RAD. MADP. RMAD. aPaaS. Everyday it seems that analysts are defining yet another category of products. This makes sense because it is how the industry is used to tackling something “new” (cloud platforms, mobile devices, wearables, etc.).

Organizations go out and purchase tools to solve a new problem, only to find that the target is moving. If you fast-forward 12 to 18 months, what happens to those categories? Do they blur to the point of unrecognizability? What happens to all those apps and all that code you create in the meantime? Organizations don’t have an endless budget from which to invest in the latest and greatest acronym every couple years, nor can they afford to wait and see what sticks. So what should you do?

Legacy code (outdated to the point of obsolescence) is currently being created at a rate never before seen in the history of IT. Think about it: Today, many organizations are hyper-focused on mobile application development. Yesterday the focus was Web application development, and tomorrow the focus looks to be wearables. IT can continue to chase the app du jour, but doing so will result in a lot of wasted time and money.

The more intelligent approach is to take a step back and consider your overall development strategy in an effort to future-proof your application development and delivery processes. What are your ultimate development objectives? Put another way, what is the common thread between all these different acronyms? The answer: to get the right applications out quickly.

This objective necessitates a low- or no-code approach to application development. You need a platform that allows you to develop apps in the abstract, handling the low-level technology required to do these apps correctly. This abstraction creates stability because you are no longer required to keep your staff trained on frequently changing development frameworks.

But you don’t want to just be able to code applications quickly today. You need technology that enables your organization to pursue projects in a way that will still matter in 12 months. You need to get these modern applications out quickly, and your users are going to expect that these apps work on whatever device they happen to use.

In essence, we’re talking about Rapid Application Delivery (RAD). But these products are only effective in so far as they enable your organization to create future-proof apps, with “code” that can be reused with each new device or approach.

Wait, did someone just change that acronym? Didn’t it use to be Rapid Application Development? Yes, it did; this change is reflective of the fact that it is no longer interesting to simply speed the development process along. You have to marry that significantly streamlined approach to development with something that is going to manage the entire application life cycle. From creation, through deployment, onto management, and back again with required changes, because we are running laps, not racing to some fictitious finish line.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) has its place here, but it’s probably not what you think. PaaS is simply the delivery mechanism for getting RAD functionality without the heavy investments. You get the rapid development and delivery capabilities you need, whether you’re building mobile apps, Web apps or wearable apps.

As you’re evaluating the landscape of application development tools, look for those with a proven track record of helping organizations deliver the right applications quickly over a period of time. You can’t afford to invest in tool after tool simply to build the app du jour. You need those that will enable you to build (and deliver) apps that change with the ages.