Somehow, we’ve reached the end of another year. But for as quickly as 2021 ran its course—in the world of no-code, automation, and composability especially—it was chock-full of exciting, even seminal moments.
In fact, one could argue that IT and BizOps professionals made more progress “making a world of makers” than we ever have before.
Here are a few ways we like to think Tonkean contributed to that effort—along with the advancements made by IT and ops teams that we were most excited to see.
People started to get excited about composability
In a nutshell, composability is an approach to solutions design that enables non-developers to compose complex, no-code software programs—using modular, packaged capabilities, or, “building blocks”—without having to rely on or bother IT (the way developers build programs mixing and matching components from open source libraries today).
Composability has positively huge potential. Composability makes possible the Composable Enterprise—an enterprise in which previously siloed technology and data environments are connected, the ability to be technologically creative is democratized, the ability to operate in a truly agile way is extended from developers to everybody else inside an organization. It’s the most powerful application of no-code in the context of the enterprise.
At Tonkean, we’ve been talking about composability for a long time. (We wrote about the Composable Enterprise in an eBook, which you can download here.) And we’re excited to say that 2021 was a big year for composability, perhaps the biggest year yet. This year composability was heralded by analyst firms such as Gartner as “The innovation strategy of leading digital business organizations.” Speaking at the 2021 Gartner IT Symposium, Gartner analyst Milind Govekar predicted that, come 2025, at least 70% of all new apps will be built via no-code using “composable techniques.”
A world in which 70% of all new apps are built via “composable techniques?” That’s a world in which way, way more people have the ability to leverage software to solve problems. That’s a world in which the burden currently placed on IT departments is meaningfully eased, and ops teams around the world enjoy the ability to operate with far more agility, creativity, and independence. Finally, that’s a world much better positioned to solve-hard-to-solve problems. As Sagi Eliyahu, our co-founder and CEO, wrote in a recent blog post, it is “by expanding who inside organizations can participate in the problem solving process” that we’ll facilitate society’s “next big leap.” Because “big leaps don’t come from individual innovations. They come from extending the ability to innovate to whole new categories of people.”
That’s what composability has the potential to do. We were excited this year to be part of the movement to raise awareness of this potential, and to help organizations harness its power. We’re proud to share that in Gartner’s Fall Innovation Insight Report: Innovation Insights for Citizen Automation & Development Platforms, we were highlighted as one of the preeminent no-code platforms capable of facilitating composable experiences.
Celebrating our Series B 🎉
Everyone got excited about low-code/no-code
For as great a year as 2021 was for composability, it was an even bigger year for the tech that helps make composability possible: low-code/no-code.
This was reflected by the market. Early in the year, Brandessence Market Research reported that they expected the “Global Low-Code Development Platform Market” to hit “$65.15 Billion by 2027.” Such expectations were buoyed by big fundraising rounds. Over the first three quarters of 2021, low-code/no-code vendors—and with them, a subset of companies whose platforms facilitate composability—raised $2.3B, which was more than double the total amount of money such vendors received across the entirety of 2020.
One of those companies was Tonkean. In June, we announced Tonkean’s series B of $50m, led by Accel, with the participation of our existing investors (Lightspeed and Foundation) as well as top tech founders and executives from companies such as Google, Atlassian, and UiPath.
We interpreted the round as further affirmation of the importance of (and excitement about) expanding the number of people who are able to compose enterprise software. We’re proud, as well, to be one of the organizations helping to make such an expansion possible.
It’s a mission, btw, we take very seriously. That’s why…
We revamped our no-code process orchestration platform and doubled the size of our team
We believe the time to empower makers and enable not just development teams but entire organizations to go composable and realize the “agile promise” is right now. (Sidenote: the ability to operate in a holistically agile way is a product of composability. And agile, as Simon Sinek has put it, is the secret to unlocking “unimaginable innovation.” Today’s most innovative companies are operating in an agile way. (SpaceX may be the most incredible example, with Elon Musk’s 5-step process for rigorous operations, which he detailed in his now famous tour of Starbase.) To this end, we want to become the very best partner possible.
