Skip to main content

3 Reasons the IT Department Will Fall for App Platforms

Marcelo Andrieu, Technical Product Marketing Manager
September 11, 2018

Democratization is a common theme when we talk about application development platforms. The technology uses a visual, low-code interface so that anybody can create an app. In many cases, businesses using Appian get so comfortable with the platform that they create and roll out apps within a day. The concept is simple: Low code eliminates the programming headache, the platform manages integration and APIs, business process management work is handled in the back end and it's so easy to change apps over time that teams can roll out an app to solve a specific problem and add more to it later.

These factors make app platforms ideal for business and tech users alike. On the operational side, teams don't have to sit back waiting until IT has bandwidth to write new code. Instead, they can solve their own problems and gain key functionality as problems emerge. For IT teams, they get fewer custom development projects on their plates because the platform offloads some of that work on to non-tech users.

"With app platforms, business users can solve their own problems and gain key functionality as problems emerge."

While being rescued from basic programming tasks is nice, it isn't the only thing that will make IT teams fall in love with the possibilities created by application development platforms. Instead, the technology is aimed at solving many longstanding problems that IT has had to deal with, simplifying operations and bringing together diverse functions under a single service umbrella. Three aspects of app platforms that are particularly notable for the IT team are:

1. Simplified Mobility

Developing apps for mobile devices is a thorn in the heel of many an IT team. Every time a developer creates an app, the code must be adjusted and released to fit within the confines of a different mobile operating system, device form factor or security environment. Even with responsive design for websites and web apps, performance can suffer greatly when porting the solution over to non-native environments.

When it comes to important enterprise apps, be they internal systems or customer-facing solutions, IT teams often have to do the grunt work of customizing apps for the different mobile environments they'll reside on, writing large swaths of code, testing the programming and releasing a variety of iterations across different server environments. It's a time-consuming process filled with repetitive manual tasks. App platforms are a game-changer.

For practical purposes, the platform hosts the app. As such, you don't have to program an app to be native for iOS, native for Android or native for Windows (if you have a legacy mobile app or are focused on tablet users). Instead, the platform is already built with native functionality and will automatically configure the app you create for the specific OS it will reside on. This makes it much easier to create an app for use across all mobile ecosystems without the need for manual code adjustments or releases across multiple environments. Simply make the app live in the platform and the cloud system does the work. Furthermore, Appian offers real-time testing built into the platform, ensuring you don't have to perform time-consuming iterative code assessments and can simply tweak problematic issues as they arise.

2. Streamlined Updates and Scaling

Manually managing an app environment is among the more tedious and time-consuming tasks IT teams can take on. In a traditional setup, apps may reside across a variety of different servers and virtual machines, each configured to support a specific location, variant of the app for a specific operating system or iteration of the solution. You may keep one user group leveraging version 1.2 of an app because those individuals use an operating system that isn't vulnerable to a certain threat, while the rest of your users are up to version 1.3. This kind of variety creates complexity and operational overhead.

"Appian offers real-time testing built into the platform, ensuring you don't have to perform time-consuming iterative code assessments."

All of this is dealt with in a platform environment because you no longer have to manage each version or iteration of an app as a separate entity. If you make an update, you simply tell the platform which versions of the apps to change and it does the work for you. If you want to scale for more users, simply give the platform access to more resources. You don't have to alter the code for the app itself.

Because so many update and scaling processes are handled seamlessly in the platform, IT teams are freed from numerous manual processes and can focus on more nuanced programming tasks and projects, giving them new opportunities to create value for your business.

3. Strengthened Governance and Security

In today's cloud-driven digital world, IT teams are used to having to rely on vendors to keep their data safe. Service level agreements create clear parameters for which party is responsible for various tasks, but the reality is that businesses are ultimately responsible for protecting customer data. If a vendor tells you your data is secure in its cloud, an SLA needs to protect you from any legal or reputation-related damages that may come from a data breach.

The point of this foray into vendor relationships isn't to highlight how complex the cloud is, but to emphasize how important it is to be able to trust the vendors you work with and take control of the security elements you are responsible. Appian works to make this process easier. We have a security and compliance program that we have audited by third parties on a regular basis, ensuring we are maintaining the standards our customers need to protect their data. Our app platform is also specifically built to provide robust security controls, with key features including:

    • Governance and permissions modules that allow IT teams to manage user authorization policies and enforce authentication best practices.

    • Built-in security capabilities, including encryption, to offer robust protection in any setting, including mobile environments.

    • Automated audit trails and data logs that track processes and make it easier to both prevent user error and minimize the impact of any mistakes that may lead to vulnerabilities.

App platforms are transformative on a variety of levels, and low-code conversations tend to focus on the business user. However, IT teams are critical in digital transformation processes, and Appian is empowering IT to keep up with the rapid pace of change happening all around them.