The speed of execution is key to the delivery of great digital experiences – crucial when introducing new disruptive products, engaging customers across different channels, and adapting to changing priorities. But, how can your company operate faster when you need ever-growing and ever-changing applications, and user expectations are constantly rising?
Keeping pace with the demand for new apps
Most businesses are struggling to keep pace with the demand for new apps. Not only do these apps have to be ready in days or weeks, but they also have to deliver the experience your users expect. Digital experiences span a wide range of interactions people have with an organization, and must address specific business priorities effectively and intuitively through a variety of channels.
Adopting an agile development methodology certainly helps to accelerate the innovation process and incorporate feedback. However, to fully address the need for speed and an enhanced digital experience, you also want tools that make it possible for a broader set of stakeholders to participate in the development process. Diversifying your development talent pools to include business analysts and end-users is essential, as delivering successful applications requires a close collaboration across the organization and a clear understanding of end-users’ needs and patterns of utilization.
With the right choice of tool sets, not only core developers but also low code developers and citizen developers can help make a serious dent in your application backlog.
“No code” and “Low code” development tools emphasize declarative and visual development over traditional coding. While developer expertise is required for complex applications that interface and connect many disparate systems and data sources, business people with some understanding of business applications can use low code tools to develop applications with a minimum amount of hand-coding and training. “No code” tools take it a step further and help less technical individuals develop point solutions on their own.
SAP Cloud Platform for agile and collaborative application development
At SAP we continue innovating on development tools to speed up application creation and we are significantly expanding the toolset we deliver to our customers on SAP Cloud Platform. We are excited to share some news from SAP TechEd. To start, we provide a rich set of solutions for experienced software developers, such as SAP Cloud Platform Web IDE and SAP Cloud Platform Mobile Services.
Take the example of agribusiness retailing giant Ruralco Holdings Ltd. For many years, the company has used SAP software to run every aspect of its business and most recently it has partnered with SAP to develop an enterprise-wide mobility strategy. The first step in Ruralco’s new journey was to equip stocktakers with mobile devices so that they could be more productive and avoid common pencil/paper mistakes. To do so, the company developed a SAP Fiori Cloud app on SAP Cloud Platform for reading bar-coded stock tags. To ensure the new applications would deliver the desired user experience, developers and business stakeholders used SAP Build to prototype the application and test its user interface. Once the team was satisfied with the prototype, the code generated by SAP Build was imported into SAP Web IDE that developers used to complete application development. As Ruralco’s CEO Tom Hansen puts it “Without SAP Cloud Platform it would hardly be possible to develop new apps like this to stay current with the needs of the business.”
While Web IDE is a powerful web-based integrated development tool that simplifies end-to-end application development, we also provide a full-featured mobile app development platform that allows you to quickly create and operate mobile apps using a variety of toolsets for varying developer skill sets. One component, the SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS, enables SAP’s vast community of designers, developers, partners and customers to quickly build their own enterprise-class mobile apps for iOS with an intuitive, consumer-grade user experience.
While we have long served professional developers with excellent tools, we now also offer tools that help you expand your developer talent pool and accelerating the delivery of applications and make a significant difference for your business. Low code development tools minimize hand-coding and offer easier, more intuitive ways to build apps. A model-driven approach uses visual models for defining data models, application and process logic, and user interfaces. This empowers both professional developers and business users to build apps much faster than hand-coding.
Here is a better look at our development tools for developers of all skillsets.
One low code product, SAP Cloud Platform Rapid Application Development by Mendix provides visual modeling and pre-built components to empower more users across your organization to participate in the development process. It enables you to seamlessly manage the full application lifecycle, improving your development productivity and fostering continuous innovation. Specifically, you can use SAP Rapid Application Development to easily extend SAP Systems – such as SuccessFactors and S/4HANA in your new applications. You can then deploy your innovations on SAP Cloud Platform with just one click. (learn more in this blog.)
As part of the Mobile Services mentioned above, we have announced a new mobile development kit as a plug in to Web IDE, which is fully aligned with our SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS and app roadmap. This is the next step in our approach to transform mobile development by reusing building blocks. Through a metadata-driven approach, it allows you to customize select native SAP apps like SAP Asset Manager and create new native mobile apps. It’s a great way to adapt and tailor apps to new use cases and users without completely rewriting the app and it can work seamlessly with code created in XCODE. Because it translates business decision logic into a natural language, users can change the behavior of existing applications by editing the rules that are expressed in natural language.(learn more in this blog.)
To mobilize simple apps as micro apps or “cards” without coding, you can choose another tool in the Mobile Services arsenal – our mobile card kit. You can easily create “wallet-style” micro apps that display as a stack of customized cards unique to a user. Authorized users can add content from an SAP Fiori Launchpad or any other web application to a card that is then saved in a Wallet-style screen. In this way, you provide an optimized mobile digital experience to individual users quickly and easily. (learn more in this blog.)
Looking even further in to the future, we are excited to be working on development tools for Citizen Developers. For more info on citizen developer tools, you can meet us at the “Engage” booth at SAP TechEd in Las Vegas and stay tuned for more innovation in the coming months.
Finally, we also have enhancements to our SAP Cloud Portal product announced at SAP TechEd. Today we announced new partnerships with leading vendors in the document and web content management industry: Egnyte and Built.io. These two partners provide deep integration with document management and web content management solutions, enabling the creation of even more powerful business portal sites. (learn more in this blog.)
From the details I’ve shared above, I’m sure you can see that our goal is to help you build enterprise applications and mobile apps using a wide variety of tools and approaches, within our integrated family of tools on SAP Cloud Platofrm. In future blogs, we will provide some simple guidance on common scenarios on when to use certain tools. If you want to learn more about these tools and our entire offering on SAP Cloud Platform, join my colleagues and I for this session at SAP TechEd in Las Vegas.
DX116: Enabling Customer UX Strategies with Digital Experience Services
Business software is only successful if users can successfully use it. But what is the best way to connect your users with your SAP software? This session explains the key elements needed to provide the best user experience with SAP solutions. The scope ranges from classic desktop applications and SAP Fiori apps to native mobile apps (with mobile usage being especially important in digital transformation). Find out how you can enable browser, hybrid, and native usage with SAP Cloud Platform.
If you won’t be at SAP TechEd, you can watch this webinar on SAP’s development tools and digital experience solutions here.