Are you stuck in a queue with IT delaying the start of your digitization projects?
Do you ever wish you could tweak your apps yourself to fit your needs?
Do you want to avoid customization time and costs?
Are you afraid to commit to a software app that might be obsolete in three years?
If you said YES to any of these, continue reading to learn why technology advancements in software platforms should be part of your considerations when evaluating a mobile maintenance app for SAP PM.
What is a software platform and why should you care?
Let’s start with some background. A software application platform is the foundation for the software apps that you use. This base provides tools needed to successfully create/modify, deploy, and maintain the software applications. It also supports the integration of applications with backend systems such as a software app that needs to exchange data with a core system, like SAP.
Ready-made apps come available on a software platform, and IT Developers can buy platforms to create software apps from scratch. The recent trend is towards low-code and no-code platforms to address the issues we’ve mentioned above.
84% of enterprises have turned toward low-code for its ability to reduce strain on IT resources, increase speed-to-market,
and involve the business in digital asset development. Forrester
Here’s where YOU come in…
- You want to avoid delays to start your project until IT can get to you,
- You want to execute fast,
- You want your software apps to work the way you expect,
- And you want to be more responsive to changing needs over time.
To achieve these goals, you need to reconsider your role in the collaboration process with IT to select and adapt new software applications for your operations teams. And this process includes the type of software application platform. In doing so, you can implement and see results faster and with greater flexibility to address future requirements.
Why IT Loves Low-code
IT developers are incredible in what they do, but there aren’t enough developers to handle every task that an enterprise company needs. When Forrester asked Enterprise IT managers what challenges impede or significantly impedes their ability to deliver on digital transformation goals, their top 3 answers were:
- 74% Inability to deliver as quickly as the business needs
- 65% Lack of technology skills or knowledge
- 63% Business process redesign
For these reasons, the advent of low-code and no-code development platforms has seen rapid adoption in the last few years. These platforms have base-level code, scripts, and integrations so developers and non-developers can prototype, build, or modify applications quickly. They preserve the skilled software developer’s time for more complex tasks and innovations.
- 70% of new applications developed by enterprises will use low-code or no-code technologies (up from less than 25% in 2020) and
- 75% of large enterprises will be using at least four low-code development tools for both IT application development and citizen development initiatives.
These new platforms are essential because they take the strain off the IT team, reduce the backlog of projects, and accelerate the development process. Joe McKendrick for ZDnet talked with developers to understand some of the benefits of a low-code approach, their top responses were:
- Making innovation easier
- Making prototyping easier
- Taking the drudgery out of programming
So yes, IT loves low-code application platforms.
What’s the Difference Between Low-code, No-code, or Code-free Platforms?
Within the low-code platform trend, there are different types of platforms that vary in level of ease-of-use, and the degree to which they can reduce coding requirements. In general terms low-code tools facilitate work for IT developers and at the other end of the spectrum, no-code tools support software development without any coding knowledge. Let’s expand on the difference.
A low-code development platform is designed to assist software developers to quickly create an application. The platform provides a graphical user interface instead of the traditional hand-coded computer programming screens. There are common workflow templates, plugins and APIs allowing the developer to simply assemble an application from pre-coded pieces then add code where necessary.
Low-code helps IT to do more projects in less time with their current staff including those with limited coding knowledge.
No-code platforms differ from low-code in that they cater specifically to non-technical business users. It is like using LEGO bricks. You can build something complex from ready-to-use pieces. The platform includes easy-to-use, drag-and-drop components that are named intuitively and based on common logic such as a conditional if-then statement. These tools also have templates for workflows, element libraries and pre-built connectors to external systems to accelerate the app creation from start to finish without a single line of code. For example, consider if you want to add a safety checklist as a process step in your workflow. You can simply drag the “list” template from your element library and drop it into the workflow on your screen. The WYSIWYG editor allows you to see the app as you build it before publishing it.
Whether you use the platform yourself, or collaborate with IT, a no-code platform allows you to be an active participant in creating workflows that truly fit your needs. And it saves everyone the time and the frustration to tailor process steps at this phase vs. going back later to adjust the app once it is deployed.
Code-free, Codeless etc.
Don’t get confused by the miscellaneous terms and naming you might see in the market. In many cases, these platforms can be the same as no-code, but also some vendors may use alternative terms to represent limited toolsets to modify specific parts of an application. So be cautious when you see these words. The industry as a whole is starting to focus primarily on two terms: Low code and No code.
Additional Considerations in Choice of Platform
The platform considerations go far beyond the toolsets to create or modify a workflow. There are several other aspects to evaluate that can impact your flexibility, user adoption, security, and ongoing costs.
