How are you Addressing the hidden cost of low code?

Author: Neil Ward-Dutton, MWD Advisors.

Low-code application development platforms can offer beleaguered teams huge benefits in terms of development velocity. However true application delivery agility – and through that, business agility – only comes when teams can optimise the whole delivery process. Few low-code application development platforms really work in ways that make that broader optimisation easy.

The low-code application development promise – fulfilled by K2 (and other vendors and products, too) – is about speed and agility. It’s simple: when you write less application code, you make faster progress.

The promise is enabled by tools that do the ‘heavy lifting’ of application development for you. They abstract away all the messy implementation details associated with low-level system interactions, as well as providing high-level specification tools specialised for building functionality that’s commonly required within particular domains. So, when you work with products from K2 and other similar vendors, you use high-level, graphical ‘model-driven’ specification tools that give you powerful shortcuts to developing workflow management functionality, task interaction forms and other application user interface elements, business data management functionality, reports and dashboards, and so on.

The tradeoff that comes when you use low-code application development platforms like these is that the code that does the ‘heavy lifting’ to deliver working application functionality behind the scenes is, by design, hidden from you. Some generate all the low-level code necessary to run applications standalone, and others provide high-level specifications that are interpreted by a proprietary application server at runtime; however all low-code application development platforms are in essence proprietary.

As the promise of low-code application development becomes more widely realised and organisations deliver more applications with speed and agility, so the applications they’re used to create are becoming more sophisticated, numerous and business-critical. It’s natural, in these cases, for organisations to make application quality assurance a high priority. What’s more, broader ‘DevOps’-related application delivery trends like continuous integration/continuous delivery – driven by cheap and flexible cloud infrastructure – depend on the ability to rapidly test and re-test application functionality.

When it comes to low-code application development platforms like the K2 platform, though, the most widely-established general-purpose software QA toolsets and approaches have limited applicability. This is the challenge that PowerToolz aims to address.

Low-code application development platforms can offer huge benefits in terms of development velocity. However true application delivery agility– and through that, business agility – only comes when teams can optimise the whole delivery process. Few low-code application development platforms really work in ways that make that broader optimisation easy.

jeylabs’ PowerToolz offers a suite of integrated automated testing and administration tools designed specifically for the K2 low-code application development platform, and through that, addresses the broader delivery agility challenge for K2 customers. All the core test automation bases are covered, and offered at a compelling price point. What’s particularly noteworthy is that by using the K2 application repository itself to store and manage testing artefacts alongside K2 application artefacts, PowerToolz delivers a number of significant quality management benefits that will help teams work with K2 quickly and effectively at scale.

You can download and evaluate the software from the PowerToolz website at https://powertoolz.com.au.

3 Tips for Successful Digital Transformation

This Pandemic has forced all of us to adopt digital technology at a much faster rate than anyone could have ever imagined. In this post, we share some tips from our decades of experience helping people and businesses go digital.

Tip 1 : Digitize Data at the Port of Entry

Digital Business Transformation can be achieved more effectively when it is applied at the point of information arrival.

The idea behind this is to attack the problem at the root to eliminate the need to address it at various places after the fact.

When data arrives at your door steps in the forms of paper or email or in million other data formats, make sure you have a way to capture it all and push it into the organisation digitally.

It is a lot easier and cost effective getting the initial input in the right digital format. Deploying scanners, OCR, Voice to text and many other advanced cloud services including AI is available as an option. Use them all.

Tip 2: Actively Manage your Sources of Truth

Digital Transformation projects often concentrate on delivering applications. These Apps tend to redefine selected business processes. As part of the effort some key company data will get organised into databases and directories. These Sources of Truth are get created, consolidated and used but as soon as the project is completed they rarely get maintained.

It is absolutely important that these sources are actively managed to ensure the success of your Digital business Transformation.

When using Microsoft Active Directory or the Azure Active Directory as the source for approval hierarchies, contact information and org structure, the process applications works effectively as long as the data is accurate. However, over time, the user data becomes stale. The Directory does not maintain itself.

Inactive users, disabled users, people that are no longer working for the company still having user accounts left undeleted in the Directory can cause many issues. They could open up opportunities for security vulnerabilities to be exploited.

Licensing costs based on Directory account count can cost you more when accounts are not maintained accurately. One of the annoying and unproductive side effect is incorrect workflow routing and process errors.

There are simple and easy ways available to achieve a clean source of Truth.

Tip 3: Get rid of paper in all of its forms

This is easier said than done. But it has to happen. Paper use needs to stop every where. Digital transformation requires cultural change. If you have a workforce that is addicted to paper, you will need to address it for the technology transformation to have a chance to succeed.

Education is key to effect any Change. Your workforce needs to understand why and how this digital initiative is going to make them successful in the long term.

Leading by example is a must for changing deeply embedded behaviours. Recruit some strong supporters at every level of your organisation and leverage these people to help the rest of the team members and encourage the masses follow their lead.

Distribute easy to use devices like tablets to all staff. Give them access to Apps that provide information in an easy to consume format.  Support them with incentives to accelerate the adoption of a paperless workstyle.

Periodically run electronic surveys and seek feedback. Use this information to adjust your program delivery.

If you need help with your business transformation don’t hesitate to contact us for a friendly chat. transform@jeylabs.com

How best to utilise digital signatures in your business?

Quite often business documents require input and sign off from multiple people. If your business is large then you will routinely require many people across multiple departments to review, agree and sign off on quite a few documents.

By implementing digital signatures, your business can improve the speed and efficiency it takes to sign off on day to day business approvals.

Given the sensitive nature of the information often found on the documents that require legally binding signatures, it is critical that you employ encryption to protect these documents. You don’t want this information to fall in the wrong hands. Nobody wants to have plain data exposed in breach events like the solarwinds saga.

If we take the example of a new staff member joining your business, depending on your company’s operating procedures, there will be many steps in getting them productive on day one.

This is due to the various steps required to get them setup properly on systems, giving them access to devices, completing appropriate safety briefings and onboarding training.

All these require forms to be filled (address, contact details, banking details, next of kin data, medical information, etc), reviewed, approved and sometimes physically signed off and even witnessed.

It is not surprising that, even for consultants and highly paid contractors to take weeks to become productive at large organisations. In a tough economy, no business can afford to wait long for new staff to become productive.

By automating business processes using a workflow management system or a secure cloud esignature solution such as Melbourne based GetSignature, your business can 10X your new staff productivity.

By removing paper based sign offs, the relevant supervisors can easily approve any part of this process with a single click, whether they’re working from a remote location or on a mobile device.

Digital signatures can accelerate the entire process and make it a lot simpler for you to provide the right things for the new worker on their first day. First impressions last forever.

GetSignature’s digital signing is legally binding and reduces delays. It will enable your line managers to review information, sign and even witness as part of an integrated workflow.

Using GetSignature you can automatically keep a comprehensive audit trail of which request was approved, by whom, and when. This increases visibility & compliance. It also helps reduce fraud.

Annual leave, sick leave, expense claims, performance reviews and even employee off boarding processes can be fully digitised using GetSignature. You can also integrate GetSignature with Nintex, K2, UiPath, Microsoft and many other systems using our APIs.

GetSignature also has obligation management features that allows you to effectively deliver signed contracts.

Check out GetSignature today. We are an Australian business hosted in various regions around the globe.