This is a guest post for the Computer Weekly Developer Network written by Thijs Waanders in his capacity as director of consulting at Cognigy — the company is known for its Cognigy.AI product, which automates customer and employee communications on-premises and in SaaS environments to enable enterprises to have natural language conversations with their users on any channel – webchat, SMS, voice and mobile apps – and in any language.
Waanders writes as follows…
As businesses continually look for ways to connect with their customers, we are seeing the evolution of low-code platforms. With low code, you can utilise the power of technology and translate that into tangible answers: What do our customers need? How can we support them? What should we do next?
By breaking down traditional silos of business and software development, no-code/low code is providing businesses with a solution to traditionally complex application processes.
We are beginning to see that there is an inherent business value attached to no-code/low-code. The concept allows for a more democratic development process, as it places some of the responsibility for building compelling software solutions in the hands of non-developers.
We utilise low and no-code in our own conversational AI platform – it is designed to facilitate the integration of AI into the customer assistance process. The low-code platform permits businesses to adopt typically complex technology in a flexible and easy way. The aim is to develop something that can be created not just by developers, but those working directly on conversation design and nontechnical business users using the tools themselves – and directly interacting with customers.
Low code vendors enable companies to provide their customers with a more accurate, tailor-made experience, by empowering those in close contact with them. The benefits of low code are clearly evidenced in the use of virtual AI assistants. We are seeing continuous improvements from a user-experience perspective, as low-code continues to bridge the gap between the commercial and technological sides of a business.
With low code there is always the risk that increasing access to those unfamiliar with coding can result in an inefficient process, which could eventually cause maintenance and deployment nightmares. However, the benefits are clear to see as low-code platforms can lead to lower costs and can lead to lower costs and simpler builds, allowing for an accelerated time-to-market for applications.
Long term, it’s a given
I anticipate low code will eventually be a given in every application. The ability to effectively tailor your software to better align with your customer proposition is invaluable. Presently, we are seeing the growth of chatbots and virtual assistants, as customers are accessing various online platforms for support. For me, the next step in the evolution of our low-code software will see a move to vocal user interfaces over visual ones. Products such as Alexa are further imitating human interactions… and I think that this trend will continue moving forward. This is already becoming apparent in the contact centre context, where so-called ‘voice bots’ are starting to replace classical Interactive Voice Response (IVRs).
There will always be the question of how much access should be given to non-developers. Software developers work in an environment filled with rules and regulations and tend to be formally trained.
Low code is currently in its infancy when it comes to compliance issues. Businesses will always require the expertise of traditional developers, who can help to prevent potential problems caused by inexperienced users and provide their professional perspectives on more complex projects and applications.
Although low-code platforms allow non-developers access to the development process, there needs to remain a buffer – in the form of experts – to ensure that a simple process does not become a logistical headache.