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Tech Tuesday: 11 low-code and open-source tools that can help move the needle in your business

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Tech Tuesday: 11 low-code and open-source tools that can help move the needle in your business

Dynamic Business’s Tech Tuesdays column is dedicated to the businesses and products that have made great contributions to the tech industry, are pushing the boundaries of technology, and are redefining the future.

With technology’s ever-increasing presence in our lives and businesses across all industries becoming digital, there is a steady demand for IT skills. The task now is to close the skill gap and make it possible for people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who lack higher education to compete.

We’ve gathered a list of low-code solutions that can be game changers for developers and organisations that now need to spend less time on time-consuming manual coding processes, more time-solving business challenges, and provide faster answers for this week’s edition.

SnapLogic

SnapLogic is a low/no-code platform designed to help transform businesses from the inside out while driving operational efficiencies at scale. As a self-service, easy-to-use integration platform, SnapLogic allows non-technical departments such as marketing, HR, finance and business development to quickly and easily integrate systems and automate processes without relying on IT. As Gartner notes, citizen integrators can help organisations democratise IT, take the load off of busy IT teams, scale technology capability across the enterprise and speed up business outcomes. 

SnapLogic is helping to pioneer a simpler journey to digital transformation for companies around the globe, regardless of their technical acumen, with this game-changing low/no-code integration solution. “Fast, agile organisations understand that integrating disparate systems and automating core processes are critical to accelerating business growth and success. This was true before the pandemic but is even more so now. The market for application and data integration continues to evolve and grow — Gartner has projected that the iPaaS market will grow to over $5.6 billion by 2024,” says SnapLogic VP of Products Mark Gibbs.

Kissflow

Kissflow is a unified work platform for enterprises to fast-track digital transformation. The platform combines the entire work management spectrum into a unified experience for enterprise-wide users by embracing the low-code/no-code paradigm. Whether it is automating processes, digitizing your operations, managing requests, or building custom applications, with Kissflow you can do it all within an integrated platform. Business users can take control of their digital needs while IT leaders can continue providing a secure and scalable platform for digital growth.

Hundreds of global and Fortune 500 brands such as Airbus, Pepsi, McDermott, Comcast and Danone rely on Kissflow to simplify and optimize their work. Kissflow has been featured and recognised as an industry leader by Gartner, Forrester and G2.

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Smartsheet

Smartsheet is the no-code work management platform that enables your team to innovate without bounds and truly deliver business value. No-code is the software revolution sweeping through today’s tech-driven world, empowering anyone to create advanced applications without needing to write a single line of code. The keys to scaling and innovation used to sit primarily with software developers, but now, they are universally held by those with a pulse on the business: the workforce. 

From simple tasks to complex projects, Smartsheet’s no-code solution accelerates modern business innovation by connecting teams, automating workflows and unifying activities for faster time-to-value and team efficiency. One such solution is Smartsheet’s WorkApps, which lets you create easy-to-navigate web and mobile applications in minutes without the need for coding expertise. 

Companies like Uber showcase how no-code can be leveraged to save time and streamline communications. Uber used WorkApps to solve workflow inefficiencies for teams within the performance marketing group, saving 1,000 staff hours on planning and increasing customer lifecycle development by 40-45%.

Servicely  

Servicely is an AI-Powered low code platform with an embedded self-learning AI capability that observes and learns how work is done to be able to augment staff and automate work in machine time across the enterprise. Servicely’s low-code platforms enable customers to rapidly turn manual processes and workflows into digitally transformed automated workflows using a single system of record to capture and track work across the enterprise.  The Servicely self-service portal functionality includes an intelligent virtual agent to help solve issues and requests instantly and autonomously using the latest natural language understanding technologies.

An application example for service desks and call centres is the ramp time for new agents to come up to speed and be proficient in handling calls. The Servicely platform learns from the best agents how tasks are handled to provide augmented assistance to newer agents on how to deal with calls. Over time Servicely gets smarter and can automate diagnostics in machine time, reducing call handle times by over 50 per cent.

