There are still a ton of integrators selling MultiValue databases as the guts of their offerings. MultiValue is found in ERP systems and university administration systems and automotive dealer management systems and retail and service and healthcare and so much more. These integrators are called “VARs”, value added resellers. Some of these VARs are leaders within their marketplaces, some are just hanging on by their fingertips. Everyone started out with green screens. They created Pick application screen displays that fit into an 80 column by 24 row grid. Most MultiValue VARs started doing business at least 20 years ago. My, how the world has changed.
End-user companies fall into two categories, those that created their applications from scratch and those that bought a package from a VAR then customized it! How many “innovations” have been added to MultiValue applications since they were originally created? Merriam-Webster says that innovation refers to something new or to a change made to an existing product, idea or field.
I will bet that the more successful VARs spent years and perhaps millions of dollars to “modernize” their applications. The same goes for end-user organizations. What they most likely accomplished was modifications of the old legacy applications adding a pretty presentation layer – GUI. They did little to create new apps that would increase profitability or contribute to a company’s growth. Each of these businesses probably invested in different technology stacks to accomplish the same thing. They all developed the “new stuff” using long-hand coding that took many months or even years to deploy. Most of the new stuff was concentrated on replacing green screen with GUI and perhaps having it run as web applications. For this discussion, Accuterm is not included as modern GUI!
Twenty years ago VARs saw their competition offering GUI; end-user companies saw everyone using GUI. Some began the modernization process then. Some are still wondering where to begin. A few even believe they can live with green screen-based applications because they have such great “features/functions”.
Covid-19 presented the world with the largest business disruption since the great depression leading into World War II. During the early part of the pandemic business took a significant drop-in activity. Companies finally had the time to reassess everything from manufacturing processes to ecommerce. IT became a focus in ways they never had before. They were entrusted in finding new ways to create company worth.
Companies that created innovative new apps during the pandemic focusing on their customers’ user experience were the winners in the Covid-19 war. Those organizations most likely used a low-code rapid app development platform because among other things, low-code provides for exceptionally fast development times.
Some businesses may have developed web applications that consume MultiValue data and may use DataBasic (maybe Python, maybe PROC) business logic. How many of those applications focused on evolving customer behaviors or market conditions; how many were designed to run on phones and tablets? How many new apps were produced during the pandemic that were customer and market focused or took advantage of new technologies? If new app introduction was based upon modifications to the MultiValue legacy software, I don’t think they introduced (m)any!
The vast majority of MultiValue developers do not know how to create mobile apps or how to seamlessly integrate mobility with desktop applications! There is little innovation if any that makes modernized applications from MultiValue VARs stand above their competition.
How many MultiValue based ecommerce offerings include innovations like Chatbots, signature panels or Artificial Intelligence or can quickly adapt (agility) to ever-changing business requirements and technologies? If they were developed by the Evoke low-code RADP, there would be many!
Here is an example of a technology that all MultiValue players can leverage if they use Evoke development. How about including an integrated and adaptable 360° imaging virtual tour capability within a MultiValue based app? Imaging provides for searching, browsing and inspection of any store, venue, property, factory, car interior, car exterior, the human body – anything through the integrated features of an Evoke created app. How about having it run on desktop, tablet. watch and phone?
Full function virtual tour experiences can be incorporated directly into a retail app. It will allow consumers to browse around a store, click on an item, inspect it, suggest new offerings based upon past purchases, place items in the shopping cart for later checkout and purchase. Did I say the back end could be MultiValue data and the business logic DataBasic? It could also be SQL or Oracle, or SQL and Oracle and MultiValue.
Evoke 360° development includes and is not limited to:
- Panoramic images with optional auto rotation
- Multiple levels of images (via hotspots) to provide a virtual tour
- user defined hot-spots that run routines/click actions/link to URLs
- Images can be identified in the database and uploaded for additional flexibility
- Easy to use navigation through various views, hotspots, full screen and return options, more
Designed for multiple purposes, across multiple industry sectors Evoke’s innovative, adaptable 360° virtual tour capability dramatically changes the way companies interact with their customers, users and staff.
Sadly, the MultiValue marketplace is not growing. The major vendors are more interested in keeping their base and perhaps “stealing” customers from the other vendors than providing innovative technologies that will grow MultiValue. No one licenses MultiValue to create new applications. New entrants into the MultiValue world are here because they bought an application from a MultiValue VAR. And no, RESTful Web Services is not the answer to MultiValue market growth.
Main stream company management has begun to focus on customer and employee user experiences; mobile devices are the primary conduit. They want to be able to use the latest technologies. They want their employees to create new apps and modernize the legacy applications without sending them to MIT to learn the new technologies. They want to leverage their back-end legacy software and data to provide a user experience that will increase sales and profit and contribute to company growth. They want to do it without spending lots of money, time and resources.
What if there was a way to bring innovative technologies to MultiValue? What if it was as easy to create desktop, mobile (native if you want) and web apps (all from a single design) as the creation of a green screen application was 25 years ago? What if it could be done by current staff, both technical and departmental? What if it cost less to create new apps, integrating the back end legacy data and Data Basic code and was at least 10 times faster to create than using long-hand coding methods? 360° development is but one of the many innovative features that Evoke brings to MultiValue, easy mobile app development is another.
Whether you know it or not, you need to investigate low-code platforms. Evoke from BlueFinity International is the only low-code platform that supports MultiValue. Evoke supports Oracle, SQL and others as well. Developers using Evoke can easily bring innovation to MultiValue based apps and applications in this constantly changing business world!