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Displacing the Programmers


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Computer Aided Applications Design (CAAD) installs a near-real-time method of authoring business software applications. It differs from previous systems and methods (such as Rapid Applications Development, Agile and Workflow) by morphing the role of project manager, business analyst and developer into a single role competency. This is made possible by a new ‘see-no-code’ form 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.

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Displacing the Programmers

  2. 2. WHITE PAPER| Displacing the Programmers© 2012NDMC Ltd 2
  3. 3. WHITE PAPER| Displacing the Programmers Contents CIO BRIEFING: DISPLACING THE PROGRAMMERS ..................................................... 1 1. Introduction ...................................................................................................... 5 The Emerging Need For Rubber-Walled IT ................................................................ 6 Norms of Behaviour in Software Delivery ................................................................. 7 A New Organizational Design .................................................................................... 8 The Evolution of Something Better That Works… ..................................................... 8 About Encanvas® AgileWorkshop™ ........................................................................... 9 2. How Encanvas® AgileWorkshop™ Transforms Apps Authoring .......................... 10 Deploy the Applications Environment ..................................................................... 10 Discovery, Requirements Analysis and Design Definition ....................................... 11 Applications Authoring, Testing and Tuning ............................................................ 11 Deployment and Documentation ............................................................................ 12 User Acceptance Testing.......................................................................................... 12 Iteration and Optimization ...................................................................................... 12 General Release ....................................................................................................... 12 Support, Monitor and Review Requirements .......................................................... 13 3. Advantages of Encanvas over Programming ..................................................... 14 3. The Impact of Change on Programming ............................................................ 18 5. Conclusion ...................................................................................................... 19 About the Author ..................................................................................................... 20 About NDMC Ltd ...................................................................................................... 20© 2012NDMC Ltd 3
  4. 4. WHITE PAPER| Displacing the Programmers Encanvas Secure&Live™is a ComputerAidedApplicationsDesign (CAAD) system that installs a near-real-time method of authoring business software applications. It differs from previous systems and methods (such as Rapid Applications Development, Agile and Workflow) by morphing the role of project manager, business analyst and developer into a single role competency. This is made possible by a new ‗see-no-code‘ form 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. CAADembeds IT transformation into the change process and subsumes the role of programming in the development of business applicationsin support oforganizational process change. While all three roles of project manager, business analyst and programmer are impacted, the most obvious casualty of this step change is that substantially fewer programmers are needed to contribute to the design of business applications. So does this disruptive approach make programming redundant? This white paper considers the impact of near real-time workshop- based CAAD platforms like Encanvas on the world of programming.© 2012NDMC Ltd 4
  5. 5. WHITE PAPER| Displacing the Programmers 1. Introduction The Origins of Encanvas Encanvas was conceived in 2002 by the founders of NDMC initially as an idea that in future business users would work in social groups that span across enterprise boundaries and that they would expect to be able to author applications for their communities in a form purposely sculptured to the needs of the community of use. The 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 Im seeing is a change in the software ecosystem which, for the moment, Im 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 Ill call the Web School (the paradigm I learned to program in), where scalability, generality, and completeness were the key virtues.‖ In August 2007, LubaCherbakov 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, orchallenge. The development life cycle of these types ofapplications is quite different from the traditional IT- developed,SOA-based solution. SAs are usually built by casualprogrammers using short, iterative development life cycles thatoften are measured in days or weeks, not months or years. Asthe requirements of a small team using the application change,the SA often continues to evolve to accommodate thesechanges. Significant changes in requirements may lead to anabandonment of the used application altogether; in some casesits just easier to develop a new one than to update the one inuse.The idea of end-user computing in the enterprise is not new. Development of applications by amateurprogrammers using IBM Lotus® Notes®, Microsoft® Excel spreadsheets in conjunction with MicrosoftAccess, or other tools is widespread. Whats new in this mix is the impressive growth of community- basedcomputing coupled with an overall increase in computer skills, the introduction of new technologies, andan increased need for business agility.The emergence of Asynchronous JavaScript + XML (Ajax)—which leverages easy access to Web-baseddata 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 interactivebrowser-based applications.‖© 2012NDMC Ltd 5