The product was launched in August 2021.

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SYSPRO

Low-code/no-code tools are designed to make it easy for non-technical people to design, build, and launch applications quickly.

Manufacturers can use low code supported platforms to address internal business challenges such as changing a business process, the improvement of operations across the shopfloor, and enhancing supply chain efficiencies.

It is vital that low code tools can connect with a system such as SYSPRO Cloud ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software. It is a functionally-rich cloud ERP system that provides a scalable and adaptable business solution. It can be securely accessed via a web browser on any device, from anywhere.

Specialising in the Manufacturing and Distribution sectors, SYSPRO ERP (https://au.syspro.com/) helps to manage data and gain business insights by providing a full view of all business activities, including financial, warehouse and inventory management, across the supply chain and business operations. Manufacturers can also make decisions based on real-time data and improve customer satisfaction due to improved productivity.

A product video can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xDnAwleGgQ.

PRIME BPM 

PRIME BPM is a powerful cloud-based, low-code, no-code Business Process Management Platform designed to meet the requirements of both—business users and business process experts. The plug-and-play software comes with an inbuilt methodology to empower organisations to easily and accurately map, analyse, improve and automate their business processes. Combining the power of methodologies, including BPM, Lean, Six Sigma, and Value Stream Mapping, the intuitive platform helps organisations derive the maximum output from their improvement journey. 

The software comes packed with best-in-class functionalities, including process prioritisation as per criticality; automatic insights on process efficiency, cost and value; and inbuilt governance, risk and compliance module. It also helps organisations simulate scenarios to understand the potential cost savings of the improvements. 

“At PRIME BPM, we believe in not just providing software but are committed to ensuring BPM success. We work closely with our customers to understand their pain points and create a bespoke journey to help them achieve their business milestones and put them on a growth path,” says Mark Khabe, Co-Founder, PRIME BPM. 

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monday.com’s Work Operating System (Work OS) enables the technical and non-technical workforce to meet business goals and objectives by using no-code, low-code technologies. This approach helps departments from sales, creativity and marketing through to HR focus on high-value work, giving employees the independence to build apps that improve overall business results. 

A robust, scalable foundation that you can build on to create your ideal workflows, no-code, low-code gives power to the people by democratising the software’s capabilities. As organisations search for unique ways to help employees step outside their comfort zones into new technology territories, monday.com’s no-code, the low-code platform provides the entire workforce with access to applications, forms and integrations through a robust low-code framework. 

Through this model, employees are empowered to create new unique applications designed to solve the toughest of business challenges while automating core business tasks that boost profitability.  

The monday.com No-Code, Low-Code Work OS platform is available via https://monday.com. 

Asana Flow & Asana Rules

Asana is a leading work management platform that’s pioneering the future of work. More than 126,000 paying customers and millions of free organisations across 190 countries use Asana to orchestrate their work, from small projects to strategic initiatives. 

Earlier this year, Asana launched Asana Flow, a new suite of offerings democratising the ability to build end-to-end workflows in just a few clicks – no coding required. Powered by the Asana Work Graph’s unique ability to capture how work fits together up, down and across an organisation, Workflow Builder enables customers to build and automate connected processes, giving teams real-time visibility and improving cross-functional collaboration. With Template Library, teams can leverage best practices, including creative production and product launch templates, inspired by the world’s most innovative companies using Asana.

And with Rules, teams can quickly streamline processes and automate routine tasks, freeing them up to focus on the most critical, high-impact work. In fact, teams using Asana report Rules save everyone more than 70 manual steps per week.