A strong team
Over the course of 2021, we worked as hard as we could to do precisely that. How so? To start, we doubled the size of our team, bolstering our roster of solutions architects, engineers, and more to better support enterprises in their efforts to extend everywhere inside their organization—from ops teams to developers—the ability to deliver solutions and fix problems in a composable, iterative, incremental, adaptive, fundamentally agile way. More goes into that than simply making available powerful technology. You need great people, too. (If you want to join our team, click here!)
A powerful product
Though of course, we doubled down on the technology side of things, too. Back in March we announced the release of the next generation of our no-code process orchestration platform, defined by two primary tool-suites, Enterprise Components, and the Solutions Studio, which we designed specifically to power composable solutions design and enable organizational agility. Enterprise Components, for example, we designed to empower IT to deliver reusable building blocks which the business can use to compose their own custom workflows. These building blocks can facilitate integrations to 1000+ enterprise systems; extend custom applications; process unstructured data (like emails, chat, documents, etc.) using NLP and OCR; facilitate people coordination, and more. Most importantly, they allow a way to extend capabilities that normally require custom coding with a dedicated development team to more areas of the business, while maintaining security and compliance. (Enterprise Components support work done in the Solutions Studio, a business logic modeling layer for building no-code processes. Here, business teams building process solutions can make sure they’re following best practices with versioning, environments, release management, and more.)
But that’s hardly all. The Tonkean engineering and product teams took other great strides this year towards helping our partners realize the vision of composable operations. A few examples include new solutions such as Business Groups, which allow orgs to centrally define groups of users that are critical to the success of their business processes. (For example, in an expense- approval solution, there may be a set of contributors who are able to approve expenses over $10,000—in which case, users can now create a business group for them and notify the group from inside a Tonkean module. Business Groups can be defined manually, synced with an identity provider, or dynamically created based on rules that automatically extract user lists from the systems and applications in your organization. Rule-based groups guarantee that the correct people in your organization are involved in the process in question when they need to be.) Also: Training sets, which are a key building block for understanding tasks such as entity extraction and text classification, and empower operations teams to build powerful language models that can be leveraged in cases where understanding and classifying text is critical to successfully implementing the process.
A composable Tonkean Solution 💻
Finally, the Tonkean engineering squad endeavored to make Tonkean even easier for non-developer teams to utilize, through new solutions such as No-code Custom Actions, which allow operations teams to extend the set of actions that are performed in an integrated system.
These upgrades were made in conjunction with projects completed on the backend, such as those led by our Solutions teams which help makers more quickly investigate and ameliorate bugs or support issues related to the Tonkean platform, so as to provide more rapidly effective customer support—and to operate as an even more reliable technology partner.
Though this is hardly an extensive list. For more on what our engineers did this year to help organizations make the transition from traditional to composable, click here.
Our U.S. office 📈
More companies got more real world value out of composable tools than ever before
This year, more people began learning how to implement no-code and composable tools in their unique contexts. For as the market for no-code and composability expanded, so, too, logically, did the number of organizations who are feeling the real-world impact of using this technology—and championing its potential as a result.
Here at Tonkean, we felt this new momentum by way of our expanded partnership and client network, which now includes organizations like Netflix, Google, Instacart, Workday, Microsoft, Blockchain.com, Salesforce, Grubhub, Lyft, and more.
To give you a bit of context of just how this ecosystem is maturing—which, again, is a great thing writ large—we wrote about how organizations such as those we’re working with are using Tonkean to adapt their operations.
First, we wrote about how Instacart partnered with Tonkean to increase agility in their legal department in an in-depth case study, which you can read here. We spoke with Tim Dougherty from Blockchain.com—a cryptocurrency service, wallet, and exchange—about how he and his team used Tonkean to maintain scale in the face of rapid growth. (We turned that conversation into a webinar. You can watch the 30-minute recording here.)
