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Soba Awards: Best use of Technology Award 2022

9 March 2023: Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

We were awarded a Star Outstanding Award for 2022 under “Best use of Technology.” This award was given in recognition of the low-code platforms we implemented when switching from Brightstar to Swap Asia Group in 2021.

Swap Asia has accumulated a fair amount of “legacy” applications built on technologies that, while not outdated, are becoming harder and harder to maintain, not only because of the complexity and effort required to support changes but also due to the increasing scarcity of skilled developers. Considering these factors, a decision was made to look for simpler-to-maintain technologies to develop the new set of applications. Not only should the new technologies be more friendly to maintain, but the learning curve to bring resources up to speed should also be less steep. This resulted in the selection of low-code / no code technologies.

While we cannot share absolute figures on technological expenditure, we can comment on one confirmed case that set us on a path to keep using low-code / no-code platforms. We had a requirement to replace a legacy system from scratch. Functionality was clearly defined since there was an existing system to use as a reference. When we contacted the market for potential vendors, we received a quotation from a “traditional” software development platform for RM 400k. At the same time, a vendor using a common code platform quoted us RM 60k for the same scope. While the implementation with the typical code vendor took longer than expected, the rollout was not only a success, but the application has undergone a round of additional enhancements after the initial go-live. Those additions were made “in-house.”

The low-code initiative was introduced to Swap Asia in November 2021 as an option for developing an essential piece of software inside the company’s Device Protection platform. At that time, the conventional alternatives were estimated at 8X-10X development cost and 1.5X – 2X timelines compared to the low-code alternative. Then, the decision was made to utilize low-code for this project. The implementation was highly successful and proved to be the right decision quickly. The main advantages of using low-code instead of traditional platforms in this case were:

  • Flexibility to cover new requirements: since the day of go-live, the IT department has started receiving new requirements for enhancements and changes to the system. The low-code platform allowed those enhancements to be covered in hours/days instead of days/weeks.
  • The low learning curve for new employees: onboarding new resources inside the project was more straightforward than on other platforms due to the simplicity of the low-code technology. During the current labor situation in Malaysia, where traditional developers are more complex and harder to find and maintain inside your workforce, using low-code, we also expanded our base to non-technical resources to start contributing to these projects.
  • Compliance with security requirements: even though the platform was designed to be used by non-technical resources, the architecture was designed and put in place to make sure that all security compliance requirements were met through this new technology platform

Ever since the first implementation, low-code was chosen for additional projects that had a similar pattern:

  • Simple requirements for front-end workflows
  • Faster turnaround time for semi-functional prototypes: the stakeholders can see what the solution will look like with 80% or more confidence
  • Flexible business rules that could be enhanced/changed if needed to adapt to new business requirements
  • Quick Go-To-Market strategy to launch a new product/service quickly and iterate faster on new versions in the future

The same advantages from the first experience were replicated in the subsequent implementations, allowing for lower-than-expected timelines and development costs.
Swap Asia is establishing low-code as part of its long-term technology strategy based on our successful experience implementing it.

2022 Winner List: https://soba.com.my/2022-winners/