  6. 6. WHITE PAPER| Displacing the Programmers The Emerging Need For Rubber-Walled IT Like any eco-system, organizations operate within a context of their environment – their market-place, their locality, the people that serve them, suppliers that provide raw materials and services, customers that buy from them. These external factors shape the way organizations behave. But there are also internal factors that influence behaviors and how decisions are made such as culture, norms of operating behaviour, and perceptions of what good practice is and should be. The 20th century was about industry and mechanization. The vision of most business leaders was to achieve economies through a blend of productivity enablement and mechanization, to become lean and mean; to be excellent at those internal processes that would drive production, market share and ultimately shareholder value. And most of these organizations, if not all, operated a command and control management structure that meant the educated few directed the uneducated masses. Humans in this picture of a perfect organization were little more than drones that were to be owned, told what to do and then paid a salary for their labours. The 21st century is about agility. Improved telecommunications, travel methods, computing and the Internet have all contributed to the globalization of markets. Seemingly every product or service is within reach ‗at the speed of light‘ as Bill gates, founder of Microsoft® put it. The state of competition has changed with some regions of the world enjoying advantages in lower cost labour supply, while others benefit from western world brand leadership. The balance of power rests on adaptability and the recognition that markets are changing their shape and structure. The Darwinist mantra of ‗survival of the fittest‘ has morphed into ‗survival of the most adaptable; the fastest to market; the organization most able to respond quickly to new and emerging customer wants. Traditional Michael Porter-esque marketing strategy concepts of ‗winning market share‘ in static markets have been corrupted by a paucity of examples of markets converging, deforming, transforming - and with new competitors, those able to leverage their privileged assets and operational capabilities, emerging from different industries; seemingly appearing from nowhere. Mechanization has run its course with most organizations are reasonably efficient at managing their internal processes; generally using the same tools and similar methods to achieve their outcomes. Competitive advantage is more about adapting to market opportunities and change FASTER than competitors than it is about sharpening pencils and cutting resources that support processes down to the bone. To survive and secure growth in this harsh trading environment, organizations require adaptive capabilities – rubber-walled buildings that can scale as a business grows, populated by a rubber-walled talent pool, equipped with rubber-walled IT.© 2012NDMC Ltd 6
  7. 7. WHITE PAPER| Displacing the Programmers Norms of Behaviour in Software Delivery The traditional view of applications development has been formed around the concept of mechanization: creating software applications that automate and formalize internal processes that rarely change in support of a business model and strategy that rarely changes. In a new era of market agility, leaders need and expect their IT to become just as adaptable as their organization needs to be. One of the inhibitors to change is the fact that the majority of people engaged in the authoring of software applications today are programmers and yet the activity of programming – its consequential impact on the time, cost and complexity of authoring new applications - is itself a barrier to innovation. A significant challenge of the change facing the IT industry is that the people that need to shape IT also need to be the same people that are close to the process – and those traditional skills that were once cherished will by necessity take a back- seat to a deeper understanding of business needs and processes. The norms of behaviour and attitudes that pervade in departments responsible for delivering effective information systems have evolved over decades and are unlikely to change within moments. It is taken as a given that it is less risky to purchase ready-to-use software applications rather than build them; that larger software companies make better software than smaller ones; that no software tooling could possibly have the dexterity to meet broad needs and remove the need for programming. To a large extent it serves the stakeholders of the IT industry – the large software companies, IT leaders and skilled IT professionals – to maintain this false status quo and avoid risk of change. But this status quo does not meet the needs of organizations facing bourgeoning IT costs and a slow pace of change – or knowledge workers whose business software tools fall short of their direct needs (and often poorer in quality than the applications Users enjoy on their mobile phone!). In order for norms of behaviour to change there has to be evidence of ‗something better that works‘.© 2012NDMC Ltd 7
