Introduction to CAAD Codeless Applications Development Methodology

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This is an article I produced previously for Encanvas that maps out the CAAD methodology for codeless software development. It's a comprehensive methodology that demonstrates I think that analysts …

This is an article I produced previously for Encanvas that maps out the CAAD methodology for codeless software development. It's a comprehensive methodology that demonstrates I think that analysts authoring situational applications still need skills and methods. Will the day come when users do all of this themselves? I'm big on the idea of humanizing IT so I kinda hope so, but realistically we have a long way to go before then.

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  • 1. An Introduction to Computer Aided Applications Development (CAAD) Encanvas Inc. US & Canada +1 201 777 3398 EUROPE +44 (0) 1865 596151 AFRICA +27 (0) 21 701 3882
  • 2. 2 | E N C A N V A S ® Published by Encanvas Inc. 2710 Thomas Avenue, Cheyenne, WY 82001, United States of America. All rights reserved. Encanvas is a registered trademark of Encanvas Inc. Any specifications or features mentioned in this document are subject to change without notice. All other trademarks and trade names used within this document are acknowledged as belonging to their respective owners.
  • 3. 3 | E N C A N V A S ® Contents 1. Definitions and Introductions 2. The Demand for CAAD 3. Organizations That Have Benefitted From CAAD 4. CAAD Methodology Overview 5. The Crucial Role Of Site Constructs 6. The CAAD Methodology Description More reading White Paper Computer-Aided-Applications-Design: Displacing the Programmers the evolution of the office workplace Social Operating Systems (SOS) The book by Ian Tomlin that explores the convergence of cloud computing, social networking and society.
  • 4. 4 | E N C A N V A S ® Definitions & Introductions COMPUTER-AIDED-APPLICATIONS-DEVELOPMENT (CAAD) Computer Aided Applications Development (CAAD) describes a rapid method of designing and deploying situational applications for workgroups and teams. It’s computer-aided because applications are authored using a platform that provides pre-formed building blocks of technology, negating the need for the majority of programming, testing and re-working associated with former methods of software authoring. CAAD differs from previous systems and methods - such as Rapid Applications Development (RAD) and Agile because it uniquely morphs the role of project manager, business analyst and developer into a single role competency. This is made possible by employing a new genre of apps design and deployment tooling that can de-skill the life-cycle of applications development formed around a unifying tool-kit and common skills competency. CAAD embeds IT transformation into the change process and subsumes the role of programming in the development of business applications in support of organizational process change. It not only makes applications ‘better-fit’ to the community of users and beneficiaries they’re intended for, but reduces the time, cost and risk of applications developments. SITUATIONAL APPLICATIONS Encanvas was conceived in 2002 by the founders of NDMC Consulting. It was initially an idea (or perhaps a belief) that in future, business users would seek to work in social groups that would span across and beyond enterprise boundaries and, having experienced this new form of business workplace, key knowledge workers and creative contributors to business processes would seek to be able to author applications for their communities in a form purposely sculptured to the needs of the community of use. This idea of socially-centric, built-for-purpose and potentially thrown-away software was unknowingly endorsed by technology thought-leader Clay Shirky in his essay ‘Situated Software’ published in March 2004 when he wrote, “Part of the future I believe I'm seeing is a change in the software ecosystem which, for the moment, I'm calling situated software. This is software designed in and for a particular social situation or context. This way of making software is in contrast with what I'll call the Web School (the paradigm I learned to program in), where scalability, generality, and completeness were the key virtues.” In August 2007, Luba Cherbakov and a team from IBM wrote the first of two articles on what they described as ‘Situational Applications’. In their paper titled ‘SOA meets situational applications, Part 1: Changing computing in the enterprise’, Cherbakov and her colleagues defined the attributes of Situational Applications, stating, “The loosely accepted term situational applications describe applications built to address a particular situation, problem, or challenge. The development life cycle of these types of applications is quite different from the traditional IT-developed, SOA-based solution. SAs are usually built by casual programmers using short, iterative development life cycles that often are measured in days or weeks, not months or years. As the requirements of a small team using the application change, the SA often continues to evolve to accommodate these changes. Significant changes in requirements may lead to an abandonment of the used application
