Appian's Quick Apps Move Citizen Developers Toward Digital Transformation
With the older tools, when you built something there wasn't an opportunity to expand on it later. So you would have these non-technical developers building things but then when requirements expanded or they needed to extend the app to do more they hit a brick wall, Richardson said. "They had to redevelop everything," he added. Yet, with Appian a citizen developer can get started with Quick Apps and address their immediate need and then later on when they want to expand on that they have the Appian Platform underneath that they can continue building upon, he noted. "It gives you the best of two worlds," Richardson said. "You can get started very quickly, but you are not hitting a ceiling after you roll the app out. That's the piece that's very different from what we’ve seen in the past."Sidney Fernandes, CIO of University of South Florida, which has been using Appian since last August, told eWEEK that from a user perspective he was excited about Quick Apps, but from a CIO perspective, he had some concerns about managing the use of the tool. Fernandes said he was initially concerned about the possibility of "Quick Apps sprawl" and whether a Quick Apps application could take down the main system. "But those are things that Appian has thought about and they have built in guardrails for the product to prevent this. I was happy to hear about that," he said. Moreover, Fernandes said several users from the University of South Florida were at the conference and they "could'’t control their excitement" about the possibilities with Quick Apps, "because they could prototype a business system and actually have it work," he noted. "I think the possibilities for enabling the citizen developer are amazing. With Quick Apps I see the opportunity for opening this up a little more to our users and saying if you have something that is a simple workflow and requires just a simple integration, take a whack at it." Richardson said the move toward low-code development platforms is driven by a developer shortage. The Department of Labor is projecting a shortage of 500,000 developers in 2020, he said. "So we see organizations turning to these platforms as a way to deal with that developer gap," Richardson said. "So these citizen developers can build some pretty sophisticated apps, but you still have to have some guardrails in place—because they are not learning true object-oriented programming concepts like polymorphism and class inheritance."
Indeed, Appian's Quick Apps is born out of that market demand where companies not only want to accelerate IT development to create solutions faster, but also to empower non-technical staff with a solution where they can actually build apps that IT feels comfortable with, which is a careful balance between the development teams and the business users, Ross said.