  8. 8. WHITE PAPER| Displacing the Programmers A New Organizational Design It‘s unrealistic to expect change to happen in organizations ‗organically‘ when departmental structures encourage the status quo to pervade by operating budgets and incentives plans shaped around the reality of business behaviouras it works today. For this reason, some organizations are today creating improvement teams – so- called ‗organization departments‘ – that unite a blend of capabilities needed to affect and embed change into organizational culture. These departments blendskills 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. The Evolution of Something Better That Works… First launched in 2002, Encanvas® is a technology platform to facilitate the authoring of business applications on-demand in support of process improvement. Encanvas®Secure&Live™ is the second generation Encanvas®architecture that promises to arm organizations with rubber-walled IT that can grow and shrink according to need without traditional frictional costs of change. It removes much of the programming overhead associated with custom applications development and the requirement for many specialist tools needed to author business applications. Whilst Encanvas® changes the method of design, delivery and operational maintenance of IT, it does not fundamentally manifest changes in the operating environment: the applications it produces use the Microsoft® Web Platform and standard web browsers as their conduit to Users. Case studies suggest that the outcome of using Encanvas® is to cut applications time-to-market by at least a factor of ten and it produces applications and websites that can be as much as ten times cheaper to run.© 2012NDMC Ltd 8
  9. 9. WHITE PAPER| Displacing the Programmers About Encanvas® AgileWorkshop™ Encanvas® AgileWorkshop™ is a pre-shaped deployment of Encanvas® designed to equip organizations (and/or their technology providers) with the means to author situational applications in near real-time within a workshop environment that directly engages the intended stakeholders of the application being authored. How it works: 1. A new workspace is created on Encanvas Remote(Spaces)™. 2. A business analyst interviews stakeholders and defines the scope of the application and shapes the parameters of the workspace (data sources, users and user groups), requirements for records, processes, reports and meta-tables. A Case File is created. 3. From the detail captured in the Case File, an applications designer authors a prototype ‗canvas‘. 4. The 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 deployed. 5. Stakeholders test the application and feedback change requests to the business analyst. Changes are made remotely to the site. 6. Once the iterations have been completed, the application is signed off for general release. Notes: Look-and-feel parameters are pre-defined using a template to comply with a corporate standard. The design elements of Encanvas are pre-tested for performance tuning and browser compatibility so there is no need to conduct a testing/tuning phase. All components of the Encanvas architecture are built with security provisioning in mind. This means there is no risk of security protocols being unwittingly usurped during the design process. Data access security and user permissions management duties remain under the governance and scrutiny of IT administrators. Encanvas® AgileWorkshop™ creates a step-change in the way organizations approach how they source new applications for their business making it more cost effective and less of a risk to design and build new applications than procure off-the-shelf solutions. Many of the ‗jobs‘ in the lifecycle of authoring new applications are improved or made redundant by Encanvas® AgileWorkshop™. The next section qualifies each of these jobs and the impact of change.© 2012NDMC Ltd 9
  10. 10. WHITE PAPER| Displacing the Programmers 2. How Encanvas® AgileWorkshop™ Transforms Apps Authoring The generally acceptedstages of Application Life-cycle Management (ALM) are: (Install Platform) Deploy the applications environment (Design) Discovery and requirements analysis and design definition (Build) Applications authoring, testing and QA (Deploy)Deployment and documentation (Operate) User acceptance testing (Optimize) Iteration and optimization (GR) General release (Support) Support, monitor and review requirements These stages of Application Lifecycle are used to qualify the impact of Encanvas on the applications development process. Deploy the Applications Environment The job: Install hardware and software infrastructure Encanvas® Remote(Spaces)™ is a proprietary architectural component of the Encanvas® Secure&Live™ platform. It orchestrates the formation of private clouds on-demand using parameterized configuration settings delivered through administration tools. This technology resides at the Encanvas® data center and removes the obstacles of infrastructure setup and configuration. The job: Protect systems and data against loss and ensure systems resilience Encanvas® has been developed on the Microsoft® Web Platform and inherits all of the advantages of Microsoft‘s own platform security features designed with large enterprises in mind. Encanvas® employs its own Web Server used to orchestrate the on-demand serving of pages from Microsoft® SQL Server and other data repositories. This means it‘s not possible for hackers to target static web pages as they do not exist until served by Encanvas® Web Server™. Encanvas‘s User Permissions policies are based on the progressive assignment of permissions unlike other competitive systems that assign Users a standard level of permissions to then progressively remove them.© 2012NDMC Ltd 10
