some of that complexity that developers typically face when creating an app or system. And the best ones provide full-stack control for software engineers to have fine-grain control.

The goal is that those repetitive and boring tasks like dependency management, code validation, and automatic builds are done by the platform so that developers can focus on the extra mile that makes the difference, instead of just keeping the lights on.

#4: Cloud-Native Platforms

Still on the SaaS topic, the explosion of niche cloud applications is changing the “build vs buy” economics and timings. That’s because SaaS sprawl is not only exploding the original budgets but also becoming another form of technical debt: jumping among a dozen systems is a poor experience, with business consequences.

To recover business agility in enterprise systems used by customers, partners and employees, it demands a new type of cloud-native app development — one that is highly distributed, scalable, and enables the creation of resilient, fit-to-purpose enterprise apps that increases the agility of the organization.

The explosive growth of the mega vendors’ web services from ~30 five years ago, up to 250 by a single IaaS provider today, is becoming a massive distraction for business developers creating cloud-native applications.

To overcome these challenges, it is key that cloud-native development platforms allow dev teams to remain focused on the value stream management for their digital products, instead of exhausting their engineering talent on infrastructure management alone.

And with tech giants winning the race for scarce specialized engineers, organizations outside that tech elite need to embrace new ways to stay innovative and competitive with their own teams. This means finding technology that allows them to abstract or remove technical complexity and allow their development teams to focus on business outcomes and innovation — like a new crop of Cloud Native Low-Code Platforms.

#5: DesignOps

DesignOps is a tight team sport with close collaboration between design teams and front-end developers (including shared repositories, tools, asset exchange) promoting collaboration across the different product teams within an organization, and ensuring consistency of the product’s experience from the first delivery.

Now, the year 2022 is the first time when IT and app development budgets already reflect the hybrid work reality since both employee and partner experience has become just as critical as the customer experience — for hyperadoption: the broad and frequent use of the applications created to gain business agility.

As organizations are pressured to launch more digital products while meeting user adoption goals, they need to manage design at scale, while minimizing technical and UX debt, bringing DesignOps practices to the center of the stage.

#6: Observability

Going hand-in-hand with DesignOps, engineering leaders should invest in observability for hyperadoption. Combined with new end-user behavior observability and supported on open standards like Open Telemetry for tracing with plans to expand their use for logs and metrics, more digital product teams will aim for user adoption levels that were historically hard to achieve.

#7: PWA-First

Progressive Web AppsPWAs combine the functions of native apps and website accessibility without involving the app stores. Like native apps, PWAs can work offline, send push notifications, and access device hardware, such as cameras or GPS. The user experiences are similar to native apps on mobile and desktop devices without downloading or updating hassles, with great benefit — they run well on top of poor connectivity.

PWAs will regain momentum in 2022 due to their connectivity resilient design and user resistance (to keep piling native apps in their devices). There were already great technical arguments to adopt a PWA-first mindset by developers and software leaders, but the great acceleration to digital experiences is accelerating this change too, because:

  1. From an end user perspective, PWA are easy to use their mobile devices (no app store) and are lightweight.
  2. From a dev perspective, PWAs are way faster to change than native apps, and they are easier to maintain.
  3. For dev teams, unlike native apps, they use one codebase for all devices, they’re searchable by search engines, and they are light.

Get Ready for 2022

So overall, the top software engineering trends we see for 2022 confirm the core of our mission as a company:

“To enable every business to innovate throught software”.

We believe we can’t go wrong in delivering to our customers a platform that keeps removing complexity, addressing the developer experience gap, abstracting the complexity of cloud native development, and, ultimately, enabling our customers to grow faster.

We wish you a successful 2022!

1Breaking out the top of the analysts scale, as you can find out in the first ever “Low-Code Wave” by Forrester in 2016.

What Should You Expect from a Modern Application Platform?

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According to Gartner, “70% of new applications will leverage a modern application platform using low-code or no-code technologies by 2025, up from less than 25% in 2020.”

These numbers foretell a dramatic shift in how enterprises will approach app development moving forward. Namely, your future success hinges on the ability to continuously respond fast to change and based on a new approach to constantly deliver applications and enterprise systems, modernize enterprise software development, and keep up with the competition.

Of course, not all modern application platforms offer the same capabilities. Not every platform is suitable for every use case. So how should you compare your options?

To help companies understand the modern application platform market, Gartner recently released their Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms. In this report, they divided platforms into challengers, visionaries, niche players, and leaders based on product capabilities, vendor operational health, market track record, and product vision.

Not only did Gartner name OutSystems as a Leader among vendors, but OutSystems is also the only company to receive a Customer’s Choice distinction as voted by hundreds of customers.

What Is a Modern Application Platform?

A modern application platform lets you quickly but securely develop and deploy new applications by automating the software development lifecycle and elevating the abstraction for the coding process. Not only does this augment your developer team to produce more significant results, but it opens up new opportunities to augment your internal staff beyond developers.

With more and more businesses relying on custom applications to accelerate operations, your ability to create complex applications quickly, interfaces, business logic, workflows, and manage data is a must.

When comparing platforms, Gartner analyzed their capabilities for three primary use cases:

  • Building custom business applications. You must be able to easily create and maintain complex enterprise applications capable of providing an intuitive user experience, managing complex integrations with your other business data sources and applications, and handling massive transaction volumes.
  • Automating business workflows. Your platform should help you automate as many workflows involving multiple application systems and users as possible so that your developers can work smarter and more productively.
  • Empowering collaborative app development. With development teams spread far and wide across locations, continents, and between the office and working at home, you need a platform that can ensure everyone is working efficiently on the same application. In addition, you need a platform that can scale its capabilities and usability to meet the needs of employees ranging from citizen developers to your most experienced, hard-core coders.

What Does Gartner Say About OutSystems?

While some platforms may be more suited for specific tasks, OutSystems is designed to provide a modern application platform suitable for the broadest range of industries and use cases. Unlike other vendors like Salesforce and Oracle, our current application platform is all we do, which has allowed us to focus on continuously innovating our product to meet the needs of almost every customer.

