The Reason Your Enterprise Still Isn’t Pumping Out Mission Critical “Killer Apps”

Bimodal IT is The Key to Internal & External Competitive Advantage
Bimodal IT was coined by Gartner in the following way:

Bimodal IT is the practice of managing two separate, coherent modes of IT delivery, one focused on stability and the other on agility. Mode 1 is traditional and sequential, emphasizing safety and accuracy. Mode 2 is exploratory and nonlinear, emphasizing agility and speed.

The sheer number of companies entering the low-code market is clearly demonstrating that Gartner hit a homerun with their prediction. The distinction between the two modes is becoming more relevant today than ever.

Organizations will always have mission critical systems that require methodical and thorough IT involvement. The problems that should be solved under Mode 1 are clear, having to do with the very core of a company’s business. The methodologies, while constantly evolving, are also quite familiar.

long delivery cycles limit the ability of the stakeholder to leverage the spirit of fast iteration, and dampens the effects of rapid innovation.

To really execute on Mode 2 and reap the benefits, however, proves a more nebulous challenge. The array of problems that could be solved with agile digital solutions is huge, and is constantly expanding as new technologies become available.

Today with powerful, data-connected mobile devices in the hands of every employee, mobile apps can really transform the way a business process is executed. There are naturally business critical “killer apps” that might well make sense to be developed under Mode 1, but it is clear that there are tens, even hundreds of apps that are waiting to be placed in the hands of eager employees to enhance their efficiency; or create a stronger service for customers. This number is growing at a rapid rate as digitialization progresses; as company data is liberated from silos via APIs, as IoT sensors collect more data, and as big data is analyzed to produce yet more actionable data. With all of these fronts advancing simultaneously, companies are seeing a departure from the days when building apps rapidly was a bonus, to a time when it’s absolutely necessary.

Focusing on enterprise mobile apps, then, the pains are known and the scope of individual projects is small enough to be a perfect fit for Mode 2 operation. However, it’s not enough to just strategically embrace bimodal IT. Companies are still faced with the reality that even small app projects are expensive and slow to develop. This long delivery cycle limits the ability of the stakeholder to leverage the spirit of fast iteration, and dampens the effects of rapid innovation.

Most companies end up either significantly limiting what’s possible, or ditching the business user altogether

The obvious solution is that someone other than IT develops these apps, and the logical choice is a party that holds the most stakes and has the business case at hand. Many players in the low-code / Rapid Mobile Application Development (RMAD) movement have embraced this idea, Google for example just launched Google App Maker, which lets business users build apps on top of data in their G Suite (i.e. Google Drive/Docs/Sheets). The verdict is in and the market says, ‘yes, we need a new generation of tools that lets stakeholders build their own solutions – as far removed from slow-moving IT as possible.’

The reality is that building a visual platform that lets the line-of-business user do everything that could be achievable by coding is a gargantuan task. Most companies end up either significantly limiting what’s possible, or ditching the business user altogether in exchange for a frustratingly abstracted developer experience.

Letting Everyone Do What They’re Best At

We believe there’s a third option, one that will allow companies to truly embrace and execute a bimodal IT strategy. To recap the problem, here’s what we know for sure:

  1. Line-of-Business users know their problems best, but are unable to produce solutions without heavy dependence on IT
  2. IT resources are always, and will always be limited, which hampers the potential of a high-speed iterative process.
  3. Though visual and low-code tools have progressed much over the years, there will always be points where coding or other IT involvement is required, no matter what.

Given these facts, the question becomes: what does a great environment and paradigm look like for excellent execution of Mode 2 IT in an organization?

Let’s scope down by considering only enterprise mobile apps. Creating excellent apps is hard. No matter who you are, creating an experience that works to effectively solve a problem takes an intimate understanding of the problem and an availability of robust tools to create the solution. Furthermore, it probably won’t go right the first time, so iteration is needed. Traditional, Mode 1 IT quickly becomes too slow and expensive, so many useful apps are simply left undone.

Standard iOS UI control paradigms.

Enabling a low-code rapid building environment with the Composer Platform

Tooling That Really Enables Bimodal IT: Mode 2

For the first time now, we’re seeing the rise of tools that enable those closest to the problems that need solving. If an organization is able to empower their Line-of-business people to come up with, create and deliver the solutions they themselves need, it’s a winning formula. Nobody has more motivation or insight into creating solutions that really work. Of course, this doesn’t mean a wild west of do-whatever-you-want-with-company-data – oversight is needed.

To successfully execute on the Mode 2 IT, a mobile app development platform needs just the right environment for the tech savvy line-of-business users to create their own solutions, while leaving app and data governance soundly in the hands of IT. This has been our focus in the development of AppGyver Composer.

The platform does a lot out of the box, but we realize that there will always come a point when you need to code something. The core tenet of our platform is to let IT tackle the tough, code-absolutely-needed challenges of creating data and system integrations, building company-branded UI components, constructing complex frontend and backend logic, and so on. AppGyver offers great, modern developer tools and APIs for this.

Standard iOS UI control paradigms.

A few of the-of-the-box modules that ship with AppGyver Composer.

The major paradigm shift here is to make it possible to then package these custom extensions into configurable, reusable components. Code once, reuse everywhere. Of course, this doesn’t mean departments won’t still have new requests as their competence in app building increases. But as they become more proficient and component libraries grow, the entire process begins to work like a well oiled machine.

Part of that ever-increasing efficiency depends on the growth of reusable libraries of useful components and functions. Our recently launched Marketplaces enable the public and private sharing of both. Just as WordPress brought complex functionality to the non-developer, we see a clear path to a time when the less-technical citizen developer can unleash the full potential of mobile simply by dragging and configuring.

Standard iOS UI control paradigms.

A themed, reusable component library can accelerate app building to an amazing degree.

Already, we’ve seen our customers beginning to build libraries for everything from branded UI to deep access to native device APIs. These tools are enabling our customers to innovate at a speed they’ve never been able to achieve; accelerating the speed of iteration and putting it directly into the hands of the primary stakeholders.

A Great Example From Our Customers

Check out the customer video below that highlights how global forklift manufacturer, Rocla is building rapid solutions that are transforming their business.

We’d love to have the chance to give you a walkthrough of how your company can start building apps more efficiently and begin to tackle your app backlogs.

Let us show you how AppGyver can help accelerate your mobile strategy

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Nathanael Montgomery

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San Francisco, CA