Buying a leading low-code development platform is a great first step to becoming more efficient and cost-effective as you modernize and simplify your application portfolio. In fact, building solutions via a model-driven approach with low-code can accelerate, on average, IT’s time-to-deployment by 60% compared to traditional development practices. That fantastic speed and the resultant savings should grab the attention of any strategically-minded IT Leader. And it largely has, given that low-code is one of the fastest-growing industries in software.
But that’s just the first big step.
There is another level of achievement that leading organizations are gaining with today’s enterprise-grade low-code platforms. And it’s a big step that many enterprises struggle with taking.
The next big step has to do with whom and how you expand these practices to the wider organization and reduce the amount of duplicate work. This requires rethinking how your organization operates and collaborates, shifting to a focus on multidisciplinary digital business teams who focus on delivering products rather than projects. Gartner classifies this concept as Fusion Teams. This concept has been around for a while and Gartner believes that low-code has a huge role in enabling these teams’ success.
In fact, Gartner goes as far as to make the ability to deliver composable applications through Fusion Teams as one of the five critical capabilities by which they measure low-code vendors in the 2020 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms.
What Are Fusion Teams?
Through its visual nature, accessibility, and proclivity toward collaboration, low-code development allows for non-technical/IT developers to now meaningfully participate in the development process. This has been a real pain point for enterprise IT organizations. In recent decades, business stakeholders are often going around IT to purchase an off-the-shelf solution or build their own solution using Excel or Access. There are multiple reasons that they may do this. Perhaps IT is bogged down in a sea of requests. Perhaps turnaround times that IT provides don’t match the needs of the business. Sometimes it’s as simple as the business stakeholder not even knowing they need to involve IT. No matter the reason, the results are a proliferation of Shadow IT creeping, growing, and presenting a threat of security risks and data loss or vulnerabilities.
When you look beyond the risks they present, though, what these enterprising business stakeholders also offer is opportunity and customer and market knowledge. Being able to incorporate these non-core-IT people (also known as citizen developers) is huge for organizations looking to address that always-growing backlog and create needed solutions that produce business value while mitigating the risks that Shadow IT carries. Combining the expertise of professional developers and domain knowledge of business stakeholders into teams with shared goals is what Gartner calls Fusion Teams.
In the Critical Capabilities for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms report, the analyst firm defines the Fusion Team Composable Application Use Case as “assembled application experiences from a portfolio of multi-sourced building blocks. These are custom application experiences for specific end-user roles and individuals. Building blocks may include packaged business capabilities, SaaS, API products in marketplaces, existing data sources, event channels, cloud services, and custom local services. These are custom application experiences for specific end-user roles and individuals.”
Gartner has a more in-depth report on what the future of composable applications means for you, that’s worth a read, too.
The first step to modernizing your app portfolio is low-code. But, as stated earlier, achieving that next level of acceleration and agility that low-code platforms can deliver is not as simple as just opening up low-code/no-code tooling to the business to start co-creating solutions. There needs to be a methodical and deliberate structure in place. One best practice that we at Mendix advocate for is to consider setting up practice around enhancing and tailoring the tools and accessibility the wider organization has at its disposal. That is to say, create a center of excellence or smaller teams imbued with the Fusion Team philosophy: a mix of IT and business users to work specifically focus on how solutions are assembled/built.
Such a team with diverse experience and skills can build themes, solution templates, UI and UX functionalities, commonly leveraged APIs, or whatever building blocks that the business needs to assemble the solution they need while remaining IT compliant. It’s a meaningful step toward minimizing rework by maximizing the reuse of common connectors, data sources, or other application experiences that don’t need to be created each time it is needed.
We believe Mendix is the leading low-code platform for makers of all backgrounds to solve business problems through software solutions. Uniquely, our platform has purpose-built IDEs that offer different skills-based entry points that vary in how much of the development process they abstract. We also offer more tools to enable fusion teams to more closely collaborate with their peers.
In fact, in Gartner’s evaluation of this vital use case for today’s enterprises, Mendix received the highest score with a 4.0 out of 5 for Fusion Team Composable Application.
Small next step? Next big leap.
With Mendix, makers apply their low-code skills to a broad problem space. From a single citizen developer automating approvals, to a fusion team of business and technical experts improving factory operations through a new mission-critical system. All on a single collaborative platform, leveraging the same components, interfaces, and integrations. So when evaluating low-code application platforms, be sure to consider what happens when you go to take that next big step in accelerating your application development practice company-wide.