Go against the Tide

Posted on: February 27, 2017 by Kees Kranenburg

You probably know Bob Dylan's song "The times they are changing". For IT it is absolutely true. For a long time packaged-based solutions were preferred above bespoke development. A "SAP, unless" policy was the doctrine for many CIO's. But this is changing. Today, a number of organizations are following an opposite policy to create competitiveness by preferring bespoke development using low code platforms.

Initially, it started with application development of their customer-facing applications, e.g., web-based and mobile. For this, a dedicated development platform was selected. But facing the results in time-to-market and facing the extreme high productivity of software development, more and more applications were re-built and replaced by native cloud app development applying a DevOps way-of-working supported by a low code platform.

There are even examples of rebuilding legacy applications instead of re-platforming them. For some of these legacy applications a selection of a standard package would be obvious. Nevertheless, the organization chooses to re-build it. Are these CIO’s out of their mind? No, they all act on a positive business case. These organizations improved their agility and competitiveness and increased the customer satisfaction and their revenue.

One example to clarify: Atos Australia rebuilt its Assets Management & Planning System using a low code platform. Among others, the system is used by the Royal Navies of Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Oman. Battleships are dependent of the system, it is mission-critical.

A core team of 10 – 12 ramping up to 14 – 15 employees rebuilt the system in big sprints across Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia. The system counts 1,800 software objects, 750 database tables, 600 web pages covering 1,600 user stories. PC, Tablet and Smart Phone interface all from one code base. In terms of software metrics: a rebuild of approx. 10,000 function points at a productivity rate of 5 – 6 times more productive compared to Java or .NET software development.

This example and some others underline the changing policy regarding the predilection of packaged-based solutions. For the systems of record a packaged-based solution is still preferred, but it is implemented as-is of-the-shelf, no customization. In addition, the systems of differentiation and the systems of innovation are developed and deployed using a low code platform. As said, times are changing; this is the new policy.

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About Kees Kranenburg

Portfolio manager Application Transformation
Kees Kranenburg is Portfolio manager Application Transformation. His field of play is software development and application management and the organization, processes, methods and tools necessary to professionalize and industrialize them. He advises organizations regarding their application development and management strategy and their sourcing strategy.

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