GitHub Copilot

Dedicated no-code tools typically make it easy to get started with coding, but you quickly hit the ceiling when doing more advanced tasks. GitHub Copilot – an AI pair programmer that helps you write code faster and with less work – removes the entry point into normal programming, but there is no ceiling: you are working with the same powerful tools as the experts. We believe that GitHub Copilot has the potential to lower barriers to entry, enabling more people to explore software development and join the next generation of developers.

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In a survey distributed to 17K developers during GitHub Copilot’s technical preview, over 75% self-reported that when using Copilot, they spend less mental effort on repetitive programming tasks, focus on more satisfying work, and stay in the flow.

Ultimately, Copilot takes the ‘boring’ out of coding – learners can focus on timeless concepts instead of struggling to learn the details of today’s APIs. The work can now focus on the truly creative parts of the job. Programming is now about design – decomposing a large problem into smaller ones – and then specifying what the smaller blocks should do. The AI will fill in the details. It’s so exciting to imagine all the amazing apps that the next generation will build, powered by unbridled human creativity, and aided by AI. A career in coding has never looked so bright!

Unit4 

“Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is one of the most useful workflow platforms for businesses today. In the wake of a potentially looming recession, where businesses across all industries are trying to cut costs and do more with less, ERP helps organisations increase productivity and generates cost savings. 

“Unit4’s state-of-the-art cloud platform, ERPx, brings together the capabilities of Financials, Procurement, Project Management, HR and FP&A onto a unified cloud platform that shares real-time information and is designed with a powerful, people-centric approach, so employees can benefit from the better insight and become more effective and increasingly engaged. Not only does it support rapid and continuous change while delivering an individualised fit for customers at scale, but it also delivers the right tools to unify the processes across your organisation and connect your people. We’ve also recently acquired Scanmarket, our new Procure to Pay solution that helps ensure companies are getting the most out of their supplier relationships.

“By implementing ERP into your business, employees can optimise workforce efforts effectively, increasing productivity, execute informed business decisions through data-driven insights and ultimately save your organisation valuable time and resources.”

Zoho Creator

Zoho Creator is an all-in-one solution that bridges the gap between business users and IT teams by providing a low-code solution-building experience regardless of technical know-how. Organisations currently face a soaring need for new software, but global inflation and local interest rates and a cost-of-living squeeze are putting pressure on business budgets. However, Zoho Creator provides an affordable, accessible option for businesses, departments and users with little or no coding skills to create, deploy and scale powerful, custom-built solutions with ease.

Addressing the needs of both business users and IT teams, Zoho Creator Platform supports all levels to build, manage, integrate, and analyse for a complete low-code experience, enabling 10X faster deployment than any other solution on the market. 

Democratising access to low-code development tools allows IT and business users to work in tandem to create and deploy apps that are highly customised while minimising common interoperability, permissions, and governance challenges. Zoho Creator’s intuitive drag-and-drop user interface incorporates cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Business Intelligence (BI) and has already helped six million users build seven million apps worldwide. 

For more information, visit Zoho Creator.

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Michigan farmworker diagnosed with bird flu, becoming 2nd US case tied to dairy cows

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Michigan farmworker diagnosed with bird flu, becoming 2nd US case tied to dairy cows

A Michigan dairy worker has been diagnosed with bird flu — the second human case associated with an outbreak in U.S. dairy cows.

The male worker had been in contact with cows at a farm with infected animals. He experienced mild eye symptoms and has recovered, U.S. and Michigan health officials said in announcing the case Wednesday.

A nasal swab from the person tested negative for the virus, but an eye swab tested Tuesday was positive for bird flu, “indicating an eye infection,” U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said.

The worker developed a “gritty feeling” in his eye earlier this month but it was a “very mild case,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, Michigan’s chief medical executive. He was not treated with oseltamivir, a medication advised for treating bird flu, she said.

The risk to the public remains low, but farmworkers exposed to infected animals are at higher risk, health officials said. They said those workers should be offered protective equipment, especially for their eyes.

Health officials say they do not know if the Michigan farmworker was wearing protective eyewear, but an investigation is continuing.