According to the Gartner report,

“OutSystems is a Leader in this Magic Quadrant(…) Its market differentiation is based on its capability to enhance developer productivity for building modern enterprise applications. OutSystems provides robust security, multi-experience development and AI-augmented development capabilities to enable faster application development.”

In the report, Gartner notes three key strengths that elevate the OutSystems solution to the top of the leaderboard.

  • Product: “OutSystems offers advanced low-code capabilities such as AI-augmented development, native but proprietary continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD), application testing, agile enterprise planning, and governance capabilities to support the rapid development of enterprise-grade applications.”
  • Innovation: “OutSystems plans to introduce capabilities for automated unit testing using AI, native API management, enhanced observability experience (tied to infrastructure and application metrics) and an intelligent data mesh to facilitate seamless data ingestion and cataloguing.”
  • User experience: “In addition to providing robust capabilities for designing user journeys, OutSystems provides its UI design framework for designing standardized, accessibility-ready UIs. It also enables utilization of popular design systems and provides native support for chatbots and voice UIs.”

In its supplementary Critical Capabilities for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms report, Gartner writes,

“OutSystems received the highest score of all vendors for the custom business application use case. It received good scores for the collaborative app development and business workflow automation use cases.”

In addition, customers also recognized OutSystems as a 2021 Gartner Customers’ Choice Vendor. Unlike the Magic Quadrant, whose leadership was determined by Gartner’s analysts, this award is based solely on feedback and ratings from hundreds of enterprise software users who have experience purchasing, implementing, and working with the OutSystems platform.

At the time of the report, OutSystems had 577 reviews for an average rating of 4.5 out of 5. Only three vendors were named a Customer’s Choice, with OutSystems being the only vendor recognized as both a Customer’s Choice and a Magic Quadrant’s Leader.

For all the details, check out the following reports:

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In light of the research results, as BAYPM, we would love to help you with your Digital Transformation journey, give us a shout and we’ll be sure to assist you as best as we can. Currently, we are working on a project to digitize manual processes within different locations. The client opted for an incremental implementation approach based on geographical locations and the needs of their different factories.

3 Critical Aspects for a Successful Digital Customer Experience in 2021

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The global lockdown resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on customer behaviors. According to McKinsey, the share of digital customer interactions is three years ahead of where it would be if the pandemic hadn’t occurred.

In fact, McKinsey found that the C-Suite executives they spoke to were now three times more likely to say that at least 80% of customer interactions are digital in nature. Delivering a great digital customer experience is, therefore, becoming a make-or-break issue.

However, CX ≠ UX. To deliver a great customer experience, you must think about more than just the look and feel of your customer-facing applications – you must think about the end-to-end process. A great CX is not an event but a journey where you must constantly iterate your customer-facing services to ensure they continue to meet consumers’ rising expectations.

So, in a post-pandemic world, what does a successful digital CX looks like? Where should you invest to ensure the greatest impact and the fastest ROI?

3 Critical Customer Experience Investments in 2021

Here are three critical aspects that make a good digital customer experience in 2021 and successful examples of companies doing it right.

1. Omnichannel Experiences

An omnichannel experience is about integrating the different channels used by the different parts of your business to support a continuous customer journey. In other words, if you leave a channel, be it online or offline, and move to another, the experience continues as if nothing has changed.

This is particularly important in a time when, according to Forrester, 95% of customers use three or more channels to connect with a company in a single service interaction.

So, from a CX perspective, the critical consideration is to ensure that the customer has a consistent experience across each channel – and that they can transition seamlessly between them without needing to repeat steps or re-enter information.

Success Story

A good example of a successful omnichannel experience is the pet supplier Beeztees that implemented a new omnichannel e-commerce platform that provides real-time access to product, inventory, pricing, and order information.

2. Customer Self-Service

Customer self-service solutions have become increasingly important during 2020, when access to ordinary face-to-face resources, like bank employees or insurance agents, suddenly became very limited, and call centers were either closed or operating on a socially distanced basis.

And, although we’re getting back to normal, it is very likely that the use of these tools will only increase. In fact, Gartner expects one in five customer service interactions to be entirely handled by artificial intelligence by 2022, an increase of 400% from 2018.

In addition to that, 81% percent of users now try to solve problems on their own before reaching out to support. And the latest contact center annual report seems to confirm this, with self-service becoming a top priority for 2021.

Therefore, you should aim for ‘frictionless’ digital self-serve experiences that put as few hurdles as possible between where your customers want to go and how they get there. For example, research has found that creating a new bank account can be done in only 24 clicks but could take as many as 120 with traditional onboarding journeys!

Success Story

Yorkshire Building Society (YBS) Group—the UK’s third-largest building society Group —created a mortgage calculator that improved conversion rates by 54% and reduced the time taken to open new savings account by 40%.

3. Agile Backbone

The lockdown and the massive move of customers online has pushed the accelerator pedal on companies’ digital ambitions to the floor. But digital transformation does not necessarily deliver agility. Simply moving an inefficient offline process onto a digital channel does not increase agility – it merely migrates a cumbersome process from one platform to another.

However, according to DevOps Research and Assessment’s State of DevOps Report, elite performers can have their code in production in less than one day. These companies are twice as likely to meet or exceed their organization’s CX performance goals. That’s what agility means in a CX context; the ability to use digital channels to serve existing customers effectively and continue acquiring new customers.

Success Story

By investing in a technology that promoted agility, thinkmoney was able to completely re-engineer its customer onboarding process to improve completion rates by 30% in just seven weeks and helped them grow 5% in the first three months.

So, Where Should You Start?

Delivering great CX is a process that never ends. You need to create and iterate new customer-facing applications on an ongoing basis to ensure that the experience you offer your customers meets their needs. And you need to do this at a time when IT resources are scarcer than ever.

In these circumstances, only a modern application development platform like OutSystems can meet the demand for lean digital innovation and ensure a rapid return on your CX investments.

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In light of the research results, as BAYPM, we would love to help you with your Digital Transformation journey, give us a shout and we’ll be sure to assist you as best as we can. Currently, we are working on a project to digitize manual processes within different locations. The client opted for an incremental implementation approach based on geographical locations and the needs of their different factories.

