January 10, 2017

Enabling a Pace Layered Application Strategy

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

Creating the ideal enterprise innovation infrastructure

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

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

What is a Pace Layered Application Strategy?

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

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

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

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

How to implement a Pace Layered strategy for your enterprise

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


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

  The moderately frequent pace of change

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

Systems of Innovation

  • The very frequent pace of change
  • An ambiguous and dynamic process
  • 6 months - 3-year life span
  • Investment as an expense
  • Suited to Mode 2 of Bimodal IT


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


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