Low Code but High Impact – Sunday Business Post (Special Report)

Here are the latest insights from TEKenable CTO Peter Rose, who was interviewed by Sunday Business Post for his expert opinion on Hybrid & Multi-cloud, published on 10th November, 2019. The special report is reproduced below (click here for online report)

The cloud revolution is about more than just data storage or using pre-built tools to crunch numbers. Combining the power of cloud platforms with a smarter approach to software development can help businesses deliver better services to customers.

Welcome to the world of ‘low code’ and ‘no code’.

No doubt about it: development has tended to be slow and error-prone.

“Traditional software development involved writing thousands of lines of code, each one potentially containing a logical error,” said Peter Rose, technical director of TEKenable.

Obviously, this resulted in drawn-out development processes requiring extensive testing. It often locked businesses into solutions that were unable to effectively grow over time. The answer? An entirely new approach to development.

Low code uses an application building platform to rapidly build solutions using graphical tools with fewer logical errors and more business analysis-type skills”

Peter Rose, TEKenable CTO

An outgrowth of traditional rapid application development (RAD) environments, TEKenable delivers low code and no code solutions on top of Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 and Power platform. The idea is to develop the kinds of applications that are useful to business – and to do so with the minimum fuss.

“It’s about rocking up to the screen saying: ‘I want a data capture screen and I want database fields and the ability to analyse,” said Rose.

Peter Rose, Technical Director at TEKenable

It is an entirely unfamiliar concept: RAD tools date back to the 1980s with the likes of Apple’s Hyper- Card and, later, Microsoft Visual Basic. It was also the key selling point for Steve Jobs’s NeXT Computer, which lives on in MacOS and iOS today: NeXT’s object-oriented envi- ronment did away with en- tire swathes of tedious and error-prone coding.

Rose explained that what differs today is the ability to deliver business-focused apps, including in the cloud, that are suitable for genuine enterprise use.

“It’s a maturing of the kinds of tools people have been using for some time. Traditional RAD tools were never intended to develop enterprise-grade applications that could support thousands of users and have the business continuity implications that that has,” he said.

Feeling the Impact

TEKenable’s work has not gone unnoticed. Founded 17 years ago, the company is still growing fast enough to register in the Deloitte Fast 50 awards – quite an achievement for a mature business, as the Fast 50 measures growth alone. Of course, this also means that the company’s worth is measured in an objective manner.

Deloitte also awarded TEKenable the Impact award at the Fast 50, noting the effect the company’s work is having on the real world.

Unsurprisingly, Rose is able to list an impressive roster of projects. “We transformed the traditional electoral process through the delivery of on- line voter registration to the electoral roll, contributed to the health and wellbeing of Dublin through the management of HGVs, enhanced food quality and supply through the provision of rapid-quality feedback down the milk supply chain, [and] delivered four national systems for the management of physical and mental disabilities in adults and children, management systems for drug and other addiction services with all of these supporting five-year strategic health service planning and delivery.

“We [also] helped to manage the safety of medicines prescribing through improved national oversight processes, implemented an equine digital passport scheme which will help ensure rapid cross-border transit for horses even under a no-deal Brexit ensuring their health and wellbeing, we provided pro bono consulting for start-ups and we made over 200 micro-loans to persons and businesses in third-world countries.”

Beyond the Clouds

One major benefit that TEKenable is able to deliver is a software layer that can straddle essential, but antiquated, bespoke apps. One client, a financial services company, found itself with heavily siloed data in rock-solid but ancient batch processing systems. “What they’ve found is that they have a bunch of applications that don’t allow them to work across departments,” said Rose.

“We’re putting in Dynamics as a layer above those legacy apps, which allows them to work together. Over time what they’ll do, you can imagine, is move up those layers and so the Dynamics system will get thicker,” he said. The result is better internal communication and the ability to deliver coherent offerings to customers of different sections.

For many customers, delivery is via Microsoft Azure on a software-as-a-service basis, but this is far from the only option, said Rose. “You can do both public and private cloud, or run it on your own private infrastructure,” he said.

TEKenable is not a simple start-up, though, and while Rose thinks low code is the future, it is not the “one true path”. As a result, TEKenable can break out of the cloud platforms if clients require it.

For 17 years, we’ve been developing bespoke software development solutions. The platforms all have limitations in terms of what they can do. What we can do is, when you reach the edge, we can slide seamlessly into delivering bespoke code.”

Peter Rose, Technical Director at TEKenable

This means that TEKenable is never hamstrung by development tools and can deliver ultimate flexibility to its clients.

‘“We can integrate legacy systems, we can create cross-cutting workloads across organisations, we can use artificial intelligence and machine learning and we can deliver internet of things systems,” he said.

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