  11. 11. WHITE PAPER| Displacing the Programmers The job: Replicate and scale deployments Encanvas® is designed to scale painlessly, creating hundreds if not thousands of applications and workspaces from a single integrated platform. Its Web Server Manager™ cockpit provides administrators with full visibility over configuration settings. All aspects of deployed applications are configured through parameterized settings negating the need for programming or the manual setup of operating environments, log files etc. The job: Maintain the software environment New remote spaces (applications instances) can be created by systems administrators using the configuration tools of Encanvas® Remote(Spaces)™ without programming or the need to setup operating systems or applications environments. Discovery, Requirements Analysis and Design Definition The job: Determine Scope of Use Determine the role of the application and who will use it; Determine what core records and sub-records are required; Determine what processes are actioned by the application; Determine the data records and tables required; Determine reports required by stakeholder groups; Determine setup meta-tables. The job: Create a Case File and Job Definition Encanvas Casebook™ provides an online tool-set for creating a Case File and Job Definition for a design 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 case file builds a complete picture of requirements and the desired outcome. This knowledge of project activities builds for future review and scrutiny so learning lessons can be captured. The job: Create 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 captured in the case filefrom the 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‘. Applications Authoring, Testing and Tuning The job: Create an application that works through iteration A workshop normally involves a project manager, business analyst (author) and various stakeholders and contributors. Workshops take the form of a design forum where a prototype is considered and debated by participants and changes are made iteratively to the design. Some changes will be made immediately. Where the design needs considerable iteration, the workshop may be halted and re-convened once the bulk of change requests have been applied. The designer captures change requests and ensures the application progresses smoothly towards its ideal design (consistent to the case file outcome definition).© 2012NDMC Ltd 11
  12. 12. WHITE PAPER| Displacing the Programmers Deployment and Documentation The job: Publish 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. The job: Document 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. User Acceptance Testing The job: Have Users test the effectiveness and ease of use of the application 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 Encanvas Casebook™ that logs all User requests and posts them to the assigned business analyst. Iteration and Optimization The job: Make enhancements to the application in light of operational use 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. General Release The job: Accept the application for General Release Applications are made available for GR once the Project Manager is satisfied that: 1. The outcomes specified in the Casebook have been met in full. 2. Change requests 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.© 2012NDMC Ltd 12
  13. 13. WHITE PAPER| Displacing the Programmers The job: Release the application The exercise of releasing an application is more one of administration (i.e. changing the status of the project to GR in the Casebook) rather than making any significant changes to the deployment as by this time users will already be using the application. Support, Monitor and Review Requirements The job: Provide day-to-day User support on the application Day-to-day support of Encanvas applications is made easier by administrators having access to all Encanvas deployed applications from a single cockpit (Encanvas Web Server 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. 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. The ability to respond to support requests faster is aided by Encanvas Version-Rollback™ (VR) technology that ensures deployed applications and the Encanvas platform always remain on a consistent version (This obviates the need to load a previous platform version before correcting a bug or application discrepancy). The job: Respond to new change requests and iterate the application Even after deployment, Users will often make change requests for applications they use. How these are actioned and delivered will vary according to the design of the improvement and IT functions. 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. The job: Monitor and review requests for new applications Encanvas 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) which 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.© 2012NDMC Ltd 13