Build vs. Buy in a Fast-Changing World

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How cost factors into the Build vs Buy debate - Learnosity

Faster than any corporate strategy or executive initiative, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the business’ adoption of digital technologies as never seen before. Forced to adjust rapidly and find new ways to connect with customers, partners, and their whole ecosystem, organizations in all industries implemented new digital experiences and embraced new ideas and business models, accelerating the share of digitally enabled products in their portfolios by seven years.

This need for speed has raised the old but still relevant build vs. buy dilemma. I recently had a revealing conversation with John Bratincevic, Senior Analyst at Forrester Research, about these exact trends (you can warp thru it at Build at the Speed of Buy webinar).

Based on trends we both saw in the past 18 months, we talked about how the “build” approach has been gaining momentum as technology evolves and new modern development approaches appear. So, where do we stand now? When should you buy and when should you build software?
 

Challenges of the Old “Buy + Customize” Approach

The traditional view we’ve always been told is not to reinvent the wheel; always buy software if possible, because there are very smart companies with great solutions that support “exactly what you need”—or so you wish. You should only build when your business lives in a somewhat niche area of the market poorly served by package software.

But the truth is, every resilient business is kind of like a snowflake—there are no two 100% the same, and it keeps changing. When you digitally transform your business, you turn everything about it into software, from policies and processes to procedures, data, and even its know-how.

The problem of prioritizing buying over the building is that whenever you need to change operations, that software that you bought because it was “baked” for that problem doesn’t change easily because it wasn’t architected for change and varnish customization is not enough.

Additionally, in today’s frenzy explosion of SaaS services acquired by each department to serve the majority of your software needs, you end up with several systems that don’t integrate seamlessly with each other. One nasty consequence is recurring to poor man integration with bots in what John describes as a “human API”, where users must manually copy-paste data, navigate between screens, and accruing all sorts of workarounds, like spreadsheets, to compensate for the lack of integration between the multiple solutions, all just to do what it was supposed to do!

In a surviving organization, software should be an extension of the business and express its DNA. To achieve that, companies need bespoke software solutions that may integrate all systems, and that means more development and faster delivery cadence.

Why Is “Building” Gaining Momentum?

Why is “building” the trend these past two years? What has changed in the business landscape for vanilla applications to not be enough? The answer is simple: post-pandemic of doing all customers’ operations digitally, and the quest to provide better experiences, both for customers and employees.

The philosophy of tweaking only the front-end because it’s what impacts customers directly, but keeping the back office systems slow and disconnected doesn’t work anymore. Because those operations greatly affect the customer experiences. Everything is integrated, and if something in the back office doesn’t work well, the app experience breaks fast, and adoption fails.

So, in today’s fast-changing world, even the most internal system has to change eventually to cope with unforeseen circumstances. Just imagine what the next unexpected pandemic may be! When you’re dealing with standard SaaS or COTS systems, even if they’re the best in class, they don’t change easily because they weren’t made with the peculiarities of your businesses in mind.

Redefining Build vs. Buy Assumptions

There are two critical assumptions that organizations need to realize when it comes to choosing between build or buy software approach:

  1. Businesses are like snowflakes, and organizations shouldn’t underestimate the peculiarities of their business. So, unless your off-the-shelf application is built for change—and most of them aren’t—it’ll take more time, be more painful, and be expensive to customize to your business needs.
  2. Technologies keep changing rapidly. Today, the build shouldn’t be seen as a herculean effort, where you need a huge team to write thousands or millions lines of code, as it happened in the past. Cloud platforms have evolved dramatically over the last five years; modern development approaches like DevOps, agile, and enterprise low-code platforms have accelerated the development process, and quality checks are built-in. So, product teams don’t need to dive into the “start from scratch” development to build an application; they can take advantage of cloud services and business APIs to compose and deliver customized solutions much faster, more adaptive, and cheaper than before.

Moreover, there’s a lot of value in creating apps in platforms that allow you to reuse proven modular building blocks that include security, governance, and compliance management in the platform. This way, integrating systems and providing a seamless navigation experience becomes a reality without them needing a “human API” or repetitive RPA bots to fix what the solution was supposed to do from the beginning.

The question shouldn’t be “build versus buy” anymore, but “customize versus compose”. You either buy a standard app and spend most of the time and money customizing it and waiting on budgets and vendors to do it each cycle, OR you compose an app by reusing proven business capabilities your teams created or wrapped from the outside when using modern app development platform.

Adapting to Change with a Build Approach: Examples

Humana in the US is a great story of an organization that has invested in composing their solutions and how that allowed them to adapt faster when the pandemic hit. The insurance provider invested in a modular architecture that allowed it to reuse the same modules they had created for a Pharmacy Finder app and quickly launch a COVID-19 Testing Locator App to their customers.

Another great story is Green Cargo. The logistics company needed to modernize its core system, which was sclerotic with legacy and SAP dependencies. But replacing the whole thing at once would have taken years, during which the benefits to the business would have stood still. So the company decided to use the OutSystems app dev platform to replace functionalities one at a time. In just one year, the company launched several significant applications into production, including a mobile app, a predictive maintenance app, and a customer portal.

The building at the Speed of Buy

The build or buy dilemma has evolved over the last few years: buying off-the-shelf isn’t entirely totally off-the-shelf anymore, and the more digital we become, the less off-the-shelf it is. As for the build, the idea that developing your software is costly and inefficient is based on old development models. Modern app development technologies have changed that.

As Paulo Rosado, OutSystems CEO said in a recent article,

“Only the businesses that overcome these outdated ideas and take ownership of their software innovation will come out ahead in this increasingly digital age.”

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If you want to learn more about how low code can help you adopt a successful digital conversion strategy, you can contact BAYPM. However, if you are more interested in learning about the pros and cons of leading low code platforms, check out Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Enterprise low code implementation platforms.

Building a Digital Transformation Strategy: Low-Code for The Touchdown

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If you’ve encountered low code when evaluating different technologies to support your digital transformation strategy, in this blog post, you’ll learn how low code addresses the most common pain points encountered when developing a digital transformation strategy.

