New application strategy? 4 reasons you should be thinking beyond buy vs. build

Men looking at computerIf your organization was a plane, would your pilots (employees) be well-equipped to best serve passengers (customers)? And how can you deliver the tailored, cockpit-like user experiences and content in context that each employee needs, while minding time and budget constraints?

We tackled these questions and much more in last week’s webinar featuring Clay Richardson, principal analyst with Forrester Research: Think Beyond Build vs. Buy to Empower Employees and Customers.

In the session, Richardson brought light to recent findings from a Forrester Consulting Study commissioned by Hyland: To Be Brilliant in the Moment, Think Beyond Buy Versus Build: Rapid Application Development Platforms Offer a Faster, Easier Alternative. The study discusses top IT challenges, application creation strategies and the benefits of a low-code, rapid application development (RAD) platform.

Here are some of my top takeaways:

  1. The number of applications employees use regularly is staggering – and buying off-the-shelf or developing via custom code contributes to this sprawl

Organizations are using hundreds to thousands of applications and tools to support daily tasks and customer-facing interactions. In fact, according to the Forrester study, 45 percent of companies use 100 or more business apps on at least a weekly basis – and more than a third of those use 1,000 or more!

These run the gamut from custom-coded applications to point solutions purchased for a specific department or process. Add to that disconnected productivity tools like email, database apps, shared drives and spreadsheets – and the problem is only magnified.

Employees have to switch between these sprawling applications just to find the information they need to make effective decisions, provide service and resolve issues. This creates barriers to end user productivity and challenges for the IT department responsible for supporting, maintaining and governing all these disjointed applications. 

  1. Low-code platforms can minimize these challenges for both business and IT

During the session, Richardson highlighted top challenges that survey respondents specified as a result of sprawling IT environments. For the business, these include a lack of real-time information updates, inefficient tools for collaboration and poor visibility into employee workloads. For IT, challenges include a lack of integration of data and content across disparate systems, data quality across apps, and governance and security gaps.

Low-code, RAD platforms tackle this challenge on both ends – empowering organizations to meet evolving needs for applications while providing a framework that improves governance and minimizes IT sprawl.

Beyond point-and-click configurability, effective platforms equip IT with enterprise integrations, a central database and content repository, flexibility and a single system to protect and secure. For the business, RAD platforms equate to faster, better solutions to business needs, central access to complete information in real time and improved visibility across departments, employees and processes.

  1. It’s not mainstream yet – but early adopters of low-code platforms are reaping the benefits

While only 12 percent of respondents are currently thinking beyond build-versus-buy and configuring on a low-code platform, early adopters are seeing big results.

The top benefit, according to the Forrester survey respondents who have adopted these platforms, is faster rollout of applications – which directly aligns with the top-ranked priority for enterprise architects: the ability to get users up and running quickly. Other top benefits for respondents include better integration across different systems of record and the ability to free up development staff to work on other projects and systems.

  1. Content is king – and low-code platforms help IT help protect the crown

When it comes to looking at the feature requirements for any business application, Richardson emphasized an increased demand for embedded content – especially within customer-facing, collaboration and service apps. Regardless of whether employees are fulfilling a customer request, resolving an incident or just providing personalized service, they need access to documents, data and other rich media – in context and at the right time.

According to the Forrester Study, IT teams that are leveraging low-code platforms find it much easier to embed rich media content into business applications than their “build” and “buy” counterparts.

Want to know more? Check out the recorded webinar on-demand to learn more about the value of RAD platforms and explore additional trends and stats from the Forrester study.

Amanda Ulery

Amanda Ulery

In her more than five (wonderful) years at Hyland, creator of OnBase, Amanda Ulery has taken on the mission of sharing the business value of OnBase with anyone who will listen. A proud member of the product marketing team, she has a background in integrated marketing, the stubborn focus (and eye for detail) of an ex-journalist and the goal of helping the world realize how OnBase can truly transform the way we work.

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