Posted by David Jones ● 4/28/20 8:30 AM
App Maker Alternatives: Solutions to Solve Low-Code Problems
Understanding the role of the Citizen Admin and aligning them with the right tool sets is critical to the success of an IT strategy for application development. Only when you understand your desired outcomes and the associated requirements can you start to evaluate the available technologies at your organization's disposal - and ultimately get to work delivering modern applications that fit your exact needs.
Let's Talk Application Fitness
"Application Fitness" refers to the alignment of needs with available technologies in the no-code and low-code arenas.
As we explore the concept of application fitness, we will expand on key learning points from our last blog on the value of low-code development, highlighting the evaluation criteria for your App Maker migration project and identifying relevant market-ready solutions that should be included in your evaluation.
The long-term objective of this process is to eliminate technical debt, streamline spend on solutions that solve your problems and create an IT ecosystem where the business is highly collaborative in crafting requirements and choosing solutions with the IT group, not against it.
Mitigating Shadow IT Scenarios
If we focus on cost reduction and streamlined spend, while also properly aligning solutions with problems based on application fitness, then we can ensure healthy evaluations, as well as a significant drop in Shadow IT efforts from your business users.
Every organization is susceptible to the risks of Shadow IT, so involving the business as a part of your evaluation process will not only mitigate risk, but will also limit shelfware spend as much as possible.
Requirements Checklist for Replacing App Maker
Let’s start by revisiting the key factors in evaluating and choosing the right tool and use that to prioritize requirements. Our evaluation must include:
- Major features
- Mandatory requirements
- Nice to haves
This allows you to develop an “Application Fitness” matrix, or evaluation criteria, to ensure that the platform(s) you choose to replace App Maker, or any other application builds for that matter, are the best fit for your organization’s current and future needs.
See example below:
The requirements in this matrix can quickly help you identify the type of solution you’re looking for.
Next, it's important to start asking potential vendors a few simple questions to quickly qualify or disqualify them during your search:
- Does your platform integrate with G Suite or O365?
- Is the integration seamless or through third-party IAM?
- Does the integration require IT to install?
- Does your platform manage content?
- Where is content stored?
- Is there a cost associated?
- Does your solution help solve regulatory requirements?
- Life sciences: is it validated?
- Financial services: does it offer capabilities for FINRA/SEC compliance?
- Manufacturing: Could I pass an ISO audit with this platform?
- Does your solution offer an enterprise-grade audit log?
- Is it user-friendly and human-readable?
- Does it require any third-party database installation or costs?
- Can a citizen admin support the platform 100%?
- What is the time to build an application?
- How is customer support delivered?
- What does your knowledge base look like?
- Can a developer extend the platform via APIs and scripting?
- Do you have API documentation?
- Do you have sample code?
App Maker Alternatives - The Shortlist
Now for some highlighted solutions as it relates to solving your problems. This is not the definitive list of vendors that you should be considering, but if you are coming directly off App Maker - these solutions are definitely worth highlighting.
The No-Code Contenders:
Acquired in Jan 2020 by Google, AppSheet is the intelligent no-code platform trusted by over 200,000 app creators around the world including Clearlink, Enterprise Holdings, ESPN, Pepsi, Husqvarna and more.
AppSheet hosts a series of pre-defined applications for managing simple business processes, like work-order approvals, which can be easily customized.
With over 10 million downloads in the Google App Store, Awesome Table is a viable contender for your data-visualization needs.
Using Awesome Table, any business user can easily display spreadsheet data in a visually attractive format complete with interactive filters and full text search. Data-visualizations can then be published to websites or intranets, with no coding skills required.
Form Publisher allows you to transform google form submissions into Docs, Sheets, Slides & PDF's.
With Form Publisher, any user can enable simple set up of form and document workflows to automatically generate formatted sick leave requests, supplies requests, help requests, authorizations, registrations and much more.
The Low-Code Contenders:
A leading low-code software development platform that enables organizations to rapidly develop powerful and unique applications.
The applications created on Appian’s platform help companies drive digital transformation and competitive differentiation by focusing on intelligent automation and productivity.
The Pega platform powers digital transformation by unifying leading artificial intelligence, intelligent automation, and customer engagement capabilities.
Pega’s model-driven, unified approach delivers an enterprise-grade, agile application with a no-code authoring experience. It is most suitable for customer service and engagement applications.
Built on the Salesforce platform, the Lightning Experience combines the new Lightning Design System, Lightning App Builder and Lightning Components to enable anyone to quickly and easily create modern enterprise apps.
SFDC Lightning is a great fit for replatforming App Maker applications that interact with your Salesforce instance.
The Content Services platform:
AODocs is a fully-featured content services platform that offers file-control, a business process engine, and the ability to solve for regulatory requirements. Customizable out-of-the-box templates allow any user to build new business apps in minutes, and a no-code user interface ensures that anyone in the organization can become a citizen admin. For more complex solutions, the platform can be extended via API for developers, if needed.
AODocs is well-suited for document-rich processes that require governance, control, compliance and/or retention. Detailed success stories highlighting use cases in HR, document validation, spending approvals, and more can be found in the AODocs Resource Library.
AODocs for Low Code Solutions
This is the third piece in our series about the sunset of Google's App Maker. Click the following link to read our first piece, Google Announces Shutdown of App Maker in 2021 or visit our page on low-code business solutions to understand how AODocs can help you with your App Maker re-platforming project.
For more information, you can also find no-code development platform reviews or low-code development platform reviews on the G2Crowd peer review site.