The Hybrid Integration Platform can Reduce Time-to-market and Development Costs

21 August 2022
13 min to read
Business, irrespective of economic sectors, is rapidly embracing digital transformation. To stay competitive, keep and increase profits in a complex and dynamically developing market, companies make use of modern development approaches and tools. One of such tools was the focus of the CNews interview with Ivan Ryl, Product Marketing Department Manager at the Russian IT developer and business digitalization partner Bercut.

Speaking of profits, there are different ways to generate them: for example, by building unique products that are in demand on the market, minimizing expenses on creating them or reducing the payback period. Therefore, businesses need to promptly build an MVP (Minimal Viable Product), test marketing hypotheses, and bring products to market.

As an IT developer, we also aimed to find a solution that could reduce the time from the birth of a solution idea to its launch into production. The first step towards that goal was creating the special integration data bus developed in 2018 to serve as the basis for integrations. As we developed and improved the platform, we realized it could be useful for our partners as well.

We equipped the platform with powerful no-code and low-code tools that allow building complex high-load systems by combining visual elements — microservices. Simply speaking, microservices are building blocks: combining them even an advanced business user can create a new business process. Years after, we brought to market a new IT product — our own development platform called Hybrid Integration Platform that we equipped with a user-friendly web interface for potential users.

Hybrid Integration Platform Bercut (HIP) is a platform that brings together no-code/low-code and pro-code tools for integrations, automation of business processes, and creation of IT products.

CNews: For what business needs do clients use HIP and for what types of needs does it prove to be most effective?

HIP is most effective in projects where it is required to quickly launch new products to market. The use of ready-made connectors for integrations, the set of ready-made microservices and re-use of once-created artifacts positively affects the time required to launch them. Besides, the Hybrid Integration Platform is used as a single integration gateway, tackling an array of issues related to unifying and optimizing the company’s IT landscape.

All of this results in reduced development costs, increased speed to create new solutions, and, consequently, improved competitiveness of the whole company.

Owing to HIP, Bercut managed to reduce the TTM of high-load systems by 30%, while the prime costs of development decreased by 15–30%.

CNews: What do “high-load systems” mean? Is it the high-load in its conventional sense?

Yes, given the specifics of our own needs as a developer supplying business-oriented software solutions to the global market. We designed systems that demonstrated stability under the load of 25 thousand requests per second and more.

Most of our clients and partners are major telecom companies. As it is well known, telecom is a very specific industry where we have to consider certain requirements and factors:

• Stringent SLA with the commitment of 99.999%.

• High-load of 10K+tps.

• Numerous technologies and vendors.

On top of that, the mobile communications market is highly competitive. Irrespective of the chosen approach and no-code, low-code, or pro-code tools, solutions based on the Hybrid Integration Platform must provide for these requirements.

CNews: What technical solutions does the high performance environment depend on?

Building the platform, we carefully elaborated the HIP architecture: it is based on the microservices model and makes use of a single bus for the interaction of all the components. We also focused on optimizing every single service.

As a result, there is, of course, some difference in productivity between the elements based on no-code/low-code and those built on pro-code. However, as our synthetic tests have shown, the difference is extremely small even under the heavy load of up to 100 thousand requests per second.

CNews: In your opinion, what are the main advantages of the hybrid approach over the standard low-code?

We have implemented various projects, including complex ones. Some of those projects are impossible to implement only through no-code/low-code, even though nowadays it is a full-fledged development tool.

Not many companies can move away from pro-code in a highly turbulent market. Every new idea or market sector means tackling some specific issues. It is impossible to plan it all, and a user may sometimes need solutions that cannot be built with the existing elements (microservices). This is why it is so important to preserve the opportunity to create new elements and fragments of business logic at the pro-code level.

You cannot but agree that the one who comes up with an idea has a better understanding of it. As it is often the case, an idea may get stifled due to limited tools to implement it or internal policies.

As we see it, the hybrid approach is more than just an alternative to low-code. It is the world of opportunities for every person striving to implement a digital product of any degree of complexity. It may be a business user who will be able to implement the necessary software without the help of programmers, or an advanced senior who will get a convenient framework for back-end development.

