What is Rapid Application Modeling?
You hear a lot of talk about new fast ways of implementing business applications. The term Rapid Application Modeling appears more and more. But what is Rapid Application Modeling exactly? Rapid Application Modeling, in short RAM, is a new method that enables business and process owners to create software solutions without involvement of programmers. Business solutions can be launched in a fraction of the time and cost and allows for the continuous adaption to changing business requirements.
Rapid Application Modeling: a history overview
Traditional application development follows the so called Waterfall model. A typical implementation follows below phases in order:
1. System and software requirements: captured in a product requirements document
2. Analysis: resulting in models, schema, and business rules
3. Design: resulting in the software architecture
4. Coding: the development, proving, and integration of software
5. Testing: the systematic discovery and debugging of defects
6. Operations: the installation, migration, support, and maintenance of complete systems
The Waterfall model maintains that one should move to a phase only when its preceding phase is reviewed and verified. Although a logical process in itself, business reality shows that this method does not bring the desired results.
If you happen to think adopting Agile is only for software development OR Agile completely solves your problems, then check this article from TCGen, Waterfall or Agile? on their take on using Agile in hardware development.
You are probably familiar with below cartoon, but have a look again, as it perfectly explains the issues with the Waterfall method.
Challenges of the Waterfall method
The Waterfall Method comes with several challenges:
1. It is very difficult to clearly and completely describe the requirement
Functional analysts create large documents describing all the requirements. This takes a lot of time in writing and reviewing. Still, it is not sufficient enough to guide the programmers in making the right design and implementation decisions that will surface. Even despite SCRUM and Agile methods, at times, programmers will still have to guess what the customer really wanted.In addition to that, people have different mental contexts. What is important for a programmer is not important for a business owner and vice versa. And despite clear communication practices, developers might not fully grasp the very essence of a business requirement.
2. Business is ever evolving
With a competitive business landscape, business is and should be ever evolving. Therefore, requirements for a business applications are ever evolving. In order to accommodate this, the person(s) creating the solutions should be in constant contact with the business owner(s). The creator(s) should be able to understand the business side of the solution and acts as a partner
3. Business owners cannot fully explain what they need
Business and process owners are very clear on the benefits of the solution. They might however not be familiar with what that means from a technical implementation point of view. In fact, only when the application has been developed, the business owner can clearly explain what he or she really needs. And very often,that is not what has just been created.
The benefits of Rapid Application Modeling
To put it simple, with Rapid Application Modeling (RAM), software do not longer have to be programmed. The RAM platform has automated the programming, so businesses no longer need programmers for their business applications. The focus can be entirely on the business process and the usability of the application for the end users. By modeling the flow of the process, an entire software solution can be created. Therefore, the discussion is no longer whether it is technically feasible. The question is: what is possible? Business or process owners can implement the solution themselves, or hire professionals to do that. For more on this, read our article Rapid Application Modeling: Should you hire a WEM consultant or learn WEM yourself?
Solutions for Rapid Application Modeling
There are several Rapid Application Modeling solutions. At Webbit21, we have chosen for the WEM platform. What is WEM? WEM offers very intuitive ways to model the business process and create the software solution with just a few clicks. Juxtaposed to other platforms, we believe WEM is truly no-code platform. The other platforms we have seen are at best low-code platforms. This means the business still need programmers. Read also our post on : Comparing Application Platform as a Service solutions.