  • 5. 5 | E N C A N V A S ® altogether; in some cases it's just easier to develop a new one than to update the one in use. The idea of end- user computing in the enterprise is not new. Development of applications by amateur programmers using IBM Lotus® Notes®, Microsoft® Excel spreadsheets in conjunction with Microsoft Access, or other tools is widespread. What's new in this mix is the impressive growth of community-based computing coupled with an overall increase in computer skills, the introduction of new technologies, and an increased need for business agility. The emergence of Asynchronous JavaScript + XML (Ajax)—which leverages easy access to Web-based data and rich user interface (UI) controls—combined with the Representational State Transfer (REST) architectural style of Web services offers an accessible palette for the assembly of highly interactive browser- based applications.” Situational applications remain a largely misunderstood concept in enterprise computing due to many misguided pre-conceived notions that are now proven to be fatally flawed. These include:  Applications that can be designed cheaply enough to ‘throw-away’ can’t possibly be expected to meet enterprise data integration, security, performance and tuning expectations.  It’s not possible to create the critical-mass of building blocks and tooling required to remove the majority of programming overheads.  Organizations are better off buying best of breed solutions, to then mackle them together.  There is no competitive advantage to be gained from IT as companies now use the same platforms.  If players like Microsoft, Google, Oracle and IBM haven’t made it work then it isn’t possible! ENCANVAS Encanvas Secure&Live™ is a computing platform that has been designed to produce situational applications in a near-real-time workshop-based process in conjunction with (and largely led by) Users and beneficiaries. The result of countless installations with large and small companies over 10-years has resulted in the formation of the CAAD methodology. It introduces new ways of authoring applications. Through its design and tooling, together with the methods enshrined in the CAAD life-cycle, it de-skills the design process by reducing the number of tools and competencies required to take projects from concept to completion. It de-risks applications development by ensuring that iterations can be made in near-real-time – and the outcome of developments are better-fit applications. It reduces time-to-market by minimizing the level of programming, number of tasks and interactions required to develop an application (all but eradicating testing, tuning and re-working activities). It reduces the cost of creating applications by enabling Users and beneficiaries – who better understand the role, mechanics and purpose of the intended use case – to specify and work with designers to iterate designs without the large frictional costs attributed to re-working and programming. It reduces the cost of deploying applications by providing an appropriate computing environment to suit the demands of the intended use-case that supports the near-instant publishing of applications without compromising functionality, security or performance. It reduces the ongoing operating costs of applications by removing software upgrades, platform versioning issues and the need for support engineers with multiple skills portfolios.
  • 6. 6 | E N C A N V A S ® PLATFORM MODULES AND TERMS USED IN CAAD METHOD DESCRIPTIONS Given that Encanvas Secure&Live™ is presently the only platform in existence to support the entire CAAD methodology, there is an inevitable tendency for practitioners to refer to aspects of the technology platform in method statements and descriptions. In this section we qualify the most commonly referred to components. ENCANVAS Secure&Live™ Architecture and Modules The illustration below overviews how Encanvas is architected with four layers. Starting at the bottom: CREATE Encanvas Create™ (Suite) is the software module used to author applications. It creates ‘canvases’ which is the name given to the files that Encanvas Create produces. Think of a canvas as a hybrid between a document and a web-page. The Encanvas Create Suite includes a module called Information Flow Designer™ to augment automated data movements and transformations. SERVE Encanvas Web Server™ is the run-time software module that exists on a Web Server. You never see it – but systems administrators configure it through… Encanvas Web Server Manager™ is the administrator cockpit to augment applications deployments. SHARE Encanvas includes a series of ‘engines’ to fulfil key roles that community centric applications tend to need – such as messaging, document management, social networking, mapping and search. These components are integrated within the architecture and are in many respects hidden from view but they negate the need for additional third party tools that would demand expert skills to configure. SECURE Encanvas is designed for enterprise deployments and therefore includes business-grade security. Its Ring-of- Steel™ security architecture facilitates the formation of User and User Group permissions in addition to protecting systems and data from malware and other forms of premeditated attack. In addition to the above, Encanvas has a cloud deployment architecture called Encanvas Remote(Spaces)™ that negates the need, in certain circumstances, for Microsoft® Web Platform and Encanvas Secure&Live™ platform components to be first installed on a computer prior to applications development commencing.
