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Boston’s Quick Base Buys Bulgarian Cloudpipes — Because Low-code Needs An Integration X-Factor

Low-code software programmers work much faster, some create a natural blur inside the office.

Quick Base

Building software applications is really difficult. Of course it is; you need to go and study software engineering and programming for somewhere between five and seven years before anyone in their right mind would let you loose at the wheel of a live production software code environment.

But building software is getting easier (in some instances) because we now have the ability to package discrete elements of software logic into low-code platforms where developers can in many cases use drag-and-droppable controls to change the way software applications behave.

This is great news and the industry has been fuelled with truckloads low-code hype celebrating these new technology platforms and their accompanying methodologies… but there is a problem.

Legacy linking letdowns

It’s all very well using low-code platforms to build new ‘greenfield’ software application estates. They also work pretty well when the programmers in question have good sight of and access to software that needs to be managed and changed. But, they start to struggle a little more when we need to connect and integrate new low-code innovations with our existing base of legacy software, which is old, but still eminently useful, so we’re not getting rid of it.

If we follow this argument, what low-code needs is a little more integration muscle. 

This is the strategy that has defined Boston-based low-code software company Quick Base’s decision this month to acquire Sofia, Bulgaria-based Cloudpipes, a cloud-based integration and automation platform. 

“The acquisition of Cloudpipes represents a big step forward in our strategic vision that will redefine the low-code category… and more importantly, give businesses something they now need – a platform that can connect their data and unite their people across the enterprise on a common development platform,” said Rick Willett, CEO, Quick Base. “Every business is now built with software and success requires a wide range of people working together to create applications that are connected, custom-tailored and continuously improved. It became very obvious to us that to accomplish that goal we needed to make it easy to build powerful integrations and workflow automations, and Cloudpipes carries us years forward on our vision to deliver that.”

Integration & automation X-factor

With the integration of Cloudpipes, Quick Base claims to be the first enterprise low-code development provider to merge its platform with an integration and workflow automation platform.

Chief product and technology officer at Quick Base Jay Jamison insists that the acquisition creates a software platform that fully integrates with other business applications, connects data from legacy systems and offers robust native automation tools. He says that this will help address the most pressing needs of both functional technologists and IT developers.

“Today’s enterprises face the challenge of disconnected data – the result of having multiple siloed systems that often don’t talk to each other, which leads to a lot of error-prone and repetitive manual work,” said Boris Raicheff, CEO, Cloudpipes. 

The new platform will provide enhanced integration functionality, including a visual integration builder, a workflow engine and the ability to connect applications behind the firewall to other cloud services. Quick Base will be able to directly integrate with a wide range of business applications, such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) systems, adding a customization layer to those systems of record on a common platform IT can govern centrally. 

Through Quick Base, users will now have a unified view across applications, with the ability to push and pull data and insights from application to application and from legacy systems, automating workflows that have traditionally been out of reach or difficult to maintain. 

Different, or same-same?

So is Quick Base (with or without integration loveliness from Cloudpipes) really that different from other low-code software platform players such as Mendix, Skuid, OutSystems, Pega or the often cited Appian?

When questioned on this point directly, Quick Base’s official sources confirmed that Quick Base more often coexists than competes with Appian. 

The biggest difference being that Quick Base is more a cloud-based database designed for business people to build custom applications while Appian (to use the company as a differentiating example) is a digital process automation product for professional developers and process modelers to build and manage complex, long-running processes. Forrester no longer includes Appian in the low-code wave, but when it did, it was the low-code wave for professional developers. It now includes Appian as a leader in the digital process automation (DPA) wave.  So to reiterate, often, Quick Base is used by business teams and Appian by IT.

Quick Base’s chief product and technology officer Jay Jamison added further color by saying that his firm’s technology delivers a ‘best of both worlds’ offering.

“What’s important about that is that Quick Base enables subject matter experts who are non-technical to streamline and solve problems they encounter in their work, whereas low code platforms tend to help make pro-developers more productive. What customers will tell us specifically is that for solving problems, it’s far faster and more effective to teach Quick Base to their subject matter experts than it is to teach a professional developer the subject matter expertise needed for them to credibly solve the problems they’re assigned. With Cloudpipes, the power we are giving to our customers will grow exponentially, as it will get so much easier for users to build solutions that span a range of SaaS and third-party systems,” said Jamison.

The new, combined Quick Base and Cloudpipes team are working together to ensure that customers of each company see the value of the combined platform as soon as possible, which Quick Base expects to bring to market by the end of 2019. 

 

Adrian Bridgwater, Contributor

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