The hybrid approach is the world of opportunities for every person striving to implement a digital product of any degree of complexity.

CNews: In your opinion, what are the key advantages of HIP over other low-code platforms?

It is clear that we have rivals even in the Russian market. Many of them offer platforms to build applications and websites based on patterns. Differently from them, our solution allows building complex back-end systems. Platforms without pro-code capabilities impose limits on future users, which we consider wrong. The opportunity to develop a platform without vendors by adding new functions and implementing necessary integrations becomes extremely important in current circumstances.

To this end, together with ready-to-use no-code and low-code tools, we provide customers with technologies to create missing elements in each individual case. Using code generators, the customer’s core programmers will be able to

expand and improve simplified development environments. Thus, tools with new features are created in-house, on the client’s side, which simplifies and accelerates a number of processes. The customer accumulates technical competencies within organization, remaining independent from the vendor.

CNews: How do you assess the acceleration of business application release cycles when switching from traditional development to HIP?

We emphasize that our platform does not aim to reduce the number of in-house developers. It is possible but proves to be wrong in most cases. Yet we are confident that teams using HIP may become more efficient compared to those deprived of this tool.

We should keep in mind that apart from the inherent benefits of no-code, there is a significant gain in time due to the optimization of internal interactions among different divisions within a company. The classical development model from the birth of an idea to its launch into production often looks as follows:

1. Birth of an idea.

2. Technical specification.

3. Development.

4. Testing.

5. Night-time works.

6. Launch into production.

At times, some of these activities are to be repeated, which delays implementation. On average, a standard integration takes minimum 2 weeks.

Finally, we should also keep in mind that companies’ in-house development resources may be limited. Tasks get queued while the programmers are busy, which delays their implementation unpredictably. With no-code, the user will be able to make changes to the existing product independently, by configuring rules and criteria in HIP.

CNews: What is the ratio of projects with the combination of low-code and pro-code to those where low-code is sufficient?

Of course, the ratio of low-code to pro-code changes from project to project. Given the nature of our customers, in the majority of cases they use our platform for complex solutions. More than a third of business logic in the solutions based on the Hybrid Integration Platform is pro-code. However, any advanced manager in a company can create a business process or accelerate product building using no-code or low-code tools provided by HIP.

CNews: What are the main technical features of solution testing based on HIP? Do Russian competitors have solutions similar to Auto-assembly and Auto-testing?

There are no special features of testing solutions on HIP. Using familiar tools, customers can build a CI/CD pipeline that supports multiple iterations at different stages of the development cycle.

The platform enjoys a full-fledged testing system, which helps not only ensure compliance with industry norms in terms of creating automated tests for pro-code but also arrange solutions testing with the use of no-code. This way, not only pro-developers but also business users building new products can evaluate the result.

CNews: How often is the platform updated? What major functional changes were there in the most recent update?

The platform consists of a set of components, each of which addresses certain issues, therefore having its individual development track. The release cycle of low-code and pro-code components is approximately two or three updates per year, no-code updates are more frequent. We try to accumulate significant updates. For example, as part of the recent update, we significantly reshaped the unit responsible for administration, which made it possible to complete corresponding tasks much easier and faster. We also improved the authorization and authentication modules.

CNews: What is the ratio of HIP-based solutions implemented in Russia to those implemented in the CIS countries? And how, in your opinion, will it be changing over time?

The Hybrid Integration Platform has been included in the Unified Register of Russian Software as a product that fully meets the requirements of import substitution.

At present, it is a significant criterion for choosing the technology behind integrations and building one’s own products in the Russian Federation. The Hybrid Integration Platform will be in demand on the Russian market by companies aiming for their own in-house development and will solve the problem of the skills drain.

Many of the solutions by Bercut have been supporting uninterrupted operation of our partners' services in the CIS countries for over 10 years. We are planning to enhance our cooperation with friendly states. As part of such cooperation, we are planning to attend the TIBO Forum in Belarus in the near future. Furthermore, we have already made preparations for a visit to the Kyrgyz Republic as part of the business mission of the Russian Export Center to take place in Bishkek from June 13 to June 15.