Whether we like it or not, digital transformation is not just a buzzword. Enterprise organisations, more specifically their C-Suite leaders, are focusing their sights on this initiative as a means of improving customer experiences and fueling operation efficiencies. As a result, these same C-Suite leaders are in search of the proper tools that will support the digital effort. Although supply has yet to reach demand, it’s abundantly clear that a lack of skilled resources is hindering the ability to create secure, reliable and scalable development tools. And yet, even with the proper talent, traditional development tools can be slow and less agile for rapid solution delivery.
Thankfully, many business leaders believe to have discovered the remedy: low-code as the latest breakout enterprise star. In fact, Forrester predicts the low-code market will reach $10 billion in revenue by 2019, because low-code helps address productivity issues including project backlogs and lack of skilled resources.
While still unfamiliar territory for most IT leaders, aside from being cost-effective, the three overarching benefits of low-code platforms touch on areas of interest to the majority of enterprise organisations: speed, flexibility to address customer needs and the ability to streamline business processes.
Speed that’s cost effective
Traditional methods of development are proving too costly and rigid to provide organisations with the speed and agility they need to respond to market shifts and changing customer expectations at enterprise scale.
Low-code development tools use a visual design format rather than coding syntax, which allows designers not trained in traditional computer sciences to understand and directly contribute to the development process. Its user-friendly interface also enables changes to be made faster and more efficiently, helping to save time and money on labour resources.
In addition, developer pros can use low-code tools to deliver applications faster, shipping more product with less bugs. Low-code tools additionally heavily use prebuilt libraries and functionality, to further accelerate development and maximise component re-use. Compared to traditional development platforms, 73 percent of IT leaders found that low-code platforms provide improvements in affordability and 80 percent noted the ability to meet requirements within budget.
The ability to deploy applications quickly is essential in a variety of industries, including healthcare, retail and travel. An example of low-code development speed, University of South Florida developed a communication platform for its faculty, staff and students to communicate their needs following Hurricane Irma. The USF team was able to deploy a solution to its community in just hours. The low-code platform allowed USF to leverage existing applications and data points as building blocks to get the new app up-and-running in a fast and cost-effective way.
Flexibility to Meet Customer Needs
In today’s digital age, customers expect faster and more personalised experiences when dealing with any company. Compared to traditional development platforms, 86 percent of IT leaders find low-code platforms help significantly improve customer experience due to their flexible design. This helps meet demand for fast development and agile change.
For example, in a retail environment low-code provides store management capabilities that allow users to rapidly implement new cost structures or operation system models. The ability to implement change is particularly important in retail during seasonal changes and holiday shopping peaks.
On the consumer side, low-code also enables retailers to provide better customer service through omni-channel customer experiences and order fulfillment applications. Low-code platforms are helping companies to slash delivery timeframes from months to weeks (or even hours), implement real-time updates and deliver stronger applications driven by user feedback. This allows low-code users the ability to quickly scale and change applications to meet consumer demands.
Streamlining Business Processes
Beyond customer experience, businesses are also recognising the need to transform their business and operating models to increase revenues in the digital era.
Low-code can help automate the most critical and complex processes with drag and drop process modelling that allows users to build from existing applications and data. The built-in security features make low-code a reliable and secure solution for internal processes in industries including financial services and healthcare that support critical infrastructures and maintain sensitive data assets.
Digital transformation is a multi-faceted journey and there is no single tool or approach that will automatically make transformation a reality. A company’s digital transformation strategy requires a wide range of new approaches and technologies. Low-code platforms will play a central role in this mix by reducing the time and money spent on traditional development processes and empowering enterprise employees to delve into the development process, regardless of technical background.
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Malcolm Ross, Vice President of Product, Appian