OutSystemsDev Zone

The Departmental Web App – From Niche to Mission-Critical

There’s no pattern for innovation in an enterprise – while R&D might be responsible for driving new products, someone in logistics or facilities might think up the multi-million dollar selling feature as opposed to a product-design PhD.  The same goes for innovation with corporate IT – new applications aren’t always driven by developers but often by the specific necessities of a certain business unit, whether it’s sales, HR or management.

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These applications often start out as lowly Excel spreadsheets, passed around via email or on a shared drive within a division.  Then, someone internally with passable coding skills or maybe a sympathetic member of the IT team turns this spreadsheet into a low-level Web application, allowing it to be shared easily across the division.

The next stage of evolution occurs when someone higher up in IT or on the management team sees the app in action and envisions something greater.  Maybe the application could revolutionize the way the company tracks prospects internally or perhaps the app is a game-changer for the whole industry – they don’t quite know yet.  What they do know, however, is that the application, once specific to a single department, needs to be standardized for the business as a whole.  Now IT’s headache begins.

So how do you take what was once an Excel spreadsheet and turn into a standardized IT process?  It’s elementary…if you are using the Agile Platform.

Video 1: How to turn an Excel spreadsheet into a web app

It’s not just about turning an Excel spreadsheet into an application – plenty of point-and-click tools can do that.  The real problem lies in maintaining this application as it evolves into a strategic business tool – and the Agile Platform can help.  Business IT isn’t static – ever – so you need a development platform that can help you maintain, change and evolve not only your new found mission-critical applications but also your old warhorse commoditized IT applications.

Video 2: How to quickly change the web app

Learn more about turning Excel spreadsheets into Web applications.  Then, if you think our approach is interesting go do it yourself by downloading the free Community Edition of the Agile Platform and following the first tutorial.  I think you will find it amazing what you can do with the Agile Platform.

About the author

Mike Jones

Mike is a professed 'hater' of complexity. He has been in the IT industry since the mid 80's where he learned his technical skills at EDS and Texas Instruments. He believes there is a simpler way for IT professionals to deliver business value that requires a pragmatic mix of agile methods and application development tools.

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