The demand for more business applications, the growth in connected devices, and higher expectations put huge pressure on IT leaders. That’s why a McKinsey study recently found that 70 per cent of digital transformations have failed. Of course, there are many criminals. But one of the most common mistakes IT leaders make is to think about technology first and rush to get it. 

A successful digital transformation strategy should start by identifying strategic business challenges. Then you can find the right technology to create digital processes and solutions to solve them. 

The value proposition of disruptive technology like low code is that it gives companies the flexibility and agility to adapt to the ever-changing industry reality, while accelerating the time to market new applications and functions to keep up with or change markets. Let’s see how low code can empower your team and gain speed, agility, competitiveness and differentiation. 

3 tips for creating a successful digital transformation strategy with low code: 

To participate in digital transformation, IT managers and managers must lead “visionary leadership.” In other words, you need to have a full understanding of where your business stands and what might be, along with well-defined goals, and then take steps to get there. 

What you choose to do or not do will affect your ability to win, the trajectory and speed of your success or failure, and the value of the legacy you left behind. Your team has to play to win every game from the start to the last second, and it’s up to you to lead them. 

So, here are three tips for a successful digital transformation with low code. 

1. Play to win instead of play to avoid losing 

Why are so many IT leaders deciding to disrupt software development by using low code in the hands of development teams? Building and maintaining a strong development team and developers is essential. Winning the big game requires increasing their performance, increasing their productivity, and expanding your bench power by optimizing the team’s talent pool. Your team needs to respond to business needs with greater speed and agility, closing all gaps in processes and gaps in your abilities against your competitors’ abilities. 

2.Create and share a winning vision 

For successful digital transformation, you need to optimize the output of your development team; no questions there. But how do you keep your team in the game when the domain breaks down? Put yourself in the shoes of your development team: you’ve invested more than 4 years in college, plus several years of experience in coding, and you’re suddenly asked to replace everything you’ve worked hard to master with something that reduces complexity and simplifies the job. The challenge is that by increasing your number of developer staff, you cannot scale efficiently and keep up with the demands of your market. You will reach your salary limit quickly, so you have to give something. How do you fix it? It has to create a win-win vision. It would be best if you showed your team that a low-code platform would not replace their work and skills but instead will allow them to use their skills and experience in projects that bring more value to the business. 

3.Increase your score skill 

How many apps do you currently have and use less than 10% of their capabilities? How much does it cost to protect them? How many of these will limit your capabilities because you can’t get data from them or show it in other apps? If you are like most companies, you have an application base that needs improvement. In fact, most companies find that backlog creates a day-to-day squeeze when it comes to building a high-performing, innovation-focused mindset in your company. You need to eliminate lag, encourage innovation, reduce the number of third-party apps and make big games. 

And that’s where the low code shines. Take Schneider Electric, for example. Schneider discovered that the IT landscape was fragmented by duplicated applications using non-standard architecture and weak security practices. Therefore, the company used low code and created 60 applications in just 20 months while replacing a group of legacy applications running on Lotus Notes technology. In the words of Schneider Digital’s Director, Amarpreet Kaur, 

“We saw a low-code platform as a catalyst to bridge the gap between business demands and available IT resources. We chose Outsystems, and now we have an engine at Schneider Electric that fuels digital transformation.” 

Are you ready for the big game? 

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If you want to learn more about how low code can help you adopt a successful digital conversion strategy, you can contact BAYPM. However, if you are more interested in learning about the pros and cons of leading low code platforms, check out Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Enterprise low code implementation platforms.

Low-Code and No-Code: What’s the Difference and When to Use What?

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Market confusion aside, it’s really possible to distinguish between low-code and no-code platforms. There are literally hundreds of small details and capabilities that distinguish low-code platforms from no-code solutions. Most of these are not evident at the UI level, which is where most of the confusion between the two comes from. This blog post addresses the capabilities that separate the two so you can better understand where they can fit in your organization.


What is low-code and how to use it?

Let’s start with low code. Low code is a way for developers of all skill levels to design applications with fast and minimal manual coding by dragging and dropping visual blocks of existing code into a workflow to build applications. Creating low-code software is the same as creating software any other way, and the main difference is the types of shortcuts offered. Instead of manually coding a user management system, learning the latest programming framework, or writing 10 tests before a single line of your app’s code, you go straight to creating something new and valuable.

OutSystems/ Low-Code User Experience Diagram


Experienced developers work smarter and faster with low code because they are not hampered by repeated coding or duplicate work. Instead, they focus on building 10 percent of an application that sets it apart, using their development experience and skills to design everything and leaving the grumble job to the low-code tool or platform.

Low-Code Advantages

There are numerous benefits to using a low-code platform. Let’s take a high-level look at the biggest advantages of low-code development.

Speed: with low code, you can create applications for multiple platforms at the same time and show stakeholder working samples in days or even hours.

More resources: if you are working on a large project, no longer have to wait for developers with special skills to finish a long project, which means getting things done faster and at a lower cost.

Low risk / high return on investment: with low code, robust security processes, data integration and cross-platform support are already built-in and easily customizable – which means less risk and more time to focus on your business.

One-click deployment: with low code, one click is all it takes to send your app to production. Launch day is no longer a frustrating experience.


And What Is No-Code?

No-code solutions also feature drag and drop, visual enhancement. Unlike low code, they mostly appeal to business people or others in IT who may not know real programming languages ​​but want to develop an application for a specific use case. In other words, no code allows organizations to equip teams with the tools they need to build applications without formal development training.

Everything the no-code vendor thinks the user needs to create an application is already built into the tool. No-code solutions are similar to popular blogging platforms and e-commerce website design companies with pre-built pages that you can use to start your blog or business in a matter of minutes.


No-Code Advantages 

No code is great if you need a simple app to solve a single business or department issue and you don’t want to expect it to build and deliver 3-6 months from now. No-code platforms require very little training, so anyone in your organization can often create an application in the business process management area, such as expense approvals. No-code gives business users the freedom to address an urgent need without moving away from critical development projects.


Low-Code and No-Code: When To Use

Both low-code and no-code platforms are built with the same thing in mind: speed. But how do you know when to use the other? The sections on advantages and disadvantages point to the answer to this question, but let’s dig a little deeper.

