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Futureproof your business with lasting agility

By Contributor
Fri 18 Dec 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Article by OutSystems regional vice president for A/NZ Paul Arthur.

In today’s fast-paced environment, across industries, organisations are continually looking at ways to improve their transformation initiatives as well as stay agile and relevant to meet customers’ expectations. 

The changing market conditions have forced enterprises to seek new opportunities and reevaluate business and operating models. Enterprises increasingly rely on their investments in technology to address these changing business imperatives and to deliver smart solutions that offer lasting agility.

Digital innovation has always been a key to staying relevant and ahead of the pack. Enterprise developers are pushed to the brink, straining resources against business expectations and time constraints. They are overwhelmed by demand for digitisation, and under pressure to realise concepts faster, all while keeping a keen eye on the overall cost. It can be a tricky balancing act.

Confronting problems

The latest infobrief by IDC stated that by 2024, 75% of the Forbes G2000 firms will be high-performance, large-scale producers of software-powered innovation. This is fueled by new market realities, increasingly demanding customers, and the ever-present threat of digital disruption, extending beyond speeding software development cycles. Now, software needs to deliver lasting business value.

Across the A/NZ region, 59% of organisations cite the unity of business and DevOps as their primary business software challenge. Security comes in closely behind as a significant factor, followed by the need to find, train and keep talent.

Enterprises face a whole new set of challenges — they need to adapt to market changes on a dime, and rapidly hire and train employees, and they need to modernise legacy systems to remain competitive. 

For most companies, companies must build their innovative applications around and on top of legacy systems. In addition to the pressures brought on by the inability to keep pace, customers have been demanding highly personalised products and services, creating additional pressures on organisations to extend and adapt their existing systems rapidly.

Cracking the code

This then calls for a need to employ visual, model-based development platforms to survive and thrive in the current landscape. Organisations all over the world are increasingly relying on low-code development tools. 

IDC’s survey found that 47% of APAC enterprise leaders rely on various model-driven development tools, with 39% of them depending on visually guided development tools and 29% of them planning to adopt low-code tools.

These platforms give organisations a way to develop software applications quickly, with minimal hand-coding. Using visual modelling to assemble applications enables developers to build new applications in order of magnitude while boosting scalability, consistency, security, and most importantly, agility.

These new approaches help developers solve their organisations’ challenges with unprecedented speed, while empowering non-developers to create prototypes and collaborate with IT to build complex software.

Visual development platforms also create bridges between legacy and modern applications, in some instances replacing legacy systems entirely. The use of intuitive drag-and-drop mechanisms also provides a more simple development process, which enables end-users to be more involved in the development of applications.

Going the distance

When asked about their reasons for adopting low-code and other visually guided tools, 46% of organisations shared that these tools ‘are the future’, with 43% agreeing that it simplifies the developer experience. A further 42% believe that tools make for a more intuitive developer experience. 

However, low-code by itself is not enough to make an organisation truly agile. They require a platform that speeds every step of the Dev-Sec-Ops process — from design, development, architectural analysis, testing, deployment to monitoring. 

Even then, the platform needs to be optimised so that once an application has been deployed, it is easy for rapid modifications to take place — whether those changes are driven by strategy changes, government regulations, economic shift or by something as dramatic as a global pandemic. 

Looking at 2022 and beyond, a significant percentage of organisations in the region believe that cloud-native application development will be the overriding focus. To ensure agility is embedded, these companies need to understand:

  • Security is the watchword: As development cycles continue to shorten, enterprises should take care to integrate security into planning phases if they want to proceed apace and stay ahead of change
  • Innovation first: Innovative customer experiences fuel the creation of new markets and new audiences. The incorporation of customer feedback will also introduce new ideas on new platforms
  • Plan for hiring crunch: start recruitment planning early, build apps for upskilling and continuous education, and ensure that developers work closely with IT to address development shortfalls.
The time to innovate is now

2020 has indeed brought in a shift in the way enterprises and tech leaders are reviewing their state of digital transformation. It’s clear that in three to five years, every enterprise is going to have to be a digital innovation factory just to compete. 

Whether the objective is to modernise older systems, streamline processes, or respond to new market conditions by bringing new services to market faster, visual development platforms are an enabler for organisations looking to become more agile.

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