In late March, a farmworker in Texas was diagnosed in what officials called the first known instance globally of a person catching this version of bird flu from a mammal. That patient reported only eye inflammation and recovered.

Since 2020, a bird flu virus has been spreading among more animal species — including dogs, cats, skunks, bears and even seals and porpoises — in scores of countries.

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The detection in U.S. livestock earlier this year was an unexpected twist that sparked questions about food safety and whether it would start spreading among humans.

That hasn’t happened, although there’s been a steady increase of reported infections in cows. As of Wednesday, the virus had been confirmed in 51 dairy herds in nine states, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department. Fifteen of the herds were in Michigan.

The CDC’s Dr. Nirav Shah said the case was “not unexpected” and it’s possible more infections could be diagnosed in people who work around infected cows.

U.S. officials said they had tested 40 people since the first cow cases were discovered in late March. Michigan has tested 35 of them, Bagdasarian told The Associated Press in an interview.

Shah praised Michigan officials for actively monitoring farmworkers. He said health officials there have been sending daily text messages to workers exposed to infected cows asking about possible symptoms, and that the effort helped officials catch this infection. He said no other workers had reported symptoms.

That’s encouraging news, said Michael Osterholm, a University of Minnesota epidemiologist who has studied bird flu for decades. There’s no sign to date that the virus is causing flu-like illness or that it is spreading among people.

“If we had four or five people seriously ill with respiratory illness, we would be picking that up,” he said.

The virus has been found in high levels in the raw milk of infected cows, but government officials say pasteurized products sold in grocery stores are safe because heat treatment has been confirmed to kill the virus.

The new case marks the third time a person in the United States has been diagnosed with what’s known as Type A H5N1 virus. In 2022, a prison inmate in a work program picked it up while killing infected birds at a poultry farm in Montrose County, Colorado. His only symptom was fatigue, and he recovered. That predated the virus’s appearance in cows.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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At collapsed Baltimore bridge, focus shifts to the weighty job of removing the massive structure

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At collapsed Baltimore bridge, focus shifts to the weighty job of removing the massive structure

BALTIMORE (AP) — Teams of engineers worked Saturday on the intricate process of cutting and lifting the first section of twisted steel from the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge, which crumpled into the Patapsco River this week after a massive cargo ship crashed into one of its supports.

Sparks could be seen flying from a section of bent and crumpled steel in the afternoon, and video released by officials in the evening showed demolition crews using a cutting torch to slice through the thick beams. The joint incident command said in a statement that the work was being done on the top of the north side of the collapsed structure.

Crews were carefully measuring and cutting the steel from the broken bridge before attaching straps so it can be lifted onto a barge and floated away, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Shannon Gilreath said.

Seven floating cranes — including a massive one capable of lifting 1,000 tons — 10 tugboats, nine barges, eight salvage vessels and five Coast Guard boats were on site in the water southeast of Baltimore.

Each movement affects what happens next and ultimately how long it will take to remove all the debris and reopen the ship channel and the blocked Port of Baltimore, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said.

“I cannot stress enough how important today and the first movement of this bridge and of the wreckage is. This is going to be a remarkably complicated process,” Moore said.

Undeterred by the chilly morning weather, longtime Baltimore resident Randy Lichtenberg and others took cellphone photos or just quietly looked at the broken pieces of the bridge, which including its steel trusses weigh as much as 4,000 tons.

“I wouldn’t want to be in that water. It’s got to be cold. It’s a tough job,” Lichtenberg said from a spot on the river called Sparrows Point.

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The shock of waking up Tuesday morning to video of what he called an iconic part of the Baltimore skyline falling into the water has given way to sadness.

“It never hits you that quickly. It’s just unbelievable,” Lichtenberg said.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

One of the first goals for crews on the water is to get a smaller auxiliary ship channel open so tugboats and other small barges can move freely. Crews also want to stabilize the site so divers can resume searching for four missing workers who are presumed dead.