Low code is good for developing standalone mobile and web applications and portals that require integration with other systems and a variety of data sources. In fact, it can be used for almost anything except highly complex, mission-critical systems that integrate with multiple backend and external data sources. No-code tools, by contrast, should only be used for front-end use cases.

So, low code is probably the better option, unless you develop only the simplest apps and require little in the way of customization. Low code allows you to build user-friendly, responsive applications. While it’s not as simple as without code, there is enough simplicity inherent in low code tools to run these apps much faster than if you code them manually. Since low code still requires some coding knowledge, you know that the people who create your apps will do this correctly and your new apps won’t saddle you with security risks or compatibility issues.


Is it the future of low-code and no-code application development?

The short answer to this question is yes. Low-code and no-code tools play an increasingly important role in accelerating the deployment of applications. Gartner predicts that by 2023, more than 50% of medium and large businesses will adopt low-code or no-code code as one of their strategic application platforms, and low code will be responsible for more than 65% of application development by 2024.

We believe that the pressure to offer digital solutions to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the reasons for the accelerated adoption of low code and no code. Another reason is that only the biggest, wealthiest companies have access to the best technology capabilities and the most advanced development tools. No-code and low-code Tools flattens the playing field and empowers organizations of all sizes to do more with their available resources.
 
References:
https://www.outsystems.com/1/low-code-application-platforms-gartner/
https://www.outsystems.com/blog/posts/technical-debt/
https://www.outsystems.com/blog/posts/benefits-of-low-code-platforms/

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In light of the research results, as BAYPM, we would love to help you with your Digital Transformation journey, give us a shout and we’ll be sure to assist you as best as we can. Currently, we are working on a project to digitize manual processes within different locations. The client opted for an incremental implementation approach based on geographical locations and the needs of their different factories.

7 Benefits of Mobile App For Your Business

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Mobile apps are becoming increasingly popular among businesses and service providers. From e-commerce stores and payment banks to food delivery and healthcare, there is almost no industry where mobile applications have not proved their marketing value or established themselves fundamental for effective communication with target customers.
 

1. Availability: Be There For Your Customers Every Time

Nowadays, customer service is no longer just about face-to-face interaction. Especially with the rapid development of technology, there are now more than 2.6 billion users who own smartphones. We can call mobile apps a game-changer for industries. Do you know why?

Mobile apps are not likely to have mood swings and poor performance, unlike manpower customer service. With robust mobile software, you will provide users with the best way to choose. Users can decide whether they want to select your services.

Many businesses see mobile apps as a means of improving customer service. You are always ready for your customers. If a user finds out about your products or services in the middle of the night and wants to get information instantly, all they have to do is turn on their phone and download your mobile app.

Moreover, users do not have to wait for business hours to be able to even buy your product if they want to. Customer satisfaction should be one of your priorities, and therefore mobile apps are the answer to increasing customer satisfaction.

2. Marketing: Develop A Direct Marketing Channel

Of all the advantages of having a mobile app, one of the biggest is that it has all the information you want to give customers; booking forms, search features, user accounts, news feeds, it provides multiple functions such as. 

You can also get closer to direct communication with push notifications. In this way, it is possible to remind your customers how sensible it is to choose your services and products. Now users have all the information at their fingertips.

3. Priority: Give Value To Your Customers

Business is about responding. If you want to improve the interaction of users with your organization, you must give them a certain level of value. When you start doing that, they do not think about going anywhere else. The question now is how you can value your users. You can plan a loyalty program to enable them to participate in your services and products. Some organizations use their mobile apps to offer rewards to subscribers. This motivates users to buy their services or products. If you already have such a program, it is possible to integrate it into the mobile application.

4. Visibility: Build Your Brand and Recognition 

The mobile app can contribute to brand awareness. It would be better if we split this section into two different sections and the combination of both makes your mobile app a real winner. 

Sign: a mobile app is similar to an empty billboard sign. Whether you want to give it a stylish look or not, you can make it shocking, informative, or functional. But what you can not ignore is improving it with many features that your customers will love. Moreover, it must be brand-based and painstakingly designed.

Recognition: the more you focus on customer engagement, the sooner they are convinced to buy your services or products. ”Effective frequency” is very important in the advertising industry. Wait, you do not know what happened? In the simplest terms, enough frequency is to see or hear your brand about 20 times. This will give you real recognition.

5. Interaction: Enhance Your Customer Engagement 

Regardless of what you sell, users need a method to reach you. With a Help Desk feature, your app can change how you interact with your customers. 

For example, OpenTable built its overall business model around the same principle. Instead of looking for a cafe or restaurant for a table, it is possible to book with fewer than five clicks on its platform.

You must have noticed that most customers prefer to contact you by phone or text. This is because everyone is busy nowadays and with a mobile app you can give them a chance to do it.

6. Uniqueness: Offer Something Out-of-the-Box 

Technology has fascinated almost every part of our lives, and almost everyone has used mobile apps. However, despite the awareness, their development is still rare. Specifically, at the small business level.

Therefore, creating an app and presenting it to your customers can make your organization stand out. Make sure you build it correctly by following different application development strategies. Your competitors and users will certainly be surprised by your initiative and foresight.

7. Loyalty: Be True to Your Customers

Customer loyalty is the most important motivation to consider building your versatile application. With all the noise from Facebook promotions, roadside banners, announcements, flashing signs, daily paper ads, flyers, websites, site flags, coupons, and email marketing, you gradually lose your influence on customers. It is a great opportunity to come back by building a real and authentic relationship with your customers.

Also, try to make them a loyal fan of your product as well as your services. However, it can be a method of staying closer to your customers and constantly being just a “fingertip.”

To sum up; Why is it worth investing in mobile app development? In today’s competitive environment, people are using mobile devices to keep up with their favorite brands. They see it as a brand that allows potential customers to get all the information quickly. Whatever industry you’re dealing with, the advantages of having mobile apps for businesses are numerous, and investing in it is the best business deal. 

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Start creating brand awareness through mobile app development and better distribute your reach. Your investment in mobile apps will benefit you for a long time. Working with BAYPM to develop mobile business applications will also ensure application security, timely updates, and effective application management.