  14. 14. WHITE PAPER| Displacing the Programmers 3. Advantages of Encanvas over Programming Prior to technologies like Encanvas coming of age, the investors and stakeholders of new applications were consigned to a distant advisory role: often seeing theirnew applications for the first time as a fait accompliwhen presented by project teams post-development. The consequences of this ‗back-room‘ programming approach are well evidenced by the huge number of examples of failed IT projects over the last decade and beyond.Even when agile development team structures are employed, the issue of interpreting correctly the ‗best guess‘ of what stakeholders feel they need in an application remains. All too often, the ‗best-guess‘ of development teams soaks up all of the budget for a new applications development leaving stakeholders to make-do with the outcome because the money runs out before re-working can be completed. Encanvas makes it possible for organizations to embed IT adaptation into their change programmes, equipping business analysts with easier to master applications design and deployment tools; equipping them to author applications on-demand in a workshop environment. Encanvas overcomes the obstacles that have previously stood in the way of engaging applications stakeholders in real- time developments. The iterative workshop design methods embodied in Encanvas AgileWorkshop have proven to be more effective than programmatic development methods because designers can act on stakeholder feedback as it arrives without incurring high re-working costs. Each aspect of the applications design – from UI look-and- feel to applications data models and logic – can be iterated with the same tool as part of the same correction without having to involve a team of developers. This results in applications that reach their market ten times faster than when programmed and, thanks to technology innovations in the Encanvas Secure&Live platform like Version-Rollback™ (VR) and Massively-Scaling-Architecture™ (MSA) the company claims the resulting applications cost ten times less to run (when calculated as a life-time cost). The main applications development obstacles Encanvas overcomes are outlined on the following pages. De-skilling the authoring task to the power of 1 The expertise needed to author business applications is so diverse that few IT professionals could hope to equip themselves with all of this know-how were they using traditional tools and programmatic methods of authoring. There are, after- allso many IT disciplines to master when authoring an application - content© 2012NDMC Ltd 14
  15. 15. WHITE PAPER| Displacing the Programmers management, search, geo-mapping, database design, business intelligence and analytics to name just a few. Add to this the additional complexity that many of these technology disciplines are served by expert tools, each with their own approaches and integration tooling, and it‘s clear why so many IT projects have demanded teams of developers. With Encanvas, it has been proven time and again that one business analyst can design and deliver enterprise applications with a single tool-kit without need of expert tools or skills. This not only reduces the number of ‗applications authoring heads‘ around the workshop table to one, it also means the project management process is far less complex because ideas, opinions and concepts don‘t need to be acquired and put down on to paper, then transferred to a team of programmers working with a virtual blind-fold in a back- office somewhere. Speed of authoring Traditional programming takes a very long time to complete. Even with the advent of object based programming, the programming of new applications is measured in weeks and months. To have a group of people in a workshop ‗waiting for programmers to author code‘ would simply not work when developments take so long.Encanvas enables business analysts to pre-author basic applications prototypes including forms, data structures, user permissions structures and logic (etc.) prior to workshops with stakeholders because it‘s possible to iterate on- demand. Encanvas Casebook is used to acquire the base requirements of the application to form the basis of the prototype. This means not all design work needs to occur within a workshop. Access to existing data required for re-use The majority of information that business people use exists within back-office systems – thought to be in the order of 60% of content - and increasingly on the web (via web services and other formats like RSS and twitter). Encanvas includes tooling to acquire data from disparate sources, and in varied file formats, and makes information re-usable through its data mashup capabilities that include information workflow management, extract, transform and load capabilities, data connectors for most data silos and a data dictionary to assign friendly names to data. Encanvas provides capabilities to also design new data marts and structures including virtual views of data held in Microsoft® SQL Server™ databases. Lack of Stakeholder familiarity in programming and data modelling Most application users and investors are not familiar with how databases work or what programming code produces. When they see screens littered with script they feel disenfranchised and are likely to want to ‗leave the IT to the IT people‘ which immediately creates a barrier to innovation. Ability to achieve delivery of applications through workshops by providingthe critical-mass of application features Tool-kitslike Encanvas must offer the critical mass of componentsnecessary for buildingthe diversity of applications organizations demand to run their processes; to manage and analyse their data within the workshop context, Whenbusiness analysts are required to repeatedly resort to programming, or the integration of third party tools,they are effectively prevented from adopting thecollegiate workshop style project model.Encanvas is differentiated by its complete tool-kit with integral design elements fulfilling most common design requirements including:© 2012NDMC Ltd 15