App integration tools:
Besides considering the user-interface aspects to building an app, integration tools are part of the considerations in software platforms. Many low-code and no-code platforms include plugins for common integrations with backend systems like SAP. But SAP is challenging, and generally, these standard integrations still require knowledge of SAP codes and won’t cover the range of data required for complex applications such as managing maintenance notifications and work orders. IT developers specialized in SAP integration are typically needed to complete an application and to make future modifications. This can offset the speed, flexibility, and low-cost benefits of using low-code and no-code platforms.
In addition to the need for coding, standard SAP integrations that are either pre-built into the platform toolset or those utilized by IT SAP specialists may not be able to provide the application performance you need for maintenance technicians. The general integrations pass too much information resulting in slow speeds and transfer errors. Consider applications with specialized integrations for SAP PM or other modules you use most. This is especially important for high volumes of users and data as you would see with a mobile maintenance app.
Operating system languages:
Mobile apps bring their own set of considerations when it comes to the choice of software platform. Android and Apple iOS are distinctive operating systems, and the most intuitive apps will be designed with the conventions and usability aspects for each. Most low-code software platforms are designed to deliver a wide range of applications. As such, they will likely create an application that will adapt itself responsively to different formats from desktop to mobile. The result is generally a less intuitive and harder to navigate mobile app relative to a platform designed to create specifically “native” Android or Apple apps. Learn more about the usability, performance, and security benefits of native apps for maintenance mobile experiences.
Regardless of platform or software application choice, security is a key consideration. And although low-code and no-code platforms have only become popular in the last few years, many meet today’s enterprise security requirements.
“Low-code platforms can meet the highest enterprise requirements. Firms with the lowest tolerance for downtime and data loss, as well as the strongest requirements for continuous auditing and independent security certification, are the most likely to run top applications on low-code. Their endorsement of low-code proves that enterprise-ready low-code solutions are already available in the market.” Forrester
Look for software/platform vendors that follow Secure-Software Development Life-Cycle (S-SDLC) best practices and demonstrate this commitment through proof of compliance to industry standards such as ISO 27001 and SAP integration certification.
Certainly, cloud is not a new consideration, so this is just a reminder that software application platforms need to be easy-to-deploy and low-cost to maintain within your IT and SAP infrastructure. Claus Jepsen, CTO for Unit 4 highlights the opportunities afforded by cloud applications today:
“Back in the day, everybody had best-of-breed solutions, but they had to fight with all of the integrations. Then came the mega-suites -- the ERP applications (like SAP) intended to alleviate some of that integration pain. But now, as we are moving more and more into a cloud setting with all these cloud best-of-breed solutions coming, customers are getting more interested in how to pick the best solutions that they can [seamlessly] plug into their ecosystem. A keyword here is seamlessly, so [it] needs to be easier to deal with. The difference is that in the cloud, it becomes the vendor's problem to get all these bits and pieces to run.”
Cloud deployments are well recognized for rapid implementation and scaling across company sites, reducing company IT resources, and low cost to maintain over time. From the business team’s perspective, cloud complements the rapid implementation and agility of low-code and no-code platforms and enables the selection of best-of-breed mobile maintenance apps.
A New Era in Software Flexibility
You need to consider more than app functionality when digitizing your processes or upgrading an existing mobile solution. The platform is a key part of the decision criteria for apps that you bring into your SAP EAM infrastructure. Most major software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers have started to incorporate low-code and no-code technologies in their offerings. The implication as Gartner points out here is that you now share in these decisions.
The rise in low-code has also prompted changes to the makeup of traditional IT buyers. Gartner research found that, on average, 41% of employees outside of IT customize or build data or technology solutions. The research firm predicts that half of all new low-code clients will come from business buyers that are outside the IT organization by year-end 2025.
And the reasons for this is clear. Low-code and no-code platforms enable faster execution, lower costs, and flexibility unlike anything you’ve seen before. The results include realizing the benefits of digitization sooner for a quick ROI while being future-proof with the agility to make changes at any time.
Sigga SaaS EAM Software on a No-code Platform
Here at Sigga, we have fully embraced the trends we’ve been exploring here with the development of our EAM Empower solution. This solution brings our proven Mobile EAM application delivered on a no-code platform for the ultimate flexibility and simplicity to modify the application or even add new workflows.
Because of our specialized focus on mobile maintenance apps for SAP EAM, we are the only no-code platform with over 200 pre-built SAP PM services. This means, you can complete an app modification, select the SAP PM data set you need, and deploy. You can completely avoid the costs and delays to bring-in SAP developer specialists. In addition, our SAP integration technology is specially designed to deliver high-performance with a high volume of data and mobile users.
We are an SAP-certified global software company with 20 years of experience in helping large companies optimize SAP with our innovative solutions and attentive support. We invest hundreds of thousands of hours annually in research & development to ensure the highest quality user experiences and ease of implementation of our EAM software. As a result, some of the world’s largest companies across over 14 industries trust Sigga to improve the efficiency of their operations with SAP.
See how Sigga EAM Empower can deliver business results, fast.