2022 is Coming: 8 Mobile App Development Trends to Look For

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This blog post will examine the 2022 forecast for mobile application development, including the trends and opportunities mobile software developers and engineers need to know.

The global mobile application market is hot, and it’s on track to sizzle for years to come. According to Statista, global revenue from mobile apps is expected to reach $613 billion by 2025, up from $318 billion in 2020. With this growth comes plenty of opportunities for mobile software developers and engineers to supercharge their apps and deliver a best-in-class experience for their users.

As the end of 2021 draws near, it’s time to look forward and plan for the year ahead. This blog post will examine the 2022 forecast for mobile application development, including the trends and opportunities mobile software developers and engineers need to know.

Why is it important to look into the future?

Software development teams play a key role in driving revenue for their companies. Apps that meet a unique need, are innovative in meeting that need, and provide a high-quality user experience will see the highest levels of user retention. In other words, the more users, the more revenue.

To make sure your app ticks these boxes, you need to understand the latest trends in technology, user behavior, and the market – including how those trends are evolving. The better you can convert these trends into software features and enhancements, the more your app’s user base – and your business – will grow.

2022 mobile app development trends

2022 is the year that previously fringe technologies will become more mainstream—5G, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, and augmented reality (AR)/virtual reality (VR) will all see increased adoption to meet the demands of the modern consumer. People’s lives are also becoming increasingly digital, and this extends to how and where they shop, how they get their information, and how they communicate. We break down these trends and more below.

5G

While not yet mainstream, the adoption of 5G is increasing and is on track to become the new standard for mobile technology. According to Statista, the global 5G technology market is forecast to hit $620.72 billion by 2030. With user-friendly benefits like increased performance speed, fast data transfer, and lower latency, the time for your mobile app to support 5G connections is now.

IoT and Cloud

Internet of things (IoT) technology and mobile-connected smart objects have been around for years, but the market is growing and IoT spending is projected to reach $1.1 trillion by 2023, according to Statista. The biggest driver behind cloud and IoT adoption is security, an increasing concern for businesses. With over $120 billion spent on IT security in 2019 worldwide, it’s easy to see why companies are looking for other solutions. IoT and the cloud offer other benefits, including reduced operational costs, improved efficiency, and increased connections to other platforms via APIs.

AI and Machine Learning

In the quest to deliver personalized user experiences for mobile apps, AI that uses predictive analytics and machine learning algorithms will be the key technologies to incorporate. AI is essential for navigation, speech recognition, and natural language processing (NLP). Behavioral algorithms can also enhance security by analyzing user behaviors and detecting fraud, suspicious activities, and potential information breaches.

Mobile Commerce

As more shoppers prefer to buy online, more retailers are building native apps or progressive web apps (PWAs) to provide a better shopping experience. Unlike e-commerce, mobile commerce (or m-commerce) involves online purchases via a mobile app and not a mobile web page. The mobile commerce market is expected to be worth around $22 billion by 2022, likely because many B2B and B2C companies have seen an increase in engagement, conversion rates, and revenue growth after building a PWA for their business.

PWAs and Instant Apps

PWAs are becoming more popular because they fill in the gaps left by most native apps and web pages. Benefits like reduced dependency on internet connections, faster loading times, automatic updates, and faster development times make PWAs a popular choice for both consumers and companies.

Similarly, instant apps are gaining popularity because they allow users to test the app before downloading and installing it. While it might seem that preferring a more lightweight app experience would make users more fickle, it appears the opposite is true: PWAs have a 36% higher conversion rate than native mobile apps, according to the Top 30 Progressive Web Apps report – and they often require different testing requirements.

Wearables

Statista projects there will be 1.1 billion connected wearable devices in 2022, with North America forecast to have around 700 wearables and the most 5G connections made using wearables. Wearables are another way to bring convenience to your users: the ability to receive notifications and messages on their smartwatch was the highest-ranking function of wearables for U.S. users (Statista). Within the wearable market, fitness tracking has seen a positive and upward trend in demand with the rise in health awareness of the general consumer population.

Beacon Technology

Beacons were introduced in 2013, but they are becoming more popular for mobile app development, particularly for retail businesses. For consumers, the benefits include real-time, location-specific deals and alerts and the convenience of mobile payments (an essential element of m-commerce). For businesses, beacons allow them to understand their customers’ shopping preferences and patterns and turn this data into a more personalized shopping experience.

AR/VR

The integration of AR/VR technology in mobile apps is still an emerging trend, but it’s important to watch. The global AR/VR market reached $12 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $160 billion by 2023 (Statista). As AR/VR technologies advance, they will drive a transformation of gaming, entertainment, travel, and live streaming mobile apps in particular. AR/VR technology is another way to interact with customers in a more personalized way: consumers can try on clothes, see how a new sofa would look in their living room, or visualize themselves on the beach vacation of their dreams.

Conclusion

With the COVID-19 further accelerating the trend for consumers to move much of their lives online, there is a new push to deliver more personalized experiences to every consumer. The mobile app development trends for 2022 reflect this digital transformation and focus on user satisfaction. Incorporating applicable trends into your mobile app’s feature roadmap will set you up for success into the new year and beyond.

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In light of the research results, as BAYPM, we would love to help you with your Digital Transformation journey, give us a shout and we’ll be sure to assist you as best as we can. Currently, we are working on a project to digitize manual processes within different locations. The client opted for an incremental implementation approach based on geographical locations and the needs of their different factories.

What Can You Build With Low-Code?

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If you’re here, you’ve probably heard about “low-code” before. If you haven’t, low-code is a software development approach that abstracts and automates application development steps to reduce complexity and accelerate development speed.

As the pressure on IT to deliver more and faster increases, many organizations are turning to low-code development to surpass the barriers imposed by the developer shortage and traditional development tools (you can read more about the pros of low-code in Top 5 Benefits of Low-Code). But, what can you really build with low-code? And what are its limits? 

Low-Code Use Cases

In its Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms (LCAP), Gartner identifies LCAP as a technology that addresses essentially five use cases:

  • Support a citizen development strategy
  • Deliver business unit IT apps
  • Build enterprise IT business process apps
  • Develop fusion team-developed composite applications
  • Build SaaS and ISV applications.

