In our 2020 state of application development survey, 21 percent of 2,200 IT professionals said they were changing faster than their competition, and 19 percent and 21 percent said they could deliver mobile and web apps, respectively, in 1-2 months or less. How do they do it? According to our Speed of Change report, they use modern application development technology that drives a customer focus and increases their speed. But before you rush off and invest in an application development platform that promises speed, there are some things to consider to ensure you invest wisely.
Ready to develop an application at high speed? Not so fast!
Consider everything involved with hand-coding an app, scaling it, and changing not long after it is released. Describing the development process would increase the length of this post to War and Peace proportions. And my figurative hat goes off to all the designers, developers, and architects who spend as much as 12 months doing this. But what if it’s a virtual care app that has to go live in a month?
That kind of timeframe is most likely out of reach for traditional development. Fortunately, finding a platform to accelerate development is easy. The buzz about low-code and no-code has reached a fever pitch in the last few years. To be honest, I fully expect my mother to announce she’s releasing Audrey’s No-Code Kitchen next month.
Mom’s imaginary platform aside, these solutions generally live up to the rapid development hype. Most enable all kinds of users—from someone in finance to a seasoned software engineer—to create a working application fast. So, with so much to choose from, how does your organization select one? If the goal is simply speed, this question can be difficult to answer. However, if you consider everything you want your app to do, such as perform as expected, scale, and connect to data and other systems, the decision gets easier.
Developing apps right: Accept no compromises
Many platforms built for quickly developing enterprise and mobile applications come with a tradeoff. Sure, they’re ready in no time and work as expected for a small group or a test drive. But, when it’s time to scale, integrate with existing systems, or perform under extreme conditions like a mobile banking app on Black Friday, it’s another story. The application could collapse under the weight of functional and non-functional requirements. In that scenario, the time saved by developing fast is negated as everyone scrambles to rectify the situation.
Does making security and architectural soundness central to any application, especially with digital, workplace, and healthcare transformation in high demand, mean giving up the gains made by building fast? No. There are platforms that include AI technology and automation that help IT leaders visualize and govern complex cross-portfolio architectures. They can identify issues early in the development lifecycle, thereby speeding development and avoiding technical debt. Additional automation adds layers of security so that you can deploy mobile apps that are more resistant to intrusion, tampering, and reverse engineering.
So, with the right platform, it’s possible to develop sound, quality applications much faster. But what happens when what you developed needs updating or if the underlying technology needs changing?
No future shock: Addressing ever-changing software requirements
No one can predict the future. When I was a child, I was told the future would mean traveling in outer space, not cyberspace. That said, it’s virtually impossible to release a quality application and never change it again. Its adoption and use over time will inspire changes and updates. For example, a virtual care app could need an upgrade to include a Q and A bot.
It is at this point that almost every platform in the low-code space has to drop out of the race. They are just not equipped for the future. Most are ad hoc, requiring a lot of work that should be automated, and have steep learning curves and a protracted time to value. Not only do they not make allowances for the fact that applications need to morph over time, but they also do not acknowledge that technology is also fluid. Just look at what has happened in tech in the last 10 years—serverless computing, microservices, Kubernetes, and the list goes on.
If a platform does not enable developers to change an app or adjust to new technology as fast as it was developed, it cannot offer the speed needed in this new digital world defined by the pandemic. Delivering an application in two weeks that then takes months to change is not fast development.
What you need to do is look for a platform that automates dependency impact analysis and debugging, makes it easy to change mobile apps and package them for the app stores in one click, and automatically adjusts to allow for new technology. It should continuously check for hundreds of typical change points and remove the guesswork and repetition from development and delivery.
Accelerate every aspect of application development
In your quest for fast development, you need an application platform that dramatically accelerates the development process for enterprise-class applications while also delivering unprecedented levels of flexibility. Look for a platform that enables you to speed through backlogs, release quality applications, and then swiftly adapt your applications in lockstep with the evolving needs of your business while keeping pace with emerging trends in technology.