We’re proud that we also contributed to the ongoing and expanding effort of further educating the enterprise world about how to make the most out of technology such as ours. Based on the impacts we were seeing of no-code and composability on IT departments, specifically, we wrote our first ever IT no-code playbook, 5 Steps to Scale IT with Citizen Development. We also opened the doors to Tonkean Academy, Enterprise No-code 101, a 7-part webinar series aimed at helping organizations increase business agility and scale innovation with enterprise no-code.
Last but not least, 2021 further proved the potential of makers and ops professionals to use innovative tech to do good.
Ops and IT professionals, empowered and liberated by composable tools, don’t just have the potential to revolutionize the way organizations operate, but to help make the world a better place—a project that extends beyond the enterprise, of course, to the nonprofit world.
Yet when we think about high tech, we don’t often associate it as a nonprofit partner.
This year, for the second year in a row, we’re proud to share that Tonkean partnered with tech professionals across the country to begin to change that. The way we did so was Changemakers, the annual week-long Virtual Hackathon put on by AdaptivOps, our cross-functional community for operations professionals, which matches makers from all across the tech community with nonprofits who need their help to solve technically-demanding operational problems.
The idea behind Changemakers is this: Nonprofits are crucial in our shared effort to create a better world, but most are burdened with operational and technical challenges that slow them down and that they simply don’t have the bandwidth to solve on their own. Changemakers aims to help them overcome those challenges through skills-based volunteering.
Here’s an example of what initiatives like this can do. Over the last two years, Changemakers has matched dozens of makers with 20+ nonprofits. This year, one of those nonprofits was International Medical Corps, which works to provide emergency relief and deliver emergency medical services to people affected by conflict, disaster and disease all over the world. IMC’s fundraising department came to Changemakers 2021 in need of an overhaul to their daily reporting mechanisms used by frontline fundraisers, which were time-consuming, error-prone, and difficult to analyze or derive actionable insight from; it was hard to look at changes in the data year-over-year or quarter-over-quarter, for example. (And this was particularly problematic in IMC’s case, because timely and accurate reporting is used at IMC not only to inform changes in fundraising strategy, but to guide on-the-ground Emergency Response Units around how much money they’re able to spend on any given response in service of constituents.)
By the end of Changemakers 2021, makers had built for IMC a totally new web-based reporting site, which enabled IMC employees new technological capacities, such as the ability to upload a raw data file to the site and—without ever having to manually manipulate said data—produce dynamic and easy-to-understand data visualizations. Equally important: the site automatically produces quarter-to-quarter and year-over-year comparisons of the data, giving IMC a much more powerful and ultimately seamless command of this mission-critical information.
If you want to watch this year’s Changemakers Closing Ceremonies, where each nonprofit walks through their challenges and how they and their makers innovated new solutions to them, click here.
Changemakers Closing Ceremonies 🤝
2022 will be even more exciting
With all that the world of IT and ops, powered by no-code and composability, achieved in 2021—all our emerging communities have reason to be excited about—2022 promises to be even more exciting. Advancements made promise to build on each other, as the momentum generated will only increase.
Moving into the new year, buzz about the potential of no-code and composability in the context of both IT and ops will only spread, as conviction about the importance of empowering ops and liberating IT via these tools continue to harden.
The ops and IT communities which we are so grateful to be a part will undoubtedly define the future of the enterprise. This will be a future where we’re all less dependent on apps; where the business and IT work in harmony; where you no longer need to know how to code to be technically creative.
Today, only a small number of people inside any given organization can build new things, or tangibly achieve technological progress. What happens when we increase that number exponentially?
2022 could be the year we find out for real.
Want to learn more about what Tonkean has planned for the future? Check out the new essay from our co-founder and CEO, Sagi Eliyahu. And click here to see Tonkean in action.