What our experience has taught us is that pure low-code platforms might be okay for building a form on top of a database or putting together a simple web or mobile app, but for more complex use cases, pure low-code tools fall short. For that reason, and based on our customers’ feedback over the last two decades, we’ve been evolving our platform to ensure it meets enterprise requirements and needs.

That said, next, I’ll review the use cases proposed by Gartner and share our vision on what you can deliver with low-code and when you should consider a more complete, modern application development platform like OutSystems.

Can Low-Code Support a Citizen Development Strategy?

Many low-code tools have no-code features embedded to allow citizen developers (non-professional developers with little to no app dev experience) to build simple, B2E applications almost exclusively using prebuilt templates, connectors, APIs, and logic.

So, does low-code support a citizen development strategy? Yes, it does. However, keep in mind that in its pure, drag-and-drop format, citizen development exclusively sponsored by no-code capabilities may lead to a scenario of shadow IT, where you end up with separate business applications that IT is not aware of and has no governance over them. Another problem is that you can end up with a proliferation of applications, many of which might be duplicates, that can slow performance or drive up cloud costs. Without this control, a violation of the organization’s requirements for control, documentation, security, and reliability is a possibility. You can also end up with app sprawl that is difficult, if not impossible, to rein in.     

How Is a Modern Application Platform Different?

A modern application development platform also provides the visual, model-based development features associated with low-code. The difference is the apps you build with a modern application platform like OutSystems are not the simple ones churned out by someone who wants to put a form on top of a spreadsheet or create a vacation approval app. Instead, with OutSystems, you deliver powerful enterprise apps and app portfolios that run your business and what make you unique. 

With OutSystems governance and impact analysis capabilities, for example, IT knows what every application developed with the platform does. Plus, if IT wants to work on top of the apps created by business users, OutSystems provides the necessary tools to unite IT and business to expand the project.

Can Low-Code Deliver Web and Mobile Business Unit Apps?

In the Speed of Change report, the majority of IT leaders inquired said it took their development teams 3-6 months to deliver an application. That’s a lifetime, and even more so in the COVID-19 era. The biggest value proposition of low-code is the development speed it provides. With low-code, development teams can build new web and mobile apps that involve data, business logic, and external services, such as SaaS services, in less than three months.

The problem comes when you need to deliver a second or third version of that app. Pure low-code tools help you build a prototype or version 1 of an app really fast, but when you need to make a change to meet customer feedback, or integrate to another system that has just popped up, they don’t offer an easy path. Think of it like running a marathon: if you start your run sprinting, you won’t have enough energy to finish the race. The same goes with pure low-code tools: to give you the speed to deliver apps super fast, they tend to sacrifice app quality.

How Is a Modern Application Platform Different?

A modern app development platform goes beyond low-code to give you the capabilities to build apps not only fast, but also right and for the future. Besides a low-code development approach and AI-assisted development, the OutSystems platform also provides services and security checks to ensure scalability, governance, protection from threats, and compliance.

In addition to that, its AI capabilities also find and solve issues early, eliminating design errors and duplication of effort and identifying anything that needs to be corrected or optimized. Unlike low-code tools, OutSystems was designed to help manage change and future-proof your apps. OutSystems platform services, AI, and visual tools enable the continuous introduction of features and capabilities. This way, developers can evolve apps every bit as quickly as the business changes and new technologies are introduced.

Can Low-Code Build Enterprise IT Business Process Applications?

Low-code gives organizations the capabilities needed to access, use, and share back-end data, logic, and processes, and thus the ability to automate and change business processes, workflows, and case management applications. In fact, many low-code vendors featured in LCAP Magic Quadrant were originally traditional BPM software vendors that reinvented themselves. 

So, with low-code you can indeed build business process applications but, for some platforms, if you need to integrate those apps to other systems on-premise, you’ll need to do a lot of hand-coding. Plus, pure low-code tools fail at building more complex, enterprise-grade apps because you don’t have access to a full architecture view nor an easy way to debug them. 

How Is a Modern Application Platform Different?

OutSystems allows you to design and manage your business processes and integrate them into your applications using its Business Process Technology methodology. In addition to that, OutSystems provides Architecture Dashboard and TrueChange to check and identify any architecture errors.

The Architecture Dashboard allows developers and architects to visualize complex cross-portfolio architectures and identify and fix problems while following best practices and avoiding common pitfalls. The TrueChange engine, on the other hand, combines the power of automation, AI and analytics checks for architecture errors and dependencies to provide team and architecture governance and monitor the performance in real-time.

Can Low-Code Develop Fusion Team-Developed Composite Applications?

Fusion teams are multidisciplinary teams that bring together business and IT to collaborate on cross-functional projects. Visual tools like low-code play a crucial role in promoting this collaboration, as it allows business people with no coding experience to tap into their subject matter expertise and create the application workflows they need. 

But to maximize the power of fusion teams, the technology used should not only expand the capabilities of business people but also ensure that the apps created by non-developers follow the standard architectures and frameworks so that experienced developers can adjust and extend them without any re-architecting. Pure low-code tools, because they focus solely on simplifying the complexity of app development, lack this key part of the equation.

How Is a Modern Application Platform Different?

Modern application platforms like OutSystems give your fusion teams the simplicity of low-code development but integrated in a full-stack application development platform. This way, OutSystems gives developers the ability to extend applications that were started by non-developers with the expressiveness and flexibility of traditional coding. 

To learn more about the capabilities a platform should have to make the most out of your fusion team, take a look at 4 Capabilities App Dev Platforms Need for Whole-Team Cross-Functional Collaboration.

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In light of the research results, as BAYPM, we would love to help you with your Digital Transformation journey, give us a shout and we’ll be sure to assist you as best as we can. Currently, we are working on a project to digitize manual processes within different locations. The client opted for an incremental implementation approach based on geographical locations and the needs of their different factories.