  16. 16. WHITE PAPER| Displacing the Programmers Data entry forms supporting all popular form field formats including long- txt, short-text, formatted field, Date, Numeric, Images etc. Panels and conditional panels for managing groups of on-screen items and building logic between panels for purposes of presentation and control Document and content management Dashboard meters 2D and 3D reporting Search and discovery Data analytics with data tables and on-screen graphical presentation – including interactive spreadsheet style data views Social networking and URL sharing features Geo-spatial intelligence and data visualization Rich-text and text pop-up Directory services integration Email, video, twitter and social networking integration HTML/JavaScript and C# programmable frames Upload and download controls It is unlikely that an application unable to offer such a rich level of functionality would succeed in giving business analysts the tools they need to achieve outcomes in a workshop environment. Facilitatingan iterative applications development process No application is ever truly right-first-time. Developments follow a path of trial and error, with acknowledgement that new features and tools will suggest to stakeholders smarter ways of working that may not have been in the original vision of the application. As applications develop corrections are inevitable. With Encanvas, the point-and-click nature of the design environment and its control over all applications attributes (data source design and integration, user interface, logic, design element properties etc.) mean that wholesale changes can be instantly performed without having to incur large re-working overheads. Speed of deployment (transitioning from initial design to live application) Sometimes, applications delivery is halted while software infrastructure is installed or a pilot system is deployed on a live server environment. This can require new data structures to be created or new User Permissions structures to be formed. The web portal administration cockpit of Encanvas - Web Server Manager™ - removes these obstacles by parameterizing all of the Web Server settings without requiring secondary processes to ‗organize‘ the operational server environment. Reduced de-bugging, reduced time to resolution of bugs When applications are authored using the ready-shaped design elements of Encanvas, the number of ‗bugs‘ in deployed applications are reduced. Given that the design elements are pre-coded and configured through parameters, the nature of bugs is not one of ‗poor programming‘ but will have more to do with the way an application has been deployed, how it ‗joins‘ components, sources data, manages data integrity and applies logic. While each of these classes of software bug still can result in an unsatisfactory User experience, the nature of the bug is more easily identified and resolutions are easier to find through the simple English descriptions of error logs produced by the Encanvas Web Server Manager™ administration module.© 2012NDMC Ltd 16
  17. 17. WHITE PAPER| Displacing the Programmers Removal of testing and tuning procedures The platform of Encanvas is supplied with building blocks called design elements that are pre-tested for browser compatibility and pre-optimized for browser delivery. This means applications developed using Encanvas‘s native tools are ready to be deployed without additional testing or tuning. This dramatically reduces time-to-market and the traditional project overheads attached to delivering new applications. Reducing training/ documentation overheads through Rich-Internet Features Applications developed using Rich Internet tools offer greater versatility in the way pages are composed and presented to Users. Embracing AJAX technology means that highly personalised data views can be built on-the-fly for Users based on their preferences and User Group associations. Encanvas is a true Rich Internet application that‘s been built for the Web. It provides a very rich, friendly and visual User experience that dramatically reduces the need for help and documentation by providing applications that are intuitive and employ tools like wizards to guide Users through more complex processes. The illustration below examples the business impact of adopting Encanvas CAAD based on case studies compiled over the last 10 years.© 2012NDMC Ltd 17
  18. 18. WHITE PAPER| Displacing the Programmers 3. The Impact of Change on Programming Encanvas®, and products like it, do not spell the end of programming as a skill or professional: Like all applications Encanvas is built for a specific purpose and as such has a limited ‗designed-in‘ scope of use. In this case, the purpose of Encanvas® is to create business applications that serve the long-tail of demand for applications that exists within business organizations; largely driven by demands for process change and the forever changing needs of knowledge workers. The overwhelming majority of these use cases call for database-centric and analytical applications that gather, manage, share and report on aspects of process or business. The nature of business today requires these applications to be accessible from anywhere including mobile web browsers, tablets and PCs. It is for this purpose that Encanvas® exists. To serve this need, Encanvas® inherits a principle similar in concept to Lego® bricks. The pre-formed design elements used in Encanvas® adopt common parameters and interlocking mechanisms so they can be constructed in many