Low-code to no-code
„Ah ha, wadde hadde dudde da?
Wadde dudde da da hat
Hat ich schon vor ‘nem Jahr
Ne, ne, dat war weder dat dat oder dat da
Wie dat dat wat war
Ich dachte dat dat dat war
Wat dat da war
Dat is noch immer nich klar“Wadde hadde dudde da – Stefan Raab
SAP recently announced that they acquired AppGyver (SAP News DE, EN, AppGyver, Heise). AppGyver offers a no-code solution and SAP wants to use it to strengthen their no-code capabilities in the Business Technology Platform. SAP wants us to see this acquisition in the context of SAP RISE. I guess this is mostly because nowadays all needs to be linked somehow to SAP RISE to assure a certain media perception is given on the topic. For those wondering about the “broaden” part of the news: SAP already has a no-code solution: SAP Ruum. SAP’s low-code solution is MDK, which comes with Mobile Services (not the old MDK than came with MI).
Do you wonder what AppGuyver actually is? From their website:
„The world’s first professional no-code platform, enabling you to build apps for all form factors, including mobile, desktop, browser, TV and others.“
Founded in 2010, SAP press release claims AppGuyver to be a pioneer in no-code development. Their product Composer Pro allows users to create React Native apps via drag&drop. It’s not a shame to not have heard of them before. With the acquisition, 18 people strong App Guyver from Helskinki is joining SAP. With that head count you can imagine that they are not offering the same enterprise support SAP customers are used to. Or they build very easy to use, error free software that sells and supports itself.
Let’s buy a zoo
AppGuyer is in competition with SAP’s other no-code solution: Ruum. Ruum was shown prominently at SAP TechEd 2020 and is part of BTP and therefore of SAP RISE. No-code for sure is a very interesting approach to provide value to SAP customers. Especially for the easy apps that focus on a very specific problem. That’s where no-code solutions can be used by end users to solve a problem, without having to go through a development process. Which one is going to survive? Both? Ruum or AppGuyver or neither one of them? Is SAP interested in the product, or in the people? Adding to no-code is SAP’s low code offering: MDK and Mendix. Mendix is even managed in the press release. Yet, the offering is not as prominently marketed as in the beginning. Maybe because SAP came up with their very own MDK in the meantime.
SAP is now offering 4 different solutions for no-code and low-code. SAP was and will be always somewhat obsessed with tools that empower the (power) user. Back in the days Visual Composer was marketed as a low-code solution. Personas allows tech savvy functional consultants to enhance the SAP experience and add significant value to traditional transactions (and WDA), enabling an impressive ROI. Fiori Elements (FE) with personalization allows end users to adjust complex FE apps to their needs. All share a common problem: they depend on a rock solid backend API. For no/low-code to work, you need ready-to-call feature complete APIs. If you ever participated in a Fiori project, you know that too often the API (OData service) is missing features like: GetEntitySet, filter, sort, expand, GetEntity, etc. What was missed yesterday is breaking the dream of no/low-code of tomorrow.
Apps add more value than tools
For no-code and low-code solutions SAP must ensure that there is a high enough user base. Both are serving the same goal: make it easy to create apps for specific business scenarios. Both are not aiming for the big solution for complex scenarios. Individuals, functional teams, maybe supported by a developer or functional consultant with the needed module knowledge. Naturally, SAP needs to provide an easy to go enablement path. Examples on how to use the tools. Give ideas to inspire people to create new solutions to ongoing problems.
SAP Personas comes with a nice list of example flavors. Users can see what is possible as well as learn how a specific action can be done in Personas. The same must be provided by SAP for Ruum, AppGuyver and MDK. So far, the showcase app for MDK is Asset Manager. Not enough to serve as a good starting point for user adoption as its too complex. SAP needs to deliver no/low code apps and not just the platform to create those. This way SAP delivers examples on how to use it, as well as has to support those apps.
My guess is that AppGuyver is going to vanish over time and that SAP is interested in their knowledge. And I won’t be surprised if Ruum is going to vanish too. Maybe a name will stay, but the next year will be busy and, in the end, a new no-code product will be released. As for low-code, MDK is going to stay and let’s see for how long SAP will still let Mendix stay as a first-class citizen in BTP.
SAP is strengthening its no-code and low-code portfolio. Looking at my customers, I’d like to see SAP not only announce a better integration of Microsoft Teams, but to put the same effort into supporting the integration of other no/low-code solutions like Microsoft Logic Apps, Power Apps or partner solutions like simplifier. Continuing the current path, SAP customers will get the problem of having to run several no/low-code solutions. That’s exactly the opposite why to choose this coding approach. Instead of having few solutions that allow end users to create their own app, there will be many solutions. Ending up in many solutions with each running few apps instead of few solutions running many apps. Happy upgrading and supporting. Even when these no/low-code solutions are nice for the end user; someone still has to manage them. For those people, these are not really no/low-effort solutions. Maybe SAP can announce the next time a deeper integration with Microsoft no/low-code solutions. And provide a list of sample apps that can serve as an accelerator for many customers.