How a low-code platform can deliver you from legacy

Whitepaper

How a low-code platform can deliver you from legacy

Financial markets are still over-reliant on outdated systems that are kept on life support by an endless succession of integration projects. But what if you could use integration to shrink the functional footprint of these systems until they become simple enough to remain, or be phased out without disruption?

92 out of 100 top banks still rely on IBM mainframes.”

– IBM (2017)

Legacy systems are a thorn in the side of financial markets; some have been around for decades which, as unfit for purpose as they often are, makes them difficult to do without.

The regulatory shortcomings of many legacy systems and their inability to support technological innovation (even the most fundamental innovation of cloud computing) forced financial markets to invest heavily in integrations. In one metaphor, APIs became the pieces of string that held everything together. Forrester1 put it more politely when it heralded the advent of “the API economy”. The “spaghetti architecture” of these integrations (to use another metaphor) does not solve the core legacy problems, because businesses will be writing more and more APIs for as long as the outdated systems remain in place. However, the technology of low-code paves the way for a different integration scenario whereby the functionalities of legacy systems are replaced piece by piece.

An obvious but by no means simple first step is to understand the full functional footprint of the legacy system’s architecture. Having identified all data-feeds flowing upstream and downstream through multiple systems, it will be possible to use modern low-code techniques to create the necessary integration protocols for an efficient IT architecture layout that is robust and efficient without the need for immediate legacy replacement. These feed mechanisms become the gate keeper to protect the legacy systems architecture, encapsulating it and obfuscating its existence. With control of the feeds it is also possible to rapidly replace the user interfaces of these legacy systems, while retaining the core functionality in the legacy stack.

The mitigation strategy should be to steadily shrink the functional footprint, prioritizing functions that the legacy architecture finds challenging. Over time, as the footprint shrinks, the technology debt is reduced, costs become more manageable and agility increases. The legacy IT landscape will then either become simple enough for it to remain, or the task to replace it completely will be much more feasible.

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End-User Computing

Whitepaper

End-User Computing: Why financial markets can finally mitigate the risks and inefficiencies

Low Code Application Platforms enable firms to quickly replace EUC solutions that pose a regulatory threat or have outlived their usefulness, while putting IT departments back in charge.

“By 2024, low-code application development will be responsible for more than 65% of application development activity.”

– Gartner

End-User Computing has been an invaluable tool for financial markets because it gave firms rapid and by its very nature ideally customized solutions to problems IT did not have the resource to resolve. Financial markets turned a blind eye to the potential risk of relying on solutions that operated outside normal regulatory processes because EUC for the most part proved highly effective – in the short-term anyway. While the financial crisis of 2008 dispelled the complacency, the constraints on IT did not go away. EUC risk could not be mitigated by the one approach that would remove the risk: replacing it with solutions that IT could monitor and control.

Financial markets are under intense pressure to curb costs – and IT soaks up a significant portion of the budget. Even successful EUC solutions eventually show their age and become an operational and cost liability, so replacing them would save a lot of money. But as we saw, IT has no room for manoeuvre to do that in a meaningful way.

However, the assumption that IT is powerless has been turned on its head by a new generation of Low Code Application Platforms that dramatically reduce the code needed – and therefore the time – to develop new solutions. This means it is finally feasible for IT to develop compliant and cost-effective solutions to replace EUC. This cannot happen overnight because EUC tools and models are pervasive in every sector of financial markets. Firms have to be strategic about which EUC solutions, or which market sectors, they need to “clean up” first. This will inevitably be a painstaking process, but the low-code approach ensures rapid progress so firms can quickly see the results of their hard work in removing risky and inefficient EUC from their technology landscapes.

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Low-Code - The future for Capital Markets business applications

Whitepaper

Low-Code - The future for Capital Markets business applications

It is faster, more efficient, and is already transforming industries. How can capital markets take advantage of low-code programming?

Low-code programming significantly reduces the lines of code you need to create applications – so you can build, integrate, and deploy faster than ever. It is already expected to surpass traditional coding as the application delivery platform of choice. Gartner estimates that “by 2024, low-code application development will be responsible for more than 65% of application development activity.”

“By 2024, low-code application development will be responsible for more than 65% of application development activity.”

– Gartner

As capital markets firms face increasing pressure to deliver fast, value-add services, is now the time to make the jump to low-code? In this white paper, we examine the new breed of low-code application platforms (LCAPs) and whether they can help capital markets firms build new systems quickly and easily, to help them address today’s fast-moving trends.

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