The Low-Code Market in 2021

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Based on the latest data, the low code market is estimated to reach a value of $ 187 billion by 2030 (increased to $ 10.3 billion in 2019).
The reason for this growth lies in the increasing pressure of IT to add value to the business – accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and deadlocks – and the limitations of traditional development that hinder developer productivity and increase backlog jobs. Low code development with its visual approach to coding can enable your existing development teams to build high-quality multi-experience applications faster (if you’re looking for the benefits of low code, we have a full article on this topic).
Unfortunately, hot technology attracts a wide variety of vendors and posers. While it may seem tempting to have lower-code platform options, a closer look reveals that many of these products offer solutions that don’t really meet the needs of corporate businesses or developers, just like Visual Basic did not exist a few decades ago.

Clarifying the Low-Code Market Size

In the latest Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low Code Application Platforms (LCAP), Gartner defines LCAP as:

“An application platform that supports rapid application development, deployment, execution, and management using declarative, high-level programming abstractions such as model-driven and metadata-driven programming languages ​​and single-step deployments.”

Based on this definition, the low code market includes platforms that support the development of enterprise applications that run on multiple platforms and devices, connect to data sources, and meet business needs. To be included in Gartner’s view of the low code market, providers must also meet a variety of technical requirements, including:

Demonstrating a go-to-market strategy for its LCAP for cross-sectoral application development,

Providing a minimum set of application platform capabilities,

Ensuring fast application development,

To provide an enterprise-level LCAP for enterprise-class projects.

As the market continues to grow and new providers join the race, Gartner adjusts these criteria every year, and some vendors even move into different categories such as case management. We fully expect to see additional changes in 2021 as Gartner continues to focus on the feature and functionality packs customers can expect from a low-code app platform and whether this suite can truly address all use cases for the organization.

An Alternative Perspective on the Low-Code Market

If you are considering a low-code platform to digitize internal business processes, replace legacy applications, or create new customer experiences that include mobile, chat, and bots, it can help to understand the low-code environment based on its legacy.

This may seem like a strange way of thinking about development platform vendors, but it turns out, it’s very important. Let’s take a look at the three categories of low code and why they exist.

Niche Tools

Niche tools focus on a specific application development problem. For example:

A better way to capture and store data

A simpler way to describe business processes

An easier way to create a mobile frontend

These tools are used almost exclusively to meet a single business need. It includes business process management (BPM), case management, and no-code technology. As long as scalability is not a requirement, you can use them to build simple applications really fast.

Ecosystem Tools

Players of this category are often large software application vendors whose motivation to call themselves low-code is to provide a way to create more value in cloud ecosystems. These solutions are basically niche platforms as they are developed to solve a specific business need as well as general application development (e.g. database applications, web tools, GUI front ends to CLI backend systems).

Purpose-Oriented Application Platforms

These are platforms designed from the very beginning to handle custom application development using a low-code approach. Vendors in this category tend to keep up with market needs and trends and include new features for future-proof customer journeys such as progressive web apps and chatbots. Purpose application platforms focus on delivering fit-for-purpose applications with a consistent user experience.

These platforms are not purely pure low-code tools such as niche or ecosystem. They include a low-code framework and tools for multi-experience development, but they also have some capabilities for automation, integration, impact reporting, and one-click deployment.

Why Is Purposeful Creation Not Enough?

The problem with purpose-built application platforms is that inevitably there comes a time when solutions created with them must evolve in a direction that the platform does not support. It’s as if you need your content management system to start offering point-of-sale functionality with order menus and payments. Maybe you can add some plugins and get something that works, if not elegant. However, what happens the next time you need something out of the box? Or the time after that?

At this point, organizations using application platforms for this purpose are forced to layer over another tool to bridge the gap, resort to manual coding, or seek other ways to integrate newly coded systems with existing systems. The benefits of low code are lost very quickly.

We see this often. Many of our clients came to OutSystems after hitting this wall with another platform, and this can happen very quickly. The reasons are varied, but we hear things like:

“Yes, our current platform supports online mobile app development… but we also need it to create apps that work offline. It doesn’t.”

And…

“We are not able to integrate with our identity management system.”

Question: Why can’t more solutions get organizations over this wall effectively?

Answer: Because it’s hard to build a development platform that meets the actual needs of customers. Customers don’t just need better, more efficient development tools; they need an entire platform that improves the full application lifecycle in the same way that low-code improves the development experience. A modern application platform, not flash-in-the-pan tactics, can make sure that IT teams never hit a wall.

Solving Purpose-Built Problems with a Modern Application Platform

Almost every day we hear from organizations that are victims of digital disruption – cite retail (Sears, Toys ”R” Us), Mobile Device (Blackberry), and taxi industry references. To avoid this, not only do business and IT strategies need to be in lockdown, but IT needs to be able to deliver solutions that accelerate business demands. Imagine that the business minds behind Uber will be told a two-year wait for their mobile apps.

Development speed is the biggest opportunity for low code platforms. Instead, most of the time, even low-code, IT is constrained by:

  • Big backlogs
  • Not enough budget or skilled resources
  • Development complexity
  • Systems that are often outdated by the time they’re released.

Addressing these issues requires a modern application platform that offers low-code for the visual development of all layers of an application, including user interfaces, integration, data models, business logic, and workflow for any device, and proprietary code of an application. This looks like a purpose-built app platform, right? The difference is that with a modern application platform it is possible to:

  • Package mobile apps for the app stores in one click.
  • Manage the full application lifecycle with automated dependency impact analysis, application portfolio governance and refactoring, and debugging to ensure deployments don’t break.
  • Handle complex mobile requirements like ultra-responsive user experience, offline data, on-device business logic, and sensor integration.
  • Scale to support high volumes of users and transactions.
  • Deliver superior user experience through continuous delivery and deployment.
  • Meet demanding security requirements.
  • Adopt a multi-persona app dev strategy, taking full advantage of the governed business and IT collaboration.

Take the credit rating company FICO, for example. They had a two-year development project that failed. In just six months with half the team, they rewrote and delivered a brand new origination system and got to market three times faster using the OutSystems modern application platform.

To learn more about the variety of low-code platforms, I invite you to download a complementary copy of Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms, 2020

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In light of the research results, as BAYPM, we would love to help you with your Digital Transformation journey, give us a shout and we’ll be sure to assist you as best as we can. Currently, we are working on a project to digitize manual processes within different locations. The client opted for an incremental implementation approach based on geographical locations and the needs of their different factories.