millions of ways and yet they still don‘t require programming. Given that business applications tend to follow a common form, the use of this augmented tool-kit removes time, risk and complexity from the authoring process. The more sophisticated and predictable methods-based authoring process that platforms like Encanvas provide, enable traditionally arduous and time consuming repetitive programming tasks to be identified and progressively automated. In the case of Encanvas®, the automation of forms creation, data linking, data connectivity, repetitive mouse-click tasks, undo-redo actions etc. has reduced application authoring activities from months, to weeks, to days and in some cases hours and minutes. The use of a building block style platform for applications authoring also means that aspects of applications hygiene such as security management, tuning and testing (particularly browser testing which has more lately become a huge burden on development teams) can be pre-baked into the application platform, negating the need for individual deployments to undergo such an extreme testing and tuning cycle. While programming will always have its place in the creation of expert systems, the use of programming skills and tools to author applications that are variations on a theme is a poor use of resources and only serves to add unnecessary complexity and risk to process improvement initiatives.© 2012NDMC Ltd 18
  19. 19. WHITE PAPER| Displacing the Programmers 5. Conclusion The natural instinct of any professional in their field is to resist change when it threatens to impact on the value of their skills and ultimately their future earning potential. Computer programming is an expertise in relatively short supply and so it would be perfectly understandable for experts in this field not to want to see the methods used to create software applications change even if there are other segments where programming will remain a required art. But there is another factor at play here: Many IT professionals entered the computing industry because of their passion for technology and their belief in the possibilities that technology affords businesses and people by contributing to the achievement of stakeholder goals and furthering the ambitions of people. Experiences gained over the past decade of employing on-demand authoring tools suggest that professionals that embrace this technology become more valued by their peers and spend more of their time making IT do clever things, producing outcomes rather than programming mundane repetitive features, overcoming glitches, testing and tuning.There is a level of inevitabilityabout change; particularly when the rewards of change are so significant to the organizationsthat buy IT services as in this case. We can therefore draw the following conclusions, that: 1. The need tooperate more effective and more adaptive information systems at lower cost willcontinue to relentlessly drive commercial enterprises towards new applications authoring techniques and tools that will improve the quality of software, increase the likelihood of software development project success while reducing transitional costs. These techniques will inevitably (by unintended consequence rather than by design) reduce or remove the role of programming for those areas of the discipline that are repetitive in their nature, or in their outcome. 2. Encanvas has by now achieved a critical-mass of technical capabilities and an enviable track-record of project successes that evidences, arguably for the first time, that it is possible to create a tool-kit with suitable dexterity and operational attributes to enable an agile workshop authoring process. 3. Once the rewards of this step-change in software delivery performance become more known and better measured, the pace of adoption in the IT industry is likely to step up several gears – and those professionals with a deeper appreciation of the methods and tools in play are likely to find their skills in high demand.© 2012NDMC Ltd 19
  20. 20. WHITE PAPER| Displacing the Programmers Contact information About the Author Previously holding a series of Sales and Marketing Management and Directorship positions in the European IT industry, in 2002 Ian Tomlin co-founded the International Management Consultancy NDMC Ltd whose portfolio of clients includes some of the world‘s largest public and private sector organizations. With Nick Lawrie he co-authored ‗Agilization‘, a guide to regenerating competitiveness for Western World companies. Ian Tomlin has authored several other business books and hundreds of articles on business strategy, IT and organizational design including ‗Cloud Coffee House‘, a guide to the impact of cloud social networking on business and ‗Social Operating Systems‘, an exploration into the next generation of enterprise computing platform. About NDMC Ltd NDMC is a management consultancy that specializes in helping organizations to establish stretch strategies and build organizations with the means to become serial stretchers. We help organizations to create customer value and engineer a step-change in performance using a blend of methods and tools that create agility in operational capabilities. For further information please NDMC Ltd (Americas) +1 201 777 3398 (Europe) +44 1865 596151 All information of whatever kind and which is contained in this documentation shall be called for the purposes of this project ‗Confidential Information‘ and remains the property of NDMC Ltd.All trademarks and trade names used within this document are acknowledged as belonging to their respective owners.© 2012NDMC Ltd 20