December 19, 2016

Bridging the IT - Business Gap with Low-Code Platforms

Low-code platforms are the key to providing businesses with the ease and speed of building apps they need with seamless integration between IT teams and business stakeholders.
When we talk about aligning IT with business, we basically describe a situation where information technology and its capabilities and scopes are used to the optimum limit in an organization to achieve business objectives and satisfy customer needs. This also involves getting the maximum return on investments made on IT in the organization.

But aligning IT and Business within an organization isn’t that easy. Business stakeholders and IT professionals often fail to bridge the gap due to differences in objectives, preferences, and methods. This rift generally results in expensive IT systems that do not provide an adequate return on investment. For this reason, the search for Business / IT Alignment is closely associated with attempts to improve the business value of IT investments.

From the Perspective of Business Stakeholders 

Dynamic Business Environment: In today's time Businesses operate in a very dynamic environment. This gives rise to the need for new changes and expectations from the application they use to automate various business functionalities. With old and traditional applications their requirements do not get translated through the apps that they use. These needs rapid customization and features that can be tweaked and changed with minimal IT intervention as and when the need arises,

Time to Market: Applications that are built using traditional methods are complex - there is a long process involved in creating it, using technical expertise and coding. The time taken is long and it often exceeds the requirement of business stakeholders. This results in a delay in the overall delivery of the service.

Shadow IT: The growing need for customized application development has given rise to Shadow IT and the emergence of citizen developers.  When a quick business need arises, people within the enterprise take control to build applications themselves with their know-how of IT. This is commonly known as “shadow IT” – applications built, installed, or rented outside of IT control. This is an impending threat to security and to IT departments in organizations across the globe.

From the Perspective of IT Stakeholders:

Keeping up with the pace of change: Today's business scenario is very dynamic. New innovations are increasing the demand for custom apps and enterprise applications that have the capability to meet the changing business needs of stakeholders. A lot of time, money, and resources are getting wasted in the process of changing applications as per customer needs. IT developers thus need to align their processes with the Business strategy to adapt to the changes and be able to deliver apps accordingly.

 Take back control: Due to the emergence of Shadow IT and Citizen Developers, IT departments in Organisation are realizing the need to take back control, tackle problems related to insecure apps being used, standardize IT policies,  process and this can be only done when IT aligns with modern business requirements.

Do away with Coding:  The need for code is perennial but many IT leaders are realizing that complex coding is simply not suited to meet business needs and deliver applications today. Application development should be user-friendly with less coding involved so that as business reviews development progress, stakeholders can easily make changes without impacting delivery timelines.

Drop Legacy Baggage:  A major chunk of the Organization’s IT budget and resources is spent in maintaining existing applications based on legacy technologies. Moreover, getting an application built on data from a gamut of these legacy technologies contributes to further delays in application delivery thus making business stakeholders unhappy.

  • Use technology that makes it easy and fast to make changes in applications to keep in pace with the changing business process and updates.
  • Engage Business people, like product managers, business analysts in building applications using simple low-code platforms thus encouraging the trend of Citizen Developers.
  • Build applications that are focused on business imperatives than IT prerogatives to let customers feel they are involved and they know what they are using.
  • Build apps that involve less coding, can be created with simple drag and drop features, and respond to a business need in a matter of days.

Focusing only on enhancing IT skills is not the solution to bridge the gap that exists between Business and IT. We need a platform that can make IT/business collaboration a reality by connecting and engaging all stakeholders: IT leaders, developers, business analysts, citizen developers, business owners, end-users, etc. This can be done through social collaboration and project management features, direct access to the application, end-user feedback mechanisms, etc.

Gone are the days when only highly skilled technology experts could build applications using complex languages and codes. Faced with the need for greater speed and simplicity, organizations now want product managers, analysts, and business development teams to get involved in the app development process.  IT should be imbibing platforms that allow the democratization of app development.
The world is changing and it is clear that traditional development tools and methods are becoming passe. It is important to find a platform that enables rapid, cost-effective, and iterative development of applications.

WaveMaker, Inc. proposes 2-pass development as a new app development methodology that can be used with a low-code platform to do away with all the application development challenges that were mentioned earlier and to optimize the entire app building experience.

2-pass development methodology, as it says, includes two development passes:

  • A Business Pass, driven by a team comprising of non-technical business developers who build their apps using a low-code platform like WaveMaker.  They build their apps visually by drag and dropping out-of-the-box UI components.  When there is a custom requirement for an app, they pass on the development for a “Technical Pass
  • A Technical Pass, driven by a team comprising of technical experts and developers writes the code and wraps them as visual components, that can be used by the Business Pass team to build apps.  

2-pass development methodology bridges the missing links brings in the much-needed standardization and process optimization into the app development using low-code platforms with citizen developers,  the business pass and the technical pass bring together IT and Business people who can now take active participation in the app development process in different phases.

Low-code platforms and easy-to-build apps are what will drive success for IT developers and business stakeholders in the days to come.