Written by Sean Allen, Product Marketing Director, OutSystems
Today we are at an inflection point – IT budgets are generally rising and opportunities to innovate are increasing – but capitalising on this can be impossible. The challenge is building a disruptive culture to embrace this, now. The digital/mobile economy is booming and CIOs are getting left behind while they tend to maintenance, “the way they’ve always done it”. How do they change the ending of this movie we’ve all seen so many times before? Can they deliver fresh apps faster while still maintaining control? What tools, technologies and techniques can they leverage to help them innovate cost effectively?
One area CIOs should be taking a serious look at is Rapid Application Delivery (RAD) platforms. RAD done well is positively disruptive and is changing the way organisations are delivering enterprise apps. When I talk about RAD, I don’t mean the Rapid Application Development tools that got a black eye many years ago, I mean the more modern solutions that have completely reimagined the approach. This cleanly envisioned RAD is all about end-to-end rapid delivery and is changing the way development and operations work, helping to make IT teams more innovative, responsive and agile in delivering applications to the business significantly faster. Because, in the end, it really is about putting engaging apps into users hands, not simply writing them.
The whole approach has been fundamentally reimagined to not only make the technology work better, but also to handle more of the overall process. Advancing great aspects of ‘old’ RAD like speed, productivity, rapid prototyping, and turning more people into effective developers while ditching ugly side-effects like vendor and/or platform lock-in, limited app scope or complexity, and lack of modularity or solid programming principles.
So…“reimagined”, a fun word – but what do I mean? Simply put, it is starting over (as in zero based thinking) and figuring out how to solve for the ultimate goal – quickly delivering proper apps that can be effortlessly updated, meeting user expectations and demands. If you were to write that out as an equation, one side would be the different piece parts that organisations are trying to bind together with bailing wire, duct tape, and sweat – but the solution would be RAD.
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Fundamentally it’s a low- or no-code approach to application development and delivery. It’s a platform that allows you to develop apps in the abstract, while handling the lower-level technology required to build these apps properly. This abstraction creates stability and enables your organisation to pursue projects in a way that will still matter in 12 months. This new RAD approach allows the organisation to create future-proofed apps – with ‘code’ that stands the test of time, even as development frameworks, UI frameworks, programming languages, target devices, and a litany of other variables change. It empowers you to create apps anywhere in your organisation, to manage them centrally and to deploy and change them as and when users require.
Today’s RAD also marries the streamlined approach to development with an ability to manage the entire application lifecycle – from creation, through deployment, onto management, and back again with required changes. It allows you to codify the feedback loop so that developers can attract user feedback easily and better understand overall user experience itself. As a result, developers are able to easily get accurate requirements, up front, along with fast iteration cycles to make sure the user experience is positive.
The beauty of a reimagined RAD is it really looks holistically at the innovation problem as opposed to old-school RAD which really only attempted to solve the problem of fast development – and didn’t do that all that well. This fresh approach addresses the entire lifecycle of an app, future proofing your efforts and ensures that user experience and feedback are constantly part of the development loop. Perhaps now you can better appreciate how RAD is disrupting the market, why it is different from what most developers think of RAD, and why organisations should consider investing in RAD today to help them to become a highly innovative, agile business, able to cope with the ever increasing demands put on IT.