Discover 6 benefits of low-code RAD

Aug 12, 2021
  • SAP

Building a new software application for your company? Back in the day, you’d need an army of IT wizards, a big budget and a lot of time on your hands to make it happen. Nowadays, building your own application is easy and, most importantly, cost and time efficient. Welcome to the wonderful world of low-code rapid application development (RAD).

Twenty years ago, building a website required in-depth knowledge of HTML, CSS, JavaScript and other programming languages. If you also needed a content management system (CMS) or other system integrations, the development process could take weeks or even months. Today, you can build an online platform fast and with a tight budget without compromising on quality.  

During the COVID-19 pandemic, RAD has helped and is helping business owners to get their web shops up and running in no time. “This development has extended to application development for businesses as well,” says Matts Devriendt, Rapid Application Development solution lead at delaware. “Next to a plethora of smartphone apps at everybody’s fingertips, there are already numerous software applications businesses use to manage HR and finance or to monitor process automation, for example.”

The growing popularity of low-code applications offers the perfect opportunity to take a closer look at the benefits of RAD. 

1. No need for programming knowledge

Using the newest RAD technology, companies can build their own websites without hiring experts. “Basically, a low-code platform is comparable to a bin of Lego bricks in all shapes and sizes with which you can build your desired application – all without being an IT wizard,” clarifies Matts.

“Thanks to RAD’s accessibility and user friendliness, any employee can start building an application with minimal technical knowledge. Mendix is popular with our SAP customers because its AI capabilities are able to recommend next steps to business developers. In this way, the developer learns how to build applications through the platform in real time.”

2. Accelerated delivery

According to a study conducted by SAP and Forrester, RAD can speed up the lead time of application development by almost 85%. Matts offers an example: “During the first COVID-19 lockdown in Belgium, we built an application that company employees can use to reserve a chair, desk or conference room in our offices – enabling us to ensure proper social distancing. Using RAD, the development process took only three weeks. Ten years ago, it would have been impossible to complete a project like this on such short notice. Even more, we wouldn’t have had the flexibility required to keep up with the constantly changing rules and measures.”

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3. Centralization of tools

Rapid application development also centralizes all tools and apps on one central platform. “Many companies struggle to keep track of all the applications, SaaS and spreadsheets employees use to manage their tasks. The IT department is often understaffed or has no specific budget to cater to all technical issues, leading employees to search for third-party solutions – potentially opening the door to major security risks.”

With Mendix and Power Apps, applications are built and collected on the same central platform. Not only does this provide users with a detailed overview, it also reduces security risks, a strategy known as ‘keeping  the core clean’. Moreover, Mendix guarantees full transparency, enabling the IT department to review all the development happening on the RAD platform.

With Mendix on top of the SAP Cloud Platform, users can integrate SAP data into their applications as well. This ensures user friendliness, safety and excellent performance. It is a full package, because the SAP Cloud Platform also allows access to innovative services like RPA and machine learning. 

4. Democratization and innovation

RAD democratizes the application development process and encourages innovation and entrepreneurship among employees. One of the effects of this democratization is that companies can now build apps they wouldn’t have started on a few years ago because of time and budget constraints.

“For example, one of our clients built an application for its board of directors,” says Matts. “When taking into account the required effort and budget, creating an application for such a select group of users would not have made sense a couple of years ago. But with a low-code platform, development takes significantly less time. On top of that, you can run the app on every operation system; Apple (iOS), Windows and Android.” 

5. Result-oriented collaboration with the IT department

While RAD gives some technical freedom to employees, the role of the IT department is still crucial. “An RAD platform gives access to a no-code environment, which allows employees to combine and connect building blocks to create business applications. However, in-depth support or linking the SAP ERP system to the project still require some IT expertise. An IT employee can operate in a professional low-code environment as well. Because both the no-code and low-code environments are synchronized, it is easy to correct any mistakes in either one of them and enabling comprehensive monitoring by professionals. In this way, the IT department functions as a flexible sparring partner while the business has access to new tools and knowledge. They are in the driving seat for governance, and provide the guard rails for citizen developers.”

6. Covering the application management lifecycle

Mendix and Power Apps help non-IT users build enterprise applications in a standardized way while also covering every aspect of the application management lifecycle. The latter includes cataloguing all requirements and collecting user stories, dividing the work into two-week sprints, putting the app into production and collecting end-user feedback. After processing the feedback, the cycle starts over again. “By covering this agile process, RAD seamlessly closes the gap between IT and business,” Matts concludes.

Curious to discover what low-code RAD can mean for your business? Get in touch with our team to explore your opportunities.

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