Two other workers were rescued from the water in the hours following the bridge collapse, and the bodies of two more were recovered from a pickup truck that fell and was submerged in the river. They had been filling potholes on the bridge and while police were able to stop vehicle traffic after the ship called in a mayday, they could not get to the construction workers, who were from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

The crew of the cargo ship Dali, which is managed by Synergy Marine Group, remained on board with the debris from the bridge around it, and were safe and were being interviewed. They are keeping the ship running as they will be needed to get it out of the channel once more debris has been removed.

The vessel is owned by Grace Ocean Private Ltd. and was chartered by Danish shipping giant Maersk.

The collision and collapse appeared to be an accident that came after the ship lost power. Federal and state investigators are still trying to determine why.

Assuaging concern about possible pollution from the crash, Adam Ortiz, the Environmental Protection Agency’s mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator, said there was no indication in the water of active releases from the ship or materials hazardous to human health.

REBUILDING

Officials are also trying to figure out how to handle the economic impact of a closed port and the severing of a major highway link. The bridge was completed in 1977 and carried Interstate 695 around southeast Baltimore.

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Maryland transportation officials are planning to rebuild the bridge, promising to consider innovative designs or building materials to hopefully shorten a project that could take years.

President Joe Biden’s administration has approved $60 million in immediate aid and promised the federal government will pay the full cost to rebuild.

Ship traffic at the Port of Baltimore remains suspended, but the Maryland Port Administration said trucks were still being processed at marine terminals.

The loss of a road that carried 30,000 vehicles a day and the port disruption will affect not only thousands of dockworkers and commuters, but also U.S. consumers, who are likely to feel the impact of shipping delays. The port handles more cars and more farm equipment than any other U.S. facility.

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Collins reported from Columbia, South Carolina. Associated Press writers Sarah Brumfield in Washington, D.C.; Kristin M. Hall in Nashville, Tennessee; Adrian Sainz in Memphis, Tennessee; and Lisa Baumann in Bellingham, Washington, contributed.

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The Texas attorney general is investigating a key Boeing supplier and asking about diversity

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The Texas attorney general is investigating a key Boeing supplier and asking about diversity

DALLAS (AP) — The Texas attorney general has opened an investigation into a key Boeing supplier that is already facing scrutiny from federal regulators over quality of parts that it provides to the aircraft maker.

The office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said it began looking into Spirit AeroSystems because of “apparent manufacturing defects” in parts that “have led to numerous concerning or dangerous incidents.”

In a statement Friday, a Spirit spokesman said, “While we do not comment on investigations, Spirit is wholly focused on providing the highest quality products to all our customers, to include the Boeing Company.”

Paxton asked the Wichita, Kansas-based supplier to turn over documents produced since the start of 2022 about communication with investors and Boeing about flaws in parts and corrective steps the company took.

The request goes into detail in seeking internal discussions around Spirit’s efforts to create a diverse workforce “and whether those commitments are unlawful or are compromising the company’s manufacturing processes.” Paxton asked for a breakdown of Spirit’s workforce by race, sexual orientation and other factors, and whether the makeup has changed over time.

Since a Spirit-made door-plug panel blew off an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max in January, some conservatives have tried to link aviation safety to diversity at manufacturers.

Paxton is a conservative Republican who this week agreed to pay $271,000 in restitution to victims and take 15 hours of training in legal ethics to settle felony charges of securities fraud. Paxton did not admit wrongdoing in the 9-year-old case.

The Federal Aviation Administration launched an investigation into Boeing Spirit after the Alaska Airlines incident. An FAA audit of manufacturing procedures in Spirit’s factory gave the company failing grades in seven of 13 areas.

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Boeing is in talks to buy back Spirit, which it spun off nearly 20 years ago, as part of a plan to tighten oversight of manufacturing in its supply chain.

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