Summary: Digital transformation is a priority for many businesses these days. However, studies find that most lack the skills and resources for digital transformation–leading to high failure rates. In this article, we explore how low-code platforms can help businesses avoid many common issues in their digital transformation journey.
“There is no alternative to digital transformation. Visionary companies will carve out new strategic options for themselves — those that don’t adapt, will fail.”
— Jeff Bezos, Amazon
I don’t know many CIOs or IT leaders who would debate that quote. The world is going digital. Many of our daily tasks–both professional and personal–now take place digitally. Businesses that don’t adapt to this reality will be left behind.
The problem: Most companies aren’t prepared. According to this article, “87% of companies think digital will disrupt their industry, but only 44% are prepared for a potential digital disruption.”
The bigger problem: Most digital transformation initiatives fail. Depending on the survey you read, failure rates sit anywhere from 50 – 80%.
Think about that for a minute. Digital transformation is critically important. Business leaders recognize this fact, yet many aren’t prepared for it. To make matters worse, organizations fail more than they succeed with their digital transformation strategies.
It’s a topic that I’ve covered in a previous article, so I won’t get into all of the potential pitfalls here. In this article, I want to focus on solutions. We’ll explore a big trend that removes many of these digital transformation roadblocks: Low-code development.
Low-code is one of the most important tools in your push for digital transformation. In case you’re unfamiliar with the concept, low-code software creates enterprise web applications with little or no coding. It helps end-users create applications on their own, and speeds up your developers.
How does it apply to digital transformation? How does it help you bypass common hurdles? In this article, we’ll focus on a few specific ways that low-code tools drive digital transformation.
Low-code bridges the skills gap
The talent gap is one of the biggest hurdles to digital transformation. Digital solutions require modern skills–which is something that far too few businesses possess. According to a recent survey, over 50% of companies claim the talent gap is hampering their digital transformation efforts.
The problem: Most businesses only have the talent needed for their current operations. While they might have the skills needed to maintain their systems, those skills don’t always translate to digital solutions.
The bigger problem: Most organizations can’t just hire a bunch of employees with modern skills. They are both expensive and hard to find.
This is where low-code software comes into play. Low-code tools deliver digital development skills to your existing team. This helps in a couple of ways:
1. It brings modern skills to your development team: Rather than hire and train a bunch of new developers, you can turn your existing IT team into web developers. The best part: Low-code tools often have a short learning curve, so you’re up and running quickly.
2. It lets end users create their own solutions: How much time does your IT team spend creating solutions for your end-users? How much time do users spend waiting for solutions? Low-code tools turn end-users into citizen developers, helping them create their own reports, dashboards, business applications, etc…, all without bothering IT.
“Often non-technical employees will have some want or need when it comes to their day to day that a simple application could help with,” says Shayne Sherman, CEO of TechLoris. “Normally they’d float this up to their managers who may take it over to the department heads and a formal request may actually be made. However, the chances of a high enough priority being assigned to this are slim to none and that request will lie dormant for months, if not years. With low-code, however, these employees can create their own solutions simply and, potentially, faster than if they had to wait.”
Low-code improves development speed
In a digital world, speed is the name of the game. Companies that are able to innovate quickly with software will out-compete traditional market leaders.
This is where low-code platforms shine. They automate much of the development process, reducing lengthy dev projects by 50 – 80%. How? Low-code tools improve development speed in two key areas:
1. They reduce or eliminate coding: Using a point-and-click interface, low-code tools eliminate tedious (and repetitive) hand-coding. Most web app development projects are completed without writing a single line of code.
2. They reduce testing: Low-code tools often use templates with pre-built and pre-tested components. Pre-tested templates eliminate the program logic testing normally required when building new applications.
Because low-code reduces coding and testing so dramatically, developers build applications in hours or days. As explained below, this lets them focus less on the tedious coding and focus more on innovation.
“The use of low-code platforms allows teams to be more focused on innovation and collaboration by removing aspects of time-consuming, detailed efforts that can also be expensive and complicated,” says Kassie Rangel, Senior Director of IT for HealthMarkets. “Finding new, cheaper and faster ways to deliver products and solutions makes the goal of ‘speed to market’ achievable without breaking the bank.
This is important to ensure your company and team are adapting to the ever-evolving digital market, thus allowing you to meet the needs of consumers who are also evolving and always looking for an experience that is unique, easy and useful.”
Low-code streamlines business processes
A recent study found that inefficient processes are the biggest source of wasted time in the average workday. In the digital age, you can’t afford inefficient processes. They slow down your operations and hurt your ability to compete.
Why do so many businesses struggle with inefficient processes? It usually boils down to the fact that these processes weren’t created for the digital age. Advancements in digital technologies and software create new possibilities for process automation. You must digitally transform your business processes to meet modern demands.
Business process automation is another area where low-code platforms shine. With drag-and-drop interfaces and workflow designers, low-code tools help you create and modify automated workflows quickly. As explained below, they help you create digital processes and change them as needed.
“Digital Transformation is more than simply making processes go digital,” says Jason Stewart, VP and CIO of Anthroware LLC. “Successful transformations have to challenge the assumptions of what is necessary, and “how we’ve always done it. It’s about making hard processes easier to do. You can’t ignore the changes necessary in processes. So in a sense, low-code/no-code solutions are really just a straightforward way to implement the changes to the process. And then, since the solution is low-code, it doesn’t take much to tweak it as you see the effects of the changes to your processes.”
Now, I realize that there’s far more to automation than software. I won’t get into all of the details here, but I’ve covered this topic in another article, which you can find here: 9 steps to streamline any business workflow.
Low-code improves agility
Agility is critical to modern business. The digital world we’re living in now is constantly evolving. Those who can’t evolve with it will fall behind.
The technologies and processes you implement during your digital transformation must help you adapt and change course as needed. You must put tools in place that let you quickly meet demands or change your processes on the fly.
Low-code tools improve agility in a couple of ways.
First (as mentioned above), they let you deliver new web applications in hours or days. What if you could recognize an opportunity, and have a solution by the end of the week? That’s a huge competitive advantage of low-code development platforms.
Second, they let you change and adapt on the fly. Once you recognize an area that needs changing, you can tweak and redeploy your applications in just minutes. Low-code gives you the tools necessary to constantly evolve.
“Digital transformation isn’t something done once and for all, it’s a continuous process of evolving software to bring more business value,” says Boris Shiklo, CTO at ScienceSoft. “So, what I like about low-code development is that you can introduce needed changes easily thanks to a unified code base, reusable library components, and integrated UI frameworks.”
Low-code delivers a consistent experience across platforms
We live in an always-connected world. Customers and employees expect instant access to software/services across any device. To compete in the digital age, CIOs and IT leaders must embrace this omni-channel environment.
Meeting the modern cross-platform demands is one of the biggest goals of digital transformation. Enterprise web applications must provide a consistent experience across any platform.
The problem: Most IT departments aren’t prepared to address this growing demand for mobile apps. They’re already bogged down with traditional application development, along with their other tasks.
Low-code development tools simplify this process, creating cross-platform applications automatically. Every time your team builds a web app with a low-code tool, it automatically works across all devices. Think about that: With a single build process, you have an application that automatically works across any device…in minutes!
These are just a few ways that low-code tools drive digital transformation, but I’m sure the list could be longer. Would you add anything to this list? Feel free to comment below!