ATS Applied Tech Systems is a company of Dutch origin, which specializes in industrial automation, with offices in 25 countries. The company mainly...
Future-proof IT: distant dream or tangible reality?
The saying “Change is the only constant” by the Greek philosopher Heraclitus seems to be more relevant today than it was in the ancient times. Companies are confronted with a wave of technological developments and potential disruptions and must embrace change and innovation to remain relevant. Future-proof IT solutions may be the answer, but do they already exist? I predict that low-code will play a prominent role in this.
Legacy IT remains a bottleneck which keeps many companies from real change and innovation. Software, which was considered progressive at the time of purchase, has now become an obstacle. Furthermore, it is not only software which has this effect.
Corporate culture, internal and external processes, and even the company premises may have a major impact on an organization’s capacity for innovation. I know this from personal experience- when we moved with my company to a new building of our own, the first in our 17 years. When I officially cut the ribbon during the opening ceremony together with Jeroen Joon, alderman of the Municipality of Apeldoorn, I realized that this building was much more than just another location. It really was the beginning of a new phase in the history of our organization, in which we would build our future with a new perspective, full of energy and with a clean slate. It has been my dream for many years that business IT solutions would much better support companies in their growth and relieve them from the restraining effects of technological ‘debt’ and ingrained processes. Companies today need future-proof IT; a technological foundation that can adapt to technological developments and their business requirements.
Go Digital, Stay Human
In addition to the well-known retrospective of a past and future overview of our company, we also received an inspiring presentation from Christian Kromme, futurist and author of the book ‘Go Digital, Stay Human’. During the search for a cure for his terminally ill daughter, he discovered that there are seven unique wave patterns in the development of cells and biological organisms. These appear to be applicable not only to disruptive technological trends, but also to all kinds of organizational structures within companies and society as a whole. According to Christian we should embrace this philosophy to discover the innovative DNA of an organization and subsequently work on a meaningful future.
I think this is how future-proof business software should also work. To begin with, it should seamlessly integrate with the DNA of your organization, with all its unique processes, information needs and functional requirements. At the same time, the software must also remain flexible in order to be able to respond to technological developments and organizational changes. This appears to be virtually impossible with traditional software packages or standard SaaS products. A solution may meet its requirements after the initial configuration, but making any changes afterwards becomes just as complex as tinkering with customized software.
Low-code software offers a better foundation for future-proof IT, because it allows you to develop and configure software with much more flexibility and without (too much) programming. More and more companies seem to realize that low-code is the future. According to Gartner, there are now more than 200 low-code platforms on the market and a recent report by Forrester entitled ‘Low-Code Development Platforms For AD&D Professionals’ from Q1 2019, shows that 23 percent of the global developers worked with low-code platforms in 2018. Another 22 percent indicated that they intended to start working with low-code within the next year.
The interest in low-code platforms is increasing rapidly, and this is good news. However, many of the available solutions allow you to develop business applications at lightning speed, but subsequent changes remain extremely labor-intensive. The software of many of these low-code platforms resembles a structure of drag-and-drop blocks of functionality which all need to be modified individually when there are changes.
This problem is solved using low-code platforms with a model-driven approach. In this approach, the operation, functionality and processes of the software are established using graphical models. The result is a sort of digital blueprint which reflects the organization and how it functions. This low-code foundation can always be easily modified whenever necessary, as the modifications are automatically applied to all applications and screens. For this reason, I believe that low-code model-driven software is the ideal foundation for an organization to realize a future-proof IT platform. It is a technological foundation which will enable you to really do justice to the DNA of your organization and to build for the future without limitations.