  • 7. 7 | E N C A N V A S ® The Demand for CAAD The Need to Re-think Applications Development DE-RISKING APPLICATIONS DEVELOPMENT A level of trial and error can be expected for any creative activity but the excessive risks of software authoring are born out in studies both in terms of slow time to market and burgeoning costs. The article ‘Why Your IT Project May Be Riskier Than You Think’ by HBR (November 2011) followed a survey of 1,471 IT projects with an average spend of $167m and found: • The average overrun was 27% • One in six projects studied experienced a cost overrun of over 200%. • Almost 70% of black swan projects also overrun their schedules. Though the pitfalls of software applications development are by now well documented the IT industry has been singularly unable to overcome them. But as globalization increases apace, business models change ever more rapidly and organizations seek to leverage ‘Big Data’, the need to reliably produce better applications right-first-time has never been more critical. This document introduces the CAAD methodology. EMPOWERING THE ‘CORPORALS’ For a hundred years management thinking has valued mechanization over creativity… …but after decades of automation, the core business processes of organizations are pretty slick – that is until markets change and business models need to realign. Then concepts of operational excellence evangelized by management consultants sound hollow. As the very structure of markets change, smaller, more nimble companies benefitting from closer ties to their customers, and a clearer understanding of their value, are able to steal a march on vendors 100 times their size. Even global brands aren’t safe - new aggressors can emerge from a different industry altogether to take a big bite out of a market they see as fair game in an open, global market-place (such as retailers venturing into the car insurance market for example). Organizations that could once survive without reviewing business models more than once a decade are now forced to re-assess annually. The new mantra of business excellence is agility – to create an enterprise that can adapt to always win in its most addressable markets. Key to the drive for agility is the need to empower middle managers; people with the energy, skills and curiosity to question why processes work as they do and find new ways to distil customer value. Leaders are coming to realize that leadership at all levels of the enterprise is vital. This critical tier of ‘corporals’ demand systems and tools to understand and adapt their assets and resources to fit internal processes to the ever changing business landscape. This is driving demand for a new tier of applications in enterprise architectures that harvest data from existing sources to create new applications that response to new situations (‘situational applications’) as they arise and align IT systems to better fit constantly evolving processes.
  • 8. 8 | E N C A N V A S ® SERVING INFORMATION TO CURIOUS MINDS Services-Oriented Architecture is a term that describes the design and use of information services to support business needs; a coherent enterprise-wide method of organizing how computer systems present information to other systems so the data they manage can be accessed more easily without compromising systems performance or security. For business people, the major benefit of organizing information through SOA is the prospect that data held in disparate silos across the enterprise can be re-used to create new applications that produce smarter processes. To consume Web Services requires applications able to bring data together while fashioning new data structures, web portals and forms-based applications to view, edit and update data. Demand for these new applications increasingly comes from communities of workers that, while small in number, are essential to process innovation and creativity – things that create competitive advantage in the 21st century business world. The conceived wisdom of building large lumbering enterprise applications for the majority at the expense of the few, no longer fits the reality of what these critical communities of information workers either need or expect. The high quality of software people now use in their homes and on their mobile phones has raised the bar of what business users expect. The digital native generation dismisses applications that require a manual or that ask them to live with inhospitable reporting tools. To meet the demands of this new consumerized user community, the only viable solution is to produce applications at a faster pace and at lower risk; getting new applications to market faster, at lower cost. This demand has led to the long-tail of demand for situational applications that are designed by and service the communities that use them. SUPPORTING PERPETUAL PROCESS IMPROVEMENT The rapid pace of change in business plans driven by globalization, increases in the state of competition within markets, and the fragmentation and re-structuring of markets is placing demands on organizations to adopt more fluid business practises and become ever more agile. Central to this need of constant change and re- invention is the need for internal business processes to adapt. Registering this new requirement for constant iterative change, some organizations are today creating improvement teams – ‘organization departments’ – that unite the blend of capabilities needed to affect and embed change into organizational culture. These departments combine skills including performance management, organizational design, compliance management, human resources management, project management, business analysis and information systems management. New tooling is needed to equip these hybrid change teams with the means to shape technology as they shape processes. Organizations that have adopted this ‘internal change agency’ concept like Volkswagen Group are achieving a substantially faster pace of growth compared to industry peers.
  • 9. 9 | E N C A N V A S ® EXTENDING COMMUNITIES AND PROCESSES BEYONG THE TRADITIONAL BOUNDARY OF THE ENTERPRISE SOCIAL NETWORKING and the always on digital society have transformed the world – including the business world and the way workers value their ‘work life-style’. Organizations can no longer hope to ‘own for life’ all of the talent they require; or by themselves resource the many business processes necessary to achieve strategic goals. The business world has become about collaboration, social networking, earning the trust of customers and business partners by opening up and sharing information. It’s a battle for hearts and minds; a battle for communities. Systems must extend their networks and processes beyond the boundaries of the enterprise enabling users to serve their own information and collaborative needs and possess the tools necessary to work from anywhere at any time. This is the world that Encanvas Secure&Live™ - the second generation of Encanvas - was built for and a major reason why a second generation of Encanvas platforms was needed. The growth in self-determining communities creates a bigger appetite for self-serviceable applications that give users more control over how they interact with data. This too is a major driver for situational applications that combine tools to gather and aggregate data with features to build new applications and process flows.
  • 10. 10 | E N C A N V A S ® Organizations That Have Benefitted From CAAD Developments The approach to developing applications now enshrined in the CAAD methodology have been developed in the last 10-years through real-world software development projects with some of the largest companies in the world. They include:
  • 11. 11 | E N C A N V A S ® The CAAD Methodology - Overview OUTLINE The CAAD methodology supports the entire application life-cycle. It comprises of four phases: Phase 1 – Plan Prior to any programming activity, a series of analyst activities are performed to determine the role, strategic value and attributes of the intended application. Phase 2 – Develop This is the phase where the application is created, published, user tested and iterated. Phase 3 – Release This is the phase where the application is formally released. Phase 4 – Review This is the phase where the application is revisited and its worth is re-qualified. The nature of situational applications (in terms of role purpose and economics) is that after a time it may be better to absorb or throw away applications that have achieved their value.
  • 12. 12 | E N C A N V A S ® STAGES OF CAAD Each CAAD phase is further broken down into stages. These are presented in an illustrative form below but are described in more detail later in this document. HIGH-LEVEL WALK-THROUGH There are usually ‘system and platform’ activities that need to happen prior to the commencement of CAAD developments. When starting from ‘ground zero’ the full process run-through looks like this: How it works 1. A new workspace is created on Encanvas Remote(Spaces)™ - the Encanvas private-cloud rapid deployment environment. 2. (Plan Phase) A business analyst/designer interviews prospective Users and Stakeholders and defines the scope of the application, strategic value and defines the attributes of the workspace (screen constructs, data sources, users and user groups), requirements for records, processes, reports and meta-tables. 3. The business analyst/designer authors a prototype ‘canvas’. 4. (Develop Phase) The business analyst/designer and stakeholders meet in a workshop and they walk through the canvas design, iterate the application. Once satisfied with the outcome the application is published. 5. Users test the application and feedback change requests to the business analyst. Changes are made remotely to the web-site. 6. (Release Phase) Once the iterations have been completed, the application is signed off for general release. 7. (Review Phase) Once released, any change requests or technical bugs are logged against the application and, following analysis, recommendations for improvement may be made.
  • 13. 13 | E N C A N V A S ® The Critical Role of Site Constructs OUTLINE One of the most difficult obstacles to overcome in applications development is the knowledge and vocabulary gap that exists between IT professionals and Users. This is usually a two-way problem given that applications Users and beneficiaries have a deeper understanding of the role, purpose, context and environment for which the application is intended (and may have their own lexicon of knowledge on these subjects) whereas IT professionals have knowledge of ‘what IT can do’, how IT works, how data, processes and logic rules need to be organized in order to work effectively, and of course they understand the language of programming – all of which is scary and alien to Users! The tooling used for CAAD overcomes these obstacles in part by removing the need for Users and beneficiaries to see programming code. Instead they visualize the building blocks in a near-WYWIWYG form. Even logic rules and links are transformed into visual indicators that non-IT people can understand. Then applications are quickly progressed to a published stage (this is a near instant act) which means Users and beneficiaries can see the end-result as it is being manufactured. Another way that the CAAD methodology overcomes this knowledge and vocabulary gap is to create ‘structures’ that non-technical people can grasp. One example of this is the use of Site Constructs. SITE CONSTRUCTS Introduction A Site Construct is a pre-defined User Interface configuration that performs a specific function in the end application. On the following pages we describe the constructs of a typical Encanvas application. Rarely do applications include all of the components described here. Depending on the complexity and number of ‘jobs’ performed, the role of constructs will often merge or may sometimes not be required. So far there are 16 site constructs that are regularly used in applications design using the CAAD methodology – but this number is growing over time. These are listed below and described in more detail overleaf. 1. Start Wizard 2. Keynote 3. Landing 4. Highlights 5. Work Page 6. Data Entry (standard) 7. Data Entry (wizard) 8. Assembly (side-bar) 9. Assembly (top-down) 10. Library 11. Views, Previews and Maps 12. Reports 13. Users 14. Share 15. Export 16. Meta
  • 14. 14 | E N C A N V A S ® Typical Role Terms Administrator - The role responsible for managing the system infrastructure components Sub-Administrator - The role responsible for managing prescribed meta-data, user permissions etc. Primary User - The role responsible for actioning the primary job that defines why the application exists Secondary Users - The role of other users that access the system normally to view rather than edit. Construct Examples 1. Start Wizard Role: Admin or Sub Admin Users Used to give Users the ability to rapidly configure application parameters to setup the application. 2. Keynote Role: For Senior Executives with a peripheral interest in the outcomes an application produces. Used to deliver signposting of keynote analytics showing ‘pipeline progress’ with limited drill-down.
  • 15. 15 | E N C A N V A S ® 3. Landing Role: For All Users Used as a construct in larger applications to display system parts usually with image links. Helps users to navigate a complex system servicing multiple ‘jobs’. 4. Highlights Role: For Primary User Role Used to signpost what they need to focus on in order to deliver ‘the job’. Should include process links (job activities) in right hand border.
  • 16. 16 | E N C A N V A S ® 5. Work-Page Role: For Primary User Role Used to manage day-to-day activities for the primary ‘job’. Rich drill-downs to assemblies to enable users to navigate the system. See right-hand pane used for attributes editing. 6. Data Entry Role: For Primary User Role Used to add new primary records where lots of fields need to be populated’
  • 17. 17 | E N C A N V A S ® 7. Data Entry (Wizard Based) Role: For Primary User Role Used to add new primary records where lots of fields need to be populated. Streamlines data entry process for predictable data entry workflows. 8. Assembly (Side-bar) Role: For Primary User Role Used to manage interactions with main sub-record assemblies. Normally has a repeater panel at centre with editable side-bar attribute pane.
  • 18. 18 | E N C A N V A S ® 9. Assembly (Top-down) Role: For Primary User Role Used to manage interactions with main sub-record assemblies. Normally has a show data table at the header supported by editable form below. 10. Library Role: For Primary User Role Used to manage ancillary documents for an application.
  • 19. 19 | E N C A N V A S ® 11. Views, Previews and Maps Role: For Admin, Sub-User and sometimes Primary User Roles. Used to view, preview or view maps as part of an application. May include configuration options to define how data is viewed by public viewers. 12. Reports Role: For Primary User and Sub Admin Roles. Used to manage applications reporting.
  • 20. 20 | E N C A N V A S ® 13. Users Role: For Sub Admin and Primary User Roles. Used to manage User permissions relating to the application or ‘staff records’. Normally treated as an Assembly page (note the typical assembly page layout of this example). 14. Share Role: For Primary User Role Used to manage the URL sharing of canvas sections carrying key views, analytics or results
  • 21. 21 | E N C A N V A S ® 15. Export Role: For Sub Admin Role and sometimes User Roles Used to manage the import/export of data assets to the desktop 16. Meta Role: For Sub-Admin Users Provides a contextual ‘single place’ where Users go to setup meta tables relating to an application or assembly Reduces the number of forms used within an application
  • 22. 22 | E N C A N V A S ® The CAAD Methodology - Description INTRODUCTION In this section we describe the CAAD Methodology in detail. CAAD LIFECYCLE (METHODS & PROCESS IN DETAIL) PHASE 1. PLAN 1. Purpose and Job Worth (Analysis) Purpose The purpose of this stage is to understand the reasons why an application development is being considered and to qualify whether it is really necessary. It’s also to qualify the function of the application and what it ‘needs to do’. About ODI Applying ODI to Apps Design Needs are Constant, Solutions Vary A job statement describes what needs to be done:  Job statements should not describe mechanisms or platforms (e.g. “cutting” the grass, “brushing” teeth).  method) such as “Teach the reading of English language text”  Jobs are distinct from products or a solution. It pays to qualify what the job is before trying to find a way to do it better (i.e. keep the need separate from the product or solution). Method  An interviewer will analyse the jobs done by role holders. Then he/she will seek to discover how the job can be done better for each role. Outcome driven Innovation (ODI) is an innovation process developed by Anthony Ulwick and described in his book ‘What Customers Want: Using Outcome-Driven Innovation’ later popularised by Clayton M. Christensen, Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. It is built around the belief that people hire products and services to get a job done.
  • 23. 23 | E N C A N V A S ®  For any activity there may be several role types and it therefore becomes necessary to interview a number of people performing each role to ask them:  What jobs do they do?  What activities take time to do, or inhibit the job from being done well? (i.e. posing questions that expose where a sub-optimal activity exists?  What inhibitors and constraints prevent them from accomplishing the job as well as it can be done? (i.e. exposing what customers thing is the cause of the constraint and qualifying how it could be improved by doing things better or differently). Tools Capturing insights on roles, jobs and constraints benefits from a simple framework in the form of a spreadsheet or database application. For each job stage, the data captured should include:  User Roles  Capabilities (jobs that need doing)  Job Outcomes Statements (how the outcome of the job is measured – such as to “maximize or minimize ‘object’ by ‘value’ + context”)  Constraints (what prevents the job being done better)  Corrective Importance (the value of doing the job better to the role) Encanvas Casebook™ provides an online tool-set for creating a Job Card and Job Definition for a workshop project. It establishes a simple project process where milestones can be assigned and responsibilities allocated. This builds a record of project actions and contributions to ensure appropriate governance. The structure of the Casebook builds a complete picture of requirements and the desired outcome. This knowledge of project activities builds as a casebook for future review and scrutiny so learning lessons can be captured. Outputs The focus of ODI interviews is to produce a job definition – a factual account of the job – not how the customer does it, what tools and platforms they use to achieve it or what they think about the state of the industry! The output of this stage is an article that qualifies the job and its attributes of:  User Roles  Job Stages  Job Outcomes  Job Constraints  Corrective Importance Summary To qualify the purpose of an application (ODI) methods are employed. ODI principles pre-suppose that applications are employed to get a job done better. The key questions therefore are:  What are the roles?  What are the jobs?  What constraints exist that prevent the job being done better (i.e. What takes the time)?  How important is it to overcome the constraint(s)?
  • 24. 24 | E N C A N V A S ® 2. Strategic Advantage (Analysis) Purpose There are many ways organizations can improve their business processes and systems to work more profitably. The key question becomes ‘Why this and why now? The purpose of this stage is to place a strategic value on a software development exercise. About Value Innovation Example of a Blue Ocean Strategy Map Method The ‘value of innovation’ is quantified by establishing the impacts of change on targeted customer and stakeholder actions. Key attributes should be qualified in terms of how they eliminate and reduce costs or raise and create value. Each attribute should be assigned a weighted value of importance (normally a mark out of 10 where 1 is low and 10 is high). These values can then be debated with stakeholders and customers to assign an Innovation Value. Outputs Innovation Value can be presented in the form of a strategy canvas as illustrated below that shows how an application beats its competition (i.e. the previous method employed to complete the process). 3. Applications Attributes (Analysis) Purpose Preparing a prototype design not only requires a fundamental understanding of the job that people are hiring the intended application to perform, and the roles that contribute to that job, it also requires a more fundamental picture of:  Records  Processes  Reports  Settings and data access requirements The purpose of RPRS Analysis is to document the attributes of an application so that a prototype design can be easily determined. Value Innovation methods originated from the book ‘Blue Ocean Strategy’, by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne (Harvard Business School Press, 2005). In it, the authors observe Value innovation is created in the region where a company’s actions favourably affect both its cost structure and its value proposition to buyers.  Cost savings are made by eliminating and reducing the factors an industry competes on.  Buyer value is lifted by raising and creating elements the industry has never offered. Over time, costs are reduced further as scale economies kick in due to the high sales volumes that superior value generates. Innovation Value can be presented in the form of a strategy canvas as illustrated left that shows how an application beats its competition (i.e. the previous method employed to complete the process).
  • 25. 25 | E N C A N V A S ® Method Like ODI, the insights required for RPRS are captured through interviews with application stakeholders and by benchmarking existing applications (or competitive applications). In order to complete the case-file application design definition, business analysts/designers will need to qualify:  What key content entities exist that will require support in the form of a record or sub-record?  What processes does each user role fulfil (this should come from ODI)?  What reports does each user role require from the application – and in what format/delivery mechanism?  What related data is needed to populate referencing tables/meta-tables/drop-downs? Outputs Outputs are presented in a case-file (or a spreadsheet when Encanvas CaseBook™ is not used). From these insights a prototype can be formed so that Workshop discussions can be framed around ‘something’ rather than working from a blank canvas. Creating a Prototype/Design Concept It’s normal for workshops to be pre-empted by the development of a straw-man prototype. This is to avoid contributors starting their workshop looking at a blank canvas! The information gained through the job definition and discovery phase forms the basis of the prototype design. This can then be iterated in the workshop phase working collegiately with stakeholders. There is no pressure for the prototype to be ‘perfect’ from the outset because the activity of iteration engages stakeholders more into thinking about ‘what will work’. PHASE 2. DEVELOP 4. Workshop Iteration Purpose The purpose of a Design Workshop is to create an application from the insights gathered during the planning phase, and with the active participation of application Users and Stakeholders Using tools like Encanvas, Users and Stakeholders can be fully engaged during a workshop while the application being developed takes shape. The absence of ‘code’ from the design environment and the use of placeholders for design elements and data/logic links makes it easy for Workshop participants to envision the end solution. One click publishing means the outputs of the workshop are visible and can be reviewed as a ‘live system’. Method The scope, value and attributes of the application is pre-agreed from the outputs of the Planning Phase. A prototype is normally produced prior to the Workshop to provide a starting point for debate and review. The Workshop is led by an analyst/designer who performs the ‘building’ activities. Each canvas is presented to the participants who discuss the suitability of the design and provide feedback. The analyst/designer iterates the application design until all feedback has been adopted or acknowledged as not being appropriate. Once all changes have been made the product is released for User Testing. If a large amount of changes are needed, a follow-up workshop may be scheduled.
  • 26. 26 | E N C A N V A S ® The Design Workshop A workshop involves an analyst/designer and various stakeholders and contributors. Workshops take the form of a design forum where the initial prototype is debated by participants and changes are made iteratively to the design. Some of the changes will be made immediately. Where the design needs considerable iteration, it’s not uncommon for the workshop to be halted and re-convened once the bulk of change requests have been applied. A project manager may attend to capture the change requests and ensure the application is progressing towards its ideal design (consistent to the Casebook outcome definition). Publishing the Application The outcome of the workshop phase is an application that stakeholders believe will meet the required need. Once an agreement is reached by the project team that the solution is fit for purpose ‘in principle’ it is made available as a published application for User Acceptance Testing (UAT). There is no significant transition between the pilot phase and the UAT phase given that the Encanvas platform removes any need for platform installation, design iteration, testing or performance tuning. There may nevertheless be activities such as the authoring of help notes and documentation (and the assignment of permissions, data structures etc.) that can delay UAT by hours and sometimes days. User Testing The nature of UAT testing for a situational application is one of further iteration that extends ‘design’ into a quasi-operational or alpha-test mode. Requests for change by Users are formalized (by using tools such as Encanvas Casebook™). All User requests are logged and assigned to a business analyst. Documenting the Application Most applications require some form of documentation and instructions of use. Documentation may simply to catalogue the existence of the application and its compliance with information security policies. It may also include terms of use and detailed instructions to Users on what the application is for and how to use the features of the application. Increasingly, User guidance is presented on-screen and in the form of help videos which are easier for Users to learn. Making Enhancements Each change request received through UAT is reviewed and must be accepted for adoption by the project manager and business analyst prior to work being commenced. This prevents unnecessary work being adopted before appropriate levels of sponsorship have been gained. Outputs The Output of this stage is a completed application that is ready for User Testing. 5. Publish Purpose and Output The publishing process using Encanvas is painless because it is a ‘one-click’ activity. Publishing an application does not mean that an application is released! Applications may undergo several rounds of User Testing and Iteration before being signed off for general release. Published applications may still lack documentation and help notes etc. that will be created as Users become satisfied with a version of the application.
  • 27. 27 | E N C A N V A S ® 6. Iterate & User Test Purpose The purpose of User Testing is to ensure the applications performs as it should in operating including:  Successful delivery of outcomes  Usability  Ease of learning/on-boarding for new Users  Integrity of data model/environment and data connections  Effectiveness of reporting tools  Ability of technical staff to support the application Applications may go through several cycles of User Iteration before they are judged to be suitable for release. Fortunately, using platforms like Encanvas, the cost of iteration is extremely low. PHASE 3. RELEASE 7. Release Purpose and Output Applications are made available for GR once the Designer/Project Manager is satisfied that:  Desired outcomes identified in the Planning Phase have been met in full.  Change requests identified in the Development Phase have been completed and no further change requests are being received and the stakeholders believe the application has reached a point where it is as good as it’s ever going to get.  The application is appropriately documented and can be realistically supported by IT helpdesk staff. The output of this phase is a released application. PHASE 4. REVIEW 8. Monitor/Report Providing Day-to-Day User Support Even after General Release, Users will often make change requests for the applications they use. How these are actioned and delivered will vary according to the design of the improvement and IT functions within an organization. Ordinarily, business analysts will be appointed to support specific processes or parts of a business and will retain responsibility for supporting applications in their allocated support areas. Tools Encanvas makes it easier to iterate applications during their life as the user organization retains complete control over the application and how it is used within their business. The economics of the platform mean that organizations are not penalized for making changes to their applications as needs change. Neither are they required to pay version upgrade costs. Day-to-day support of applications is made easier by administrators having access to all deployed applications from a single cockpit (Example: Encanvas Web Server
  • 28. 28 | E N C A N V A S ® Manager™). The use of a single platform removes many of the complexities of the deployed environment. It also de-skills the support task so that one person can support applications in their totality rather than having multiple support experts managing discrete parts of an application. Tools The ability to respond to support requests faster is aided by Encanvas Version-Rollback™ (VR) technology that ensures deployed applications and the Encanvas platform will always remain on a consistent version. This obviates the need to load a previous platform version before correcting a bug or application discrepancy. 9. Analyse Purpose and Output Business processes and released applications should undergo continuous analysis and review for their effectiveness and suitability. It is the nature of business that nothing stays the same for long and so a review cycle is necessary (and built into tools like Encanvas Casebook). The purpose of the analysis stage is to identify which processes or applications could be improved through iteration or new development. Analysis data can be aggregated using an application like Encanvas Casebook or a spreadsheet. 10. Recommend Recommending Changes to Apps The purpose of this stage is to make recommendations to improve applications as the result of analysis conducted on current and future systems requirements. Recommendations are logged using an application like Encanvas Casebook™ or a spreadsheet. Recommending New Apps The CAAD process encourages the development of new situational applications as needs arise. This reduces the use of shadow data and shadow systems (self-served applications normally developed by Users using SaaS tools or desktop applications like Microsoft® Excel, PowerPoint, Word or Access). Shadow systems are not only a risk to the business, because of the risk of data loss and non-compliance through errors in spreadsheets (etc.), but also prohibit the effective re-use of corporate information assets. For more information about Encanvas Secure&Live visit ENCANVAS INC. 2710 Thomas Avenue, Cheyenne, WY 82001, United States of America +1 201 777 3398, ENCANVAS EUROPE Suite 4, Oxford Court, St. James Road, Brackley, NN13 7XY, United Kingdom